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Genocide and the Holocaust (October 2023): Home

By Claudene Sproles


This essay first appeared in the October 2023 issue of Choice (volume 61 | issue 2)


Genocide, or the deliberate extermination of a religious, ethnic, cultural, or national group, certainly predates World War II, but the numerous atrocities committed in the twentieth century gave genocide universal recognition. Political scientist Daniel Jonah Goldhagen estimated that ever since the beginning of the twentieth century between 83 and 127 million people have been the victims of genocide,1 and some estimates climb even higher. In fact, there has been no time in recent history without a genocide. At the time of this writing, the Myanmar military is committing genocide against the Rohingya,2 and Sudan is conducting genocide in Darfur. China has been accused of crimes against humanity toward the Uyghur and other Muslim ethnic groups.3

Since the horrors of the Holocaust, genocide studies have tackled the problem of mass killing and ethnic cleansing through global awareness, international intervention, and education in the hope that future atrocities can be prevented.

Any section of this essay could be explored as a bibliographic essay in itself, as the literature on genocide has mushroomed in the past few years. The following bibliographic selection as a whole should serve as a general introduction to genocide studies, suggesting a core list of titles rather than a comprehensive list of resources.

Claudene Sproles is head of collection management & government documents librarian at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.

1. Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Worse than War: Geocide, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault against Humanity. PublicAffairs, 2009, p. 50 (CH, Aug’10, 47-7009).

2. U.S. Department of State, “Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya in Burma,”, accessed June 20, 2023.

3. For a quick overview of the atrocities against the Uyghurs consult the BBC News article “Who Are the Uyghurs and Why Is China Being Accused of Genocide?” Accessed 20 June 2023.