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My War Criminal: Personal Encounters with an Architect of Genocide

My War Criminal: Personal Encounters with an Architect of Genocide

An investigation into the nature of violence, terror, and trauma through conversations with a notorious war criminal by Jessica Stern, one of the world's foremost experts on terrorism.

Between October 2014 and November 2016, global terrorism expert Jessica Stern held a series of conversations in a prison cell in The Hague with Radovan Karadzic, a Bosnian Serb former politician who had been indicted for genocide and other war crimes during the Bosnian War and who became an inspiration for white nationalists. Though Stern was used to interviewing terrorists in the field in an effort to understand their hidden motives, the conversations she had with Karadzic would profoundly alter her understanding of the mechanics of fear, the motivations of violence, and the psychology of those who perpetrate mass atrocities at a state level and who—like the terrorists she had previously studied—target noncombatants, in violation of ethical norms and international law.

How do leaders persuade ordinary people to kill their neighbors? What is the “ecosystem” that creates and nurtures genocidal leaders? Could anything about their personal histories, personalities, or exposure to historical trauma shed light on the formation of a war criminal’s identity in opposition to a targeted Other?

In My War Criminal, Jessica Stern brings to bear her incisive analysis and her own deeply considered reactions to her interactions with Karadzic, a brilliant and often shockingly charming psychiatrist and poet who spent twelve years in hiding, disguising himself as an energy healer, while also offering a deeply insightful and sometimes chilling account of the complex and even seductive powers of a magnetic leader—and what can happen when you spend many, many hours with that person.

Titulo:My War Criminal: Personal Encounters with an Architect of Genocide
ISBN:9780062971173
Tipo de formato:



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Acerca de Jessica Stern

Jessica Stern is a Lecturer in Public Policy and a faculty affiliate of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. From 1994-95, she served as Director for Russian, Ukrainian, and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council, where she was responsible for national security policy toward Russia and the former Soviet states and for policies to reduce the threat of nuclear


    My War Criminal: Personal Encounters with an Architect of Genocide Comentarios

  • Panasko

    Usually I do not write reviews, especially of books I will never read. Reason I am writing this is that some excerpts from NYT written by author I find most disturbing. This book is written about Rado...

  • Bronwyn

    Edit 1/31/20: Morbid curiosity got the best of me, so I listened to the audiobook. I've since edited my review to reflect that. Edit 1/23/20: This damning review from the NYT confirms my worst fears. ...

  • Tea Sefer

    I really gave this book a shot after all the uproar over the NY Times article about it, but it is absolutely offensive. Stern idolizes Karadzic - a convicted war criminal, and continuously explains ho...

  • Alisson F.w. Burgher

    Dissapointed.I love to read about loose minds of persons from the now and past. About war criminals/convicts/killers. If you would ask me why? The answer is simple:They all have something twisted in t...

  • Susan Paxton

    This is a potentially valuable book with lessons and warnings for the present, but it is wretchedly poorly executed. Many reviewers have complained that Stern appears to find Karadzik fascinating, eve...

  • Corin

    This book is as much about the author's reaction to Karadzic as it about Karadzic himself. Not quite what I signed up for....

  • Ryan

    Style & engagement: (2/5)I was skeptical of the outrage surrounding the release of My War Criminal. Ive read a number of reviews that criticize the 50 Shades of Grey-style writing that colors the book...

  • Crystal

    Even the title is cringe.I was unaware of the NYT article until today but there's no denying Stern bizarrely romanticizes Radovan Karadzic and relates his genocide denial to us though she does also di...

  • Jeff Samuelson

    Well balanced and worth a read....

  • Malachy

    The best version of this book would probably be amazing, but there are many directions it could go that lead it to mediocrity. The thrust behind My War Criminal is terrorism expert Jessica Stern's des...

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