Which wars killed the most people? Was the twentieth century the most violent in history? Are religions, tyrants or ideologies responsible for the greatest bloodshed? In this remarkable and original book, 'atrocitologist' Matthew White assesses man's inhumanity to man over several thousand years. From the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage to the cataclysmic events of World War II, Atrocitology spans centuries and civilisations as it measures the hundred most violent episodes in history. Relying on statistical analysis rather than grand theories, White offers three big lessons: chaos is more deadly than tyranny, the world is much more disorganised than we realise, and more civilians than soldiers are killed in wars - in fact, the army is usually the safest place to be during wartime. Our understanding of history's worst atrocities is patchy and skewed. This book sets the record straight, charting those events with the largest man-made death tolls without fear or favour.
Matthew White has worked as a law librarian for twenty years. He began the Historical Atlas of the 20th Century in 1997, and his database of atrocity statistics has become the atlas's most popular and widely cited section.