Caligula forced the wives of Roman senators to prostitute themselves. Gaddafi broadcast the public executions of his opponents on television. Of the 20,000 people which Pol Pot interned in Prison S-21, only seven survived...
These are are just some of the details of the crimes committed by the singular men who feature in this book. This catalogue of universal terror compiled by Patrick Pesnot raises a basic question about the exercise of power: over the course of history, to what extent has evil been a tool of government? Has this tool ever been effective?
This inventory does not shy away from bloody anecdotes, but it goes beyond this in encouraging the reader to reflect on the issues raised.