Worldwide Practice of Torture

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This work, written by an accomplished anthropologist, provides vivid accounts of the horrific practice of torture from around the world, along with explanations from the torturers as to how they could carry out such acts and accounts from victims of torture, detailing their experiences. The result is a book that offers readers a glimpse of what may be mankind’s most appalling behavior. Readers should be cautioned that their reading will like be a painful one.


“Dr. Robert Edgerton artfully describes torture by taking us on a Cook’s Tour that transports us from Africa to Asia to the New World ... Edgerton offers no apology for torture, a path some scholars have recently taken. He quite emphatically asserts that torture is ‘a plague upon humanity.’” - Professor Keith Otterbein, Department of Anthropology, State University of New York at Buffalo

“As in many of his earlier works, Dr. Edgerton bravely confronts behavior that many of us would prefer not to acknowledge ... The book does not set out to explain torture, but to document its occurrence in a wide range of settings. Edgerton does not flinch and thus has presented the field with a book that may be difficult for some to read, but of great value to the field.” - Dr. Jill E. Korbin, Professor of Anthropology, Case Western Reserve University

“In this comprehensive global survey, we learn that torture is found in virtually all human societies ... There is a lesson here for all.” - Professor Philip L Kilbride, Department of Anthropology, Bryn Mawr College

Table of Contents

Foreword by Keith Otterbein
1 An Introduction to Torture
2 Torture during the “Mau Mau” Rebellion and Elsewhere in Africa
3 Widespread Torture in Turkey
4 Torture during the Korean War, 1950-1953
5 Torture during the Algerian War, 1954-1962
6 Torture in Mexico, South America, the United States, and Elsewhere
7 Torture in Small-Scale Societies around the World

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