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Thugs: How History's Most Notorious Despots Transformed the World through Terror, Tyranny, and Mass Murder [Hardcover]

By Micah D. Halpern (Author)
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Item description for Thugs: How History's Most Notorious Despots Transformed the World through Terror, Tyranny, and Mass Murder by Micah D. Halpern...

An analysis of despotism through the ages provides biographical sketches of fifty-six of the world's worst tyrants, in a volume that describes the personal habits, tactics, and villainies of rulers from Hammurabi to Franco.

Publishers Description

For the most notorious leaders in the history of the world, evil is more than just a moment of weakness―it's a way of life.

For every noble king, righteous emperor, and peace-loving president, history seems to serve up a double portion of murderous pharaohs, deranged dictators, or corrupt czars. "Thugs" probes this dark and twisted side of raw human power―from France's King Louis XIV to China's Mao Tse-Tung and everywhere in between. it's a fascinating peek into the lives of the rich and infamous, the sour creme de la creme.

Some, like Herod the Great, earned villainous reputations for slaughtering their own family members and countrymen. Others, like Egypt's King Farouk, were almost laughable in their misdeeds, amassing the world's largest collection of pornography. Then there are those leaders, such as Hitler, who committed acts of such unspeakable evil that their names are uttered as curses.

From Filipino first lady Imelda Marcos's bullet-proof bras to African strongman Ide Amin's bizarre fixation with all things Scottish, Micah D. Halpern turns the yellowed pages of history and contemporary news accounts to profile the bewildering, outrageous, horrific, gut-wrenching, zany, and tragicomic behavior of the world's worst leaders.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Thugs: How History's Most Notorious Despots Transformed the World through Terror, Tyranny, and Mass Murder by Micah D. Halpern has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • Library Journal - 08/06/2007

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Thomas Nelson
Pages   368
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.23" Width: 6.6" Height: 1.22"
Weight:   1.04 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Aug 21, 2007
Publisher   Thomas Nelson
ISBN  1595550739  
ISBN13  9781595550736  
UPC  020049140598  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Bargain Books
2Books > Subjects > History > World > General
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > General

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Books > General Interest > General Topic > History

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Reviews - What do customers think about Thugs: How History's Most Notorious Despots Transformed the World through Terror, Tyranny, and Mass Murder?

A terrible book  Sep 19, 2007
This book has so many historical inaccuracies there is not room to list them all. The chapters on Mao and Stalin are especially egregious. My recommendation? Don't buy this book.
Overweaning Persian Pride Notwithstanding  Sep 11, 2007
Micah Halpern has written not a history but an engaging study of the nature of thugs (dictators, strongmen, autocrats, as you will) throughout history and why they so often succeed, sometimes fail, and why people continue to support them. Even Imelda Marcos and Daniel Ortega were returned to power after they were ousted, and Halpern examines this phenomenon with insight, intelligence, and humor.

But if one wishes to review this book based upon the offense that one biased party took to Halpern's speech at the Heritage Foundation, and based upon the supposed lack of respect which he accorded Persian culture, and upon whether or not he accorded enough importance to the influence of Manicheanism on Christianity and Judaism, then one can take the negative comments by another reviewer here who has not even read this book at face value.

Halpern is a widely respected and very engaging scholar, well liked by all, it seems, except the emerging Islamo-leftist axis. I would suggest actually reading Halpern's witty and thoughtful book or his writings at or watching the Heritage Foundation speech when next it airs on CSPAN2's Book TV. The subject matter of this work is not limited to neglecting those points about Iran and Persia which another reviewer seems to think should have been the sole content of a book on several millennia of world history. Neither Caesaer nor Saddam nor Marcos nor Mao nor Stalin nor any of subjects of the rest of this valuable book has anything to do with the land of Xerxes, Zoroaster. Likewise, if all Halpern's myriad errors are too many to list as another reviewer asserts, then perhaps that reviewer could list three? As a libertarian, a Catholic-born atheist, and an Danish-American with no connection to Halpern or Iran, I have no axe to grind here.
Please Fact Check before you write a Book!  Sep 9, 2007
I listened to the Author talk at the Heritage Foundation about this book. to begin with the Author made several errors in his talk about Iran and about Ahmadinejad in particualr. The Author stated that Ahmadijenad of Iran was barely literate with a high school education. This is factually incorrect; Ahmadinejad has a PHD in urban transport and infrastructure. If you know anything about Tehran's horrific traffic jams, it is not a complete surprise that he should be elected as the Mayor of Tehran. The Author accused Ahmadinejad of speaking a low level of Persian, this may be the case depending on his audience, however I am certain that Ahmadinejad's Persian is much more eloquent than George Bush's English. It is true that Ahmadinejad is a puppet and not qualified to be the President of a Major country, but then again neither was George Bush. There's another smear that the Author made which bothers me a great deal. It is true is that Ahmadinejad is the son of a black smith, however as far as I'm aware none of us have any control over choosing the social class into which we are born.
It is True that Iran and Syria cooperate in their respective foreign policies towards Israel and the U.S., one should not read too much into this. Syria is economically and Politically isolated within the region and Iran has been using Syria's strategic location. In return Iran has been keeping Syria's economy alive with substantial Oil Shipments and Economic subsidies.
During WWII Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill collaborated to defeat Hitler. Let's not forget that it was the Russian, Belorussian, and Ukranian peoples who paid the highest price on the European theatre of any nation,(you may include Poland too). Here in North America we wrongly assume that it was the D-Day landings in Normandy that defeated the Hitler regime, while in realith it was the Red Army's relentless onslaugh. While I hope the Author's intentions are not misplaced, he must get his facts and details correct, otherwise the book is just a waste of paper, and we don't need to waste anymore trees to print more inaccuracies. The Author also spoke about the title of his book being problematic, I wish he had enough conviction in his beliefs to stand up to the publishers and editors of this book.
As for the Persian language being a language prone to doom and gloom, this is true of Persian Poetry, but this is a reflection of Iran's turbulent past. The Author in his talk failed to mention the notion of Good and Evil came into Judaism and subsequently into Christanity through Zoroastrianism and the prophet Mani (Manicheanism), both being ancient Pre-Islamic Relgions of Iran. (These notions of Good and Evil probably began entering Judaism during the Babylonian Captivity of the Jews, some scholars believe that much of the Old Testament was written down during this same period.)
Iran has been destroyed several times in its long history, yet it has managed to make a strong come back through the Resiliency and Vitality of its people. Let's hope the Author's book will not be used as a propaganda tool by certain circles to justify a military attack on Iran.
I do agree with the Author at least on one thing; Mumar Kaddafi of Libya has been a long term invalid of bad taste. Sarkozy should have sent a few top notch Parisian designers over to Tripoli and Bengazi, instead of Fighter Planes and Armaments. The Arab World does not need more expensive Useless Weapons, that Money should have been spent on investing in Human Capital instead.

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