Humanity: A Moral History of the 20th Century by Jonathan Glover Essay

Humanity: A Moral History of the 20th Century by Jonathan Glover Essay

Length: 1323 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

As most people would agree, the 20th century contained some of the bloodiest and most gruesome events ever recorded in history. Why do words such as Hiroshima, Rwanda, The Final Solution, A Great Leap Forward, The Great Purge and so many more spark such vivid images of blood, torture and murder in our minds? And despite those horrific images, what is it that causes us humans time and time again to commit such crimes against humanity? Those are the kinds of questions Jonathan Glover, a critically acclaimed ethics philosopher, tries to answer in the book he had spent over ten years writing, Humanity: A Moral History of the 20th Century. Through Humanity Glover tries to answer those questions in a way which will give a solution as how we can prevent ourselves from ever repeating those crimes in the future.
Jonathan Glover, born in 1941, is a British philosopher known for his studies on ethics. Earlier in his career he was a fellow and tutor at New College, Oxford, but he is currently a professor at King’s College London. He, much like Professor R.J. Rummel (1932-2014) of the University of Hawaii who revived and redefined the term democide, believes that humanity and morality were at their worst and most questionable times during the 20th century. Throughout his book, Glover considers the moral predispositions which cause humanity to commit barbaric acts of genocide such as the ones committed by so many world leaders before this time. Each chapter of Glover’s analysis focuses on one historical event which he rips apart and tries to make sense of. Though this approach to the book may be a bit distracting and confusing at times, one must understand that a simple ethical and philosophical analysis of those horrific events is not enough...


... middle of paper ...


...n Humanity Glover gives a slightly frightening depiction of the 20th century. Yes, the 20th Century was undoubtedly an extremely bloody one, but there are some professionals such as psychologist Steven Pinker, a Harvard professor, who argue quite the opposite from Glover. Pinker, in his The Better Angles of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, says that the 20th century was actually the least bloody in history because human nature has changed significantly. He poses numbers that aim to prove the fact that tribal warfare was nine times deadlier than genocide and war in the 20th century. Despite these counter arguments, however, Jonathan Glover gives an extraordinary analysis of humanity, morality and ethics in the 20th century which can give humans a solution as to how we should all go about preventing genocide and other war crimes in the future of our species.




Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Development Of Early 20th Century Essay examples

- A Historical Analysis of the Development of Late 19th, 20th and 21st Century Marketing Initiatives, Strategies, Processes, and Trends This study will define the development of marketing history from the late 19th century to the early 21st century. The focus on the production and product orientation era will define the industrialization of products and the promotion of marketing through trends in radio and newspaper mediums. At the mid-20th century, the focus on “marketing mixes’ defines the theoretical practice of the Four P’s of Marketing, which allowed a broader spectrum evaluation of the marketing process, which was galvanized by the trend of the multi-medium platform of TV advertising...   [tags: Marketing, 21st century, 20th century]

Powerful Essays
1527 words (4.4 pages)

The History Of Mexican 20th Century Essay

- In 1900 started what was called the Casasola archive, a photographic archive which then would serve the history of Mexico, this file which is then transformed into a vital obsession for Victor, contains political facts of relevance, images of everyday life, parties, social events, and religious. Casasola was already known as a photographer when he employs his brothers and his children as helpers and begins to form an idea that leads him to be the great witness of the history of Mexican 20th century....   [tags: Mexican Revolution, Mexico, History of Mexico]

Powerful Essays
725 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on Technology Has Made A Massive Improvement Since The 20th Century

- Technology has made a massive improvement since the 20th century. That improvement has accordingly had a huge impact in teenagers lives. Before cell phones became popular with in teenagers they communicated differently. Some ways teenagers communicated before cell phones was by using landlines and memorizing their best friend’s number (Alcanta, 2016). Unfortunately, this changed today in the 21st century. Now, most teenagers have smart phones that do everything teenagers had to do back then, teens no longer have to memorize phone numbers and spend time making a call to talk to their friends (Alcanta, 2016)....   [tags: Mobile phone, Adolescence, 20th century]

Powerful Essays
1208 words (3.5 pages)

Essay about Technology Has Made Massive Improvements During The 20th Century

- Technology has made massive improvements since the 20th century. Those improvements have accordingly had a huge impact in teenagers’ lives. Before cell phones became popular within teenagers, they communicated differently. Some ways teenagers communicated before cell phones was by using landlines and face-to-face communication (Alcanta, 2016). Unfortunately, this has changed today in the 21st century. Now, most teenagers have smart phones that do everything teenagers have to do back then; teens no longer have to memorize phone numbers and spend time making a call to talk to their friends voice-to-voice, let alone face-to-face (Alcanta, 2016)....   [tags: Mobile phone, Adolescence, 20th century]

Powerful Essays
1174 words (3.4 pages)

Germans in the 20th Century Essay

- The Story of Germans in the 20th Century and Their Dynamic Understanding of It HST 429 Term Paper Although there has been a lot of controversy about the accuracy of the collective German memory of World War II, I believe that the many different viewpoints that have risen up in the last 60+ years have provided a vast patchwork of German memory that, together, show that Germans have at least adequately explored every aspect of their 20th century. The aspect of Germans as perpetrators has clearly been expressed, often overriding the aspect of victimization – particularly in the minds of many “normal” Germans who see their suffering as an inevitable result of the crimes committed “i...   [tags: German History]

Powerful Essays
2318 words (6.6 pages)

Literature around Women in Art History from the 19th to the 20th Century

- It has been an assumption of feminist students of art history that their task is nothing less that to rewrite the history of art (Broude & Norma 1982, 183). The question off course is, how is it done. What doe sit entail. However, steeping back for a while, what lead to this assumption, what is the underlying issue that current feminist female arty history student’s sort to conquer. Woman’s relations to artistic and social structures as been different to that of male artist, to discover the history of women and art is in part to account for the ways art history if written, exposing its underlying values, its assumptions, its silences and its prejudice (Parker &Pollock 2013, 3)....   [tags: feminism studies and history]

Powerful Essays
1132 words (3.2 pages)

The 20th Century - The Most Violent Century of All Time. Essay

- The progress made in the 20th century is staggering. Advancements in science, medicine and technology alone have brought incalculable benefits to human beings. Yet on the darker side, the 20th century was also the most violent time of human history. Two world wars, the massacres of Stalin, the Holocaust of Hitler, and many other such events killed over hundreds of millions of people and inflicted extreme suffering on hundreds of millions more that will make this period in time and period that will be remembered forever....   [tags: World History]

Powerful Essays
862 words (2.5 pages)

Crime Trends Of The 20th Century Essay

- Introduction: Crime trends, like all the others social phenomena having it 's own fashion. We can say like it was fashionable to wear certain cloth and go out to the particular places/ certains counties in vacation, same way crimes had their own fashion. Crime fashion varie with the time. In the 19th century, it was in fashion to wear gloves and the veil, it was fashionable to poisoning. This crime occurred often in a domestic condition. It 's not like we stop to poison, of course, poisonning will always exist, but we just moved the angle of your attention to the other more attractive at a given period of our history crimes....   [tags: Crime, Criminal justice, Police, Murder]

Powerful Essays
2473 words (7.1 pages)

How "1984" Relates to 20th Century European History Essay

- The book 1984 describes a future society in which Winston Smith lives as a member of the Outer Party, the organization which rules the state of Oceania, where Winston lives. The year 1984 is an arbitrary year, since Winston cannot be sure of the past or present, due to the fact that the Party and Big Brother are in the continuous process of manufacturing history, much like revisionists, in order to control the minds and the memories of the citizens of Oceania. Orwell describes the citizens in Oceania as "cut off from contact with the outer world, and with the past, the citizen of Oceania is like a man in interstellar space, who has no way of knowing which direction is up and which is down" (...   [tags: European History]

Powerful Essays
876 words (2.5 pages)

Essay on Comparing Tapdancing of Robinson and Glover

- Abstract: Comparing the tap dancing of tap stars Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson and Savion Glover in the two Hollywood films Stormy Weather (1943) by Andrew Stone and Bamboozled (2000) by Spike Lee, calls for the analysis of each film’s historical context. There are race issues deeply embedded either in the political and social situation at the time the film was made, as is the case with Stormy Weather, or in the narrative of the film, as with Bamboozled. This article pro- poses that the markers for the evolution of tap have been closely aligned with the progress of African Americans in this country....   [tags: Bill Bojangles Robinson Savion Glover]

Free Essays
3335 words (9.5 pages)