Tuesday, April 21, 2009

World's Most Evil Men, The (Blandford, Neil & Jones, Bruce)

Rating: 4
Year: 1990
Genre: Non-fiction
Read again? Maybe

For such an all-encompassing title, this is an amazingly thin book, given all the evil men History has known, but it does make for good reading. Each evil man is given at least a page, just room for the highlights without making a list of every evil deed. Think of it as "entry-level" evil--you read this, you're interested and want to learn more, but if you're not you're only out the cost of one book. Since this is supposed to be the "most" evil men, you won't find lesser evils.

"Most Evil" is broken down into 6 chapters, each telling of a different class of evil:

Twentieth Century Tyrants. Your basic tin-pot dictators, gunboat diplomats, and megalomaniacal emperors for life--Idi Amin, Pol Pot, "Emperor" Bokassa, Papa Doc Duvalier, Joe Stalin.

Merciless Despots--Atilla the Hun, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane the Great, Ivan the Terrible, the Ottoman Sultans.

For God, King & Country--the Borgias, the Conquistadores, the Buccaneers (English pirates Morgan & Kidd), Marat & Robespierre of the French Revolution, Jim Jones of Jonestown

The Nazis--Hitler's rise, the SS & Himmler in the Ghettoes, Heydrich and his camps, Eichmann, Klaus Barbie.

Evil is Big Business--the Mafia, Jimmy Hoffa, Gambino, Galante, Murder Incorporated, Al Capone, Bugsy Siegel

Blood Lust--Caligula, Vlad the Impaler, Gilles de Rais, the Beane cannibal family, German vampires Kurten & Haarman, Chicago's Torture Castle, Marquis de Sade.

Given that evil men seem to ooze out of various worldly orificies (orifi?) at odd times, there is ample room for a second edition--I note that George Luca$ apprently wasn't evil enough for the first edition.


Anonymous said...

I'm curious what he has to say about the Borgias. There is no reason to believe most of the things attributed to them, and especially Cesar, were anything but mud slinging, with the licentiousness of the Pope being a notable exception.

Also, in what way does he think de Sade was evil? I've read his books, and while he may have been a pedophile in real life, he certainly hadn't dealt with skulls at all, and maybe not even dead bodies. -- LR

JW said...

I could send you the book, if you'd like. I'm not likely to re-read it.

Anonymous said...

Nah, that's OK. I just sometimes wonder if I'm the only one who's read de Sade's fiction and noticed he has no idea what dead bodies look like. Pointy nose bones? Sawing off a head from back to front and the victim lives until the throat is cut? Tch.

JW said...

I'll have a look at it in a bit and get some specifics. It's been maybe 8 months since I read it (kind of shows in the review--I wanted some filler).

Anonymous said...

Oh, please don't bother. I had assumed you were reviewing things you had just read and figured those details would be fresh in your memory. -- Lr