− Charles W. Mills, Ph.D., author of The Racial Contract, John Evans Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy, Northwestern University
“In this powerful and original work—ranging widely and with impressive interdisciplinary scope over different epochs and cultures while remaining compellingly readable—David Livingstone Smith demonstrates that our practice of representing our fellow-humans as subhuman is both inhuman and all too human. He forces us to recognize that monstrous atrocities are routinely carried out not by monsters but, alas, by ourselves.”
“This is a beautiful book on an ugly topic. David Livingstone Smith uses the newest research in cognitive science to address the problems of racism, genocide, and atrocity, presenting a provocative theory as to why we come to see others as less than human. There are deep and important ideas here, and this engaging book should be read by anyone interested in the worst aspects of human nature − and how we can come to transcend them.”− Paul Bloom, author of How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like and professor of psychology, Yale University
“Smith is a philosopher with a strong interest in cognitive science and evolutionary psychology. His book offers a gripping history of the horrific ways in which human beings have turned other humans into “sub-humans” and “beasts in human form,” from American rhetoric rationalizing African slavery, to the Nazi persecution of the Jews, to the justifications offered for the genocide in Rwanda. He identifies a key thematic in all these campaigns of dehumanization: namely, convincing the persecutors that, when it comes to the persecuted, there is a difference between being essentially human and merely appearing human….[H]is synthesis of the ways in which the essence/appearance distinction figures in the rhetoric of hatred and genocide throughout history insightful and memorable.”− Brian Leiter, Ph.D., Karl N. Llewellyn Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Chicago Law School, and founder and Director of Chicago’s Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Values.
“Smith’s accomplishment is stunning. He has written a book that is strikingly original, clearly and eloquently written, and − for anyone who believes that truth is preferable to untruth, no matter how ugly this truth − an absolutely ‘essential’ read.”− LTC Douglas A. Pryer, The Military Review.
“Books like Smith’s should be required reading for all with a social conscience, and his ideas ought to find their way into every school curriculum.”− Valerie Curtis, Journal of Evolutionary Psychology
“As this far-reaching and inter-disciplinary study by David Livingstone Smith amply demonstrates, it is a recurrent historical phenomenon extending back millennia, and it seems to be a necessary precondition for the perpetration of sustained injustices, especially slavery, genocide, and racial subjugation.”− Peter C. Grosvenor, The Humanist
“Smith’s theory is both sweeping in scope and practical for purposes of genocide prevention.”− Edwin Hodge, Journal of Genocide Research
“David Livingstone Smith… provides a breathtaking panorama, with an impressive range and depth, of the history of dehumanization.”
− Henning Melber, Executive Director, The Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation.