Title and Overview
“Famous Assassinations in World History” by Newton and Michael is a two-volume encyclopedia that aims to fill the gap in the study of political murder. The encyclopedia is an extensive and comprehensive resource that covers the murder of prominent public figures throughout history, from heads of state and government officials to religious leaders and journalists.
The encyclopedia’s entries are arrange alphabetically, providing detail accounts of the individuals’ lives, their political and social significance, the circumstances surrounding their assassination, and the aftermath of the event. The book is design to serve both a general audience and professional researchers active in the study of criminology, terrorism, and related fields.
The book’s authors define assassination as the murder of a prominent public figure, excluding professional criminals slain during inter-necine gang wars or celebrities killed by obsessive stalkers. Instead, they focus on those who have had an impact on society beyond their immediate circle of influence.
The authors make an exception for musician John Lennon, whose sociopolitical activities in later life and the persistent claims of government conspiracy behind his death have made him an enduring figure of public interest.
The encyclopedia covers 266 main entries, including the assassination of Julius Caesar, the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the killing of Martin Luther King Jr., and the assassination of Indira Gandhi. The entries are thorough, with each including relevant historical background, biographical information, and the details of the assassination itself.
In addition to the main entries, the book also includes supplementary features such as maps, timelines, and indexes. The maps are particularly helpful, providing a visual representation of the events surrounding each assassination.
One of the book’s strengths is the variety of entries include. The authors have not limit themselves to high-profile assassinations that are well known to the general public but have also include lesser-known but equally significant events such as the murder of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky and the assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme.
The writing style in “Famous Assassinations in World History” is clear and concise, making it easy for readers to follow along. The authors provide enough historical context to help readers understand the significance of each event without overwhelming them with details.
The book is written in an objective tone, with the authors refraining from inserting their own opinions or biases into the entries. This makes the encyclopedia a useful resource for both researchers and casual readers who want to learn about the history of political murder without being swayed by the authors’ personal beliefs.
One potential weakness of the encyclopedia is that it focuses solely on the assassination of public figures. While this is understandable give the authors’ definition of assassination, it may leave some readers wanting to know more about political violence that does not fit this narrow definition.
Additionally, some entries are more in-depth than others, with some assassinations receiving only a brief mention. This is likely due to the authors’ desire to cover a wide range of events, but it can leave readers wanting more information on certain subjects.
Overall, “Famous Assassinations in World History” is an excellent resource for anyone interest in the history of political murder. The encyclopedia is well-research and well-written, providing detail accounts of the lives and deaths of some of the most significant figures in history.
While it may not be a comprehensive guide to political violence, it provides a useful starting point for further research. The maps, timelines, and indexes included in the book are particularly helpful, making it easy for readers to navigate the complex events surrounding each assassination.
The authors have done an excellent job of remaining objective, presenting the facts without inserting their own opinions or biases. This makes the encyclopedia a valuable resource for both scholars and general readers who want to learn about the impact of political violence on society throughout history.