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Revolution and Genocide in Ethiopia and Cambodia

Edward Kissi

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Revolution and Genocide in Ethiopia and Cambodia is the first comparative study of the Ethiopian and Cambodian revolutions of the early 1970s. One of the few comparative studies of genocide in the developing world, this book presents some of the key arguments in traditional genocide scholarship, but the book's author, Edward Kissi, takes a different position, arguing that the Cambodian genocide and the atrocious crimes in Ethiopia had very different motives.

Kissi's findings reveal that genocide was a tactic specifically chosen by Cambodia's Khmer Rouge to intentionally and systematically annihilate certain ethnic and religious groups, whereas Ethiopia's Dergue resorted to terror and political killing in the effort to retain power. Revolution and Genocide in Ethiopia and Cambodia demonstrates that the extent to which revolutionary states turn to policies of genocide depends greatly on how they acquire their power and what domestic and international opposition they face. This is an important and intriguing book for students of African and Asian history and those interested in the study of genocide.
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Lexington Books
Pages: 216Size: 6 1/2 x 9
978-0-7391-0691-4 • Hardback • March 2006 • $90.00 • (£60.00)
978-0-7391-1263-2 • Paperback • March 2006 • $39.99 • (£24.95)
978-0-7391-6037-4 • eBook • March 2006 • $37.99 • (£24.95)
Edward Kissi is assistant professor in the Department of Africana Studies at the University of South Florida, Tampa.
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Society and State in pre-revolutionary Ethiopia and Cambodia
Chapter 3 Growth and Dissemination of Revolutionary Ideas
Chapter 4 Empire and Kingdom in Revolution
Chapter 5 State-terror and the Quest for Total Power
Chapter 6 Determining and Prosecuting Genocide
Chapter 7 Foreign Relations and Territorial Politics
Chapter 8 Conclusion
Edward Kissi's analytically stimulating Revolution and Genocide in Ethiopia and Cambodia is a fruitful comparative study probing deeply beneath surface appearances to shed new light on key differences between the revolutions in Cambodia and Ethiopia and their atrocious consequences. After reading his nuanced comparisons, no reader will ever again be satisfied with glib generalizations about the similarities between the revolutionary regimes of Pol Pot and Mengistu.
Prof. Frank Chalk, co-author of The History and Sociology of Genocide and co-director, Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies at


Kissi has produced a provocative and engaging comparative masterpiece that genocide scholars as well as historians of Ethiopia and Cambodia will find informative and fascinating....Kissi deserves commendation for augmenting the Ethiopian side with oral interviews and newspaper accounts.
African Studies Review, September 2008


Edward Kissi's pioneering comparison of the Cambodian and Ethiopian revolutions makes an important contribution to the study of modern genocide as well as to that of comparative Third World politics. It is a close, careful, scholarly assessment of contemporaneous disasters in two kingdoms on different continents, and reveals interesting commonalities and differences in their societies and the regimes that almost destroyed them, the Khmer Rouge and the Dergue.
Ben Kiernan, director of the Genocide Studies Program at Yale University, author of How Pol Pot Came to Power and The Pol Pot Regime


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