Call for Book Reviewer: Dynamic of Destruction

Dear Colleague,

Library of Social Science Book Reviews is up and running.

Please take a moment to read our Mission Statement that appears below and on our website.

Library of Social Science Book Reviews identifies outstanding scholarly books and publishes thoughtful review essays that engage the author’s arguments and articulate the implications of the book’s ideas, placing them in the context of contemporary thought.

Review essays are published on our website—and distributed by the Library of Social Science Newsletter, which reaches over 65,000 scholars around the world.

We invite you to write a review essay on Dynamic of Destruction: Culture and Mass Killing in the First World War.

Alan Kramer’s Dynamic of Destruction is significant—not only for the richness of its historical account—but because the book allows us to understand the First World War in a new way. Many studies provide step-by-step accounts of events leading up to the war and details of what happened. However, the large questions remain: Why did the same battle strategies persist in spite of their futility? Why did the slaughter go on and on?

Kramer suggests that First World War combatants embraced a “culture of destruction and self-destruction.” It was not simply the obtuseness of the Generals—the weakness of their strategies and tactics—that generated mass killing. Rather, a genuine dynamic of destruction evolved—defining the war. What does it mean to say that a nation or society embraces destruction and self-destruction?

We seek reviewers to build upon Kramer’s ideas—and to participate in our project of interrogating the sources and meanings of societal forms of violence (see our Ideologies of War website for additional information).Once you have read our Mission Statement and Parameters of a Library of Social Science Book Review (both directly below), please reply by email telling me why you would like to review Dynamic of Destruction.

Please respond by email to:

Parameters of a Library of Social Science Book Review Essay

  • Essays will be written in the spirit of the LSS Mission Statement that appears here.
  • Essays should be between 1300 and 3000 words in length (for a sample essay, click here.)
  • Essays are to be completed no later than three months after receipt of the book.
  • Reviewers may focus on several important issues in order to develop their own views and ideas on the topics treated.
  • Reviews will be edited by the staff of Library of Social Science.
  • Reviews will be published through the Library of Social Science Newsletter, which reaches over 65,000 people in the U.S. and around the world.
  • With each review, LSS will promote a book authored by the reviewer (and/or will publicize an author event).
  • Published reviews will be accompanied by an introduction or commentary written by an LSS staff member.
  • LSS reserves the right to decline publication of any review.

Library of Social Science Book Reviews

Mission Statement

Library of Social Science Book Reviews has been initiated in order to identify outstanding scholarly books and bring them to the attention of scholars, students and thinking people everywhere. We aspire to provide a space of freedom for the presentation and development of significant ideas. We will publish substantial review essays that critically engage and develop the author’s arguments and their implications.

Books will be selected based on their quality and ability to generate change both in the scholarly community and wider society. We will engage in scholarship across a range of disciplines including: political psychology, social theory, anthropology, political science, and twentieth century history. We especially wish to review books that address the sources and meanings of collective forms of violence that take the form of warfare, genocide and terrorism.

The rise of postmodern relativism brought the assumption that each author produces a work that is valid only within a particular discursive community. In our view, scholars should not be circumscribed by their discursive context. We believe that the pursuit of truth is still a primary objective of intellectual activity—and that one individual’s insights can build upon those of others in a collaborative and cumulative process. We seek to develop a community of people who see the possibility of moving towards a degree of consensus on core issues—through collegiality and the disinterested pursuit of knowledge.

The Library of Social Science is positioning itself as a challenge to entrenched ideologies—widening a field of vision that has been obstructed by a penchant for insular specialization. Our reviewers seek to develop new perspectives and theories on the relationship between history, culture, ideology and psychology—that may yield startling insights.

Guided by the academic interests of its founder, Dr. Richard Koenigsberg, Library of Social Science has been contributing to its community by sharing knowledge and advancing human understanding of the social world for several decades. We have helped numerous scholars share their views with the world by promoting their writings through our Ideologies of War website and the Library of Social Science Newsletter, which reaches 65,000 scholars in the United States and around the world.

For the past 40 years, Dr. Koenigsberg has been researching the psychological sources of war and genocide. He is the author of highly acclaimed books such as Hitler’s Ideology: A Study in Psychoanalytic Sociology and Nations Have the Right to Kill: Hitler, the Holocaust and War, and has lectured extensively throughout the United States.

We have invited a group of dynamic scholars to join us in this endeavor. Some are established authorities in their fields. Others are young scholars seeking a space to convey their insights. We hope that Our Reviewers will have the drive and courage to pursue new ideas—wherever they may lead.