The Evil That Men Do

The Evil That Men Do

3.6 (20 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Born of a preoccupation with saints and sinners, The Evil That Men Do is Brian Masters' investigation into the nature of good and evil, and the different ways in which they can be manifested. It examines the fundamental questions of why we are as we are: why we are good, why we care for one another, why we can be altruistic and kind as well as selfish and cruel. According to science, we are prisoners of our genetic inheritance. Are our impulses therefore to some extent inescapable, compelling us to behave in a certain manner, irrespective of the guidelines imposed by instinct or civilization? Or can we determine our individual patterns of behaviour? Do we really have a choice? Using a diverse multitude of examples, from St. Francis of Assisi, Audrey Hepburn, Bruce Chatwin and Bob Geldof to the Marquis de Sade, Adolf Hitler and Peter Sutcliffe, from the Spanish Inquisition to Nazi Germany to the Vietnam War, Brian Masters examines this age-old yet intensely contemporary subject. At a time when civilization seems on the verge of meltdown, he has produced an incisive, thoughtful and provocative meditation on a fundamental human question.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 130 x 194 x 22mm | 258.55g
  • Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • Black Swan
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 16pp b&w photographs
  • 0552143073
  • 9780552143073
  • 1,199,011

Review quote

"* 'A welcome link in the chain of understanding: a work of ambition and complexity underpinned by an obvious desire to grasp the fundamental nature of ourselves' - John Stalker, Sunday Times * 'An exercise in moral philosophy... imbued with the writer's kindly wisdom or quivering indignation. [Masters'] accounts of our brutality and sadism to ourselves and our fellow creatures, although not lavish and never unnecessarily dwelt upon, harrow us the more keenly just because they are so well-written and admirably chosen.' - Ruth Rendell, Daily Telegraph * 'His discussion of evil and good is calmly, even cooly detailed. It is not merely by his compassionate distancing that Masters' study manages to engage the reader; his research seems to have been exhaustive and copious. His range is impressive.' - Times Literary Supplement"show more

About Brian Masters

Brian Masters has written over twenty books on subjects as diverse as French literature, the dukedoms in Great Britain, E.F. Benson and Marie Corelli. His groundbreaking study of mass murderer Dennis Nilsen, Killing for Company, won the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction in 1985. He is the author of the critically acclaimed The Shrine of Jeffrey Dahmer and The Evil that Men Do. He is also highly regarded for his journalism, in particular his weekly column in the Mail on Sunday's magazine Night and Day. He lives in France.show more

Review Text

"His discussion of evil and good is calmly, even cooly detailed. It is not merely by his compassionate distancing that Masters' study manages to engage the reader; his research seems to have been exhaustive and copious. His range is impressive."show more

Back cover copy

The contradictions within human nature are many. We can be good and kind as well as cruel and selfish. According to science we are prisoners of our genetic inheritance. Are our impulses therefore to some extent inescapable, compelling us to behave in a certain manner, irrespective of the guidelines imposed by civilisation? Or can we determine our individual patterns of behaviour? Do we really have a choice? The Evil That Men Do is a penetrating investigation into the nature of good and evil and the different ways in which they can be manifested. Using a diverse multitude of examples, it examines an age-old yet intensely contemporary subject at a time when civilisation seems to be on the verge of meltdown. It is an incisive, thoughtful and provocative meditation on a fundamental human question.show more

Rating details

20 ratings
3.6 out of 5 stars
5 5% (1)
4 50% (10)
3 45% (9)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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