978-1-4329-6034-6. ea vol: 64p. (Hot Topics Series). charts. maps. photos. chron. further reading. glossary. index. Web sites. CIP. Heinemann Library. 2012. PLB $33.50; pap. $9.99.
Gr 7–10—The first book provides an overview of several well-known genocides, including the Holocaust and the more recent tragedies in Rwanda and Darfur. The slaughter of Armenians by Turks before World War I; the Mongol conquests; the killing fields of Cambodia; and the massacre at Srebrenica are also discussed. Throughout the text, Friedman asks readers to consider difficult questions: Why do peacekeeping forces sometimes fail? What is the role of witnesses to genocide? How should such crimes be prosecuted, and how can future generations be educated? Sidebars cover topics such as the use of propaganda and the Nuremberg trials, and basic maps provide geographical context. Back matter includes a useful key to the characteristics that genocides have in common. Human Rights opens with the story of a young gravel pit worker in Zambia and then discusses the history of the concept of human rights. Each chapter covers a different subset of rights, including children's rights; criminal and political prisoners' rights; the right to life; gender, race, and cultural rights; and the right to free expression. "Case studies" (really just extended sidebars) highlight people and movements, like Falun Gong and the Tank Man in Tiananmen Square. Despite occasionally awkward language ("a person's nationality is important to have a sense of identity"), this book will serve students well for brief reports, but they will need additional resources for longer projects. The critical-thinking exercises offer plenty of opportunities to engage with the subject. Back matter includes the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Both books include black-and-white and full-color photos. Well-laid-out and thought-provoking books on important topics.—Rebecca Donnelly, Loma Colorado Public Library, Rio Rancho, NM

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