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Now published for the first time in paperback, this is the first comprehensive biography of Raphael Lemkin (1900-59), the man who invented the word genocide and campaigned relentlessly for the United Nations Genocide Convention. Utilising Lemkin's own papers as well as other sources, it contextualises his career, showing how his ideas were formed in the midst of ethnic strife in Eastern Europe and as a member of the international law circuit.
The book focuses on the campaign for a convention orchestrated by Lemkin, dealing both with its supporters and enemies, particularly the British government. While Lemkin drew attention to the need to preserve diverse cultures, both in his campaigning and his historical writing, the Western powers amended the convention, so that it became an instrument solely for preventing physical genocide. The book also covers Lemkin's historical research on genocide, presenting a number of studies, particularly of colonial genocide.