Edgerton, Robert B. Books

Dr. Robert Edgerton has been on the faculty of UCLA since 1962. His research spans a number of areas especially warfare. Dr. Edgerton has published books on African warfare, including The Warrior Women of Dahomey, the so-called “Amazons” as well as research on Japanese military history, the Crimean War, and the heroism of black American soldiers.

Balance of Human Kindness and Cruelty: Why We are the Way We Are
2005 0-7734-6287-2
This book reviews the many conflicting theories about human nature, those that stress our dark side, and those that emphasize our goodness. It then explores actual human behavior in societies around the world beginning with earliest and smallest known societies, foraging people such as the !Kung San Pygmies, then various kinds of farming people, and finally, city dwellers. It also focuses on human behavior during the 20th Century providing detailed examples of human kindness and inhumanity. It also examines human behavior under the most terrible kind of stress imaginable--deadly, prolonged famine. How people respond to famine around the world is described with an emphasis on the killer famine that starved much of Ireland from 1845 to 1850. Many Irish people died of starvation but unlike other parts of the world where starvation led the strong to kill and eat the weak, Irish culture forbade such killing and in reality it did not take place. Finally, the book summarizes the evidence, then concludes that even though people have biological urges that lead toward anti-social behavior, human rule systems can control most of these anti-social predispositions.

Comparative Anthology of Baseball Around the World
2006 0-7734-5914-6
Winner of the Adele Mellen Prize for Contribution to Scholarship

This book begins with chapters devoted to baseball’s much-disputed beginnings and baseball in North America. There are also individual chapters devoted to baseball in Asia, Latin and South America, Australia and countries “down under,” Europe, Africa, and nearly every country imaginable. Along with names of individuals who brought baseball to these sometimes far-away regions, the author nonetheless interjects items related to baseball that will be new or pleasingly familiar to the most ardent fan. Although geared to a select audience, nearly all baseball fans will find something about America’s pastime – now grown to global proportions – to hold their interest and to provoke discussion.

Comparative Survey of Suicide in Scandinavia, Asia, Africa, United States
2009 0-7734-4781-4
This anthropological study examines cultural attitudes and public policies around the world toward suicide.

Remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain. America’s 1898 Adventure in Imperialism
2004 0-7734-6266-X
This book describes and eva1uates the turn-of-the-century foray by the U.S. into imperialism. It describes our conflict with Spain. over the sinking of the battleship USS Maine in Cuba followed by our invasion of the island and its seizure. It also describes our seizure of Puerto Rico from Spain. That island today stands as the oldest colony in the world and the author proposes that it is a place with no independence or political rights. The annexation of Hawaii that took place at the same time is also examined as is the seizure of Guam and the invasion and eventual conquest of the Philippines after many years of bloody combat. Finally the book assesses the impact of these imperialistic adventures on US politics at that time and over the years since.

Valor of Male and Female Warriors Around the World
2006 0-7734-5927-8
This book examines human courage and cowardice in combat in many parts of the world in recent times and in the distant past. The result is an introduction to an essential attribute of humanity – the quest for self-respect and the respect of others. The first chapter examines the role of women in war, from the earliest days to the present time. It presents a detailed review of the “Amazons,” women warriors of West Africa. Chapter Two reviews warfare in Africa, particularly the shocking Zulu defeat of British regular troops in 1879. The next chapters discuss the “Charge of the Light Brigade” during the Crimean War, the epic battle of the Alamo, the War of 1812, the battle of Waterloo and the American Civil War, the Vietnam War, the Aztecs, Mayans, and Inca, and chapter eight reviews combat in India and Tibet. The final chapter looks at warfare in the world’s many small societies.

Worldwide Practice of Torture
2007 0-7734-5337-7
This work, written by an accomplished anthropologist, provides vivid accounts of the horrific practice of torture from around the world, along with explanations from the torturers as to how they could carry out such acts and accounts from victims of torture, detailing their experiences. The result is a book that offers readers a glimpse of what may be mankind’s most appalling behavior. Readers should be cautioned that their reading will like be a painful one.