The book Kings, Conquerors, Psychopaths is a survey of a vast amount of human wrongdoing. It lays bare the motivations of aggressors who wish to subjugate nations or groups of people and corporate executives and government bureaucrats who make discretionary decisions that harm people. Along with cataloging mass killings by despots and soldiers, the book includes stories about Ponzi-schemers and the deaths of automobile drivers and passengers who were killed by vehicle defects known to the manufacturer. The book posits that “[p]owerful, elite forces are trying to force us backward toward a non-democratic state, one where power, wealth, and prerogative are concentrated into fewer and fewer hands.” In its criticism of the judgment of corporate executives and government bureaucrats, the book could be a tract for intellectual populists. While the power of corporations and bureaucracies can be vast and unrelenting, and as dominating as kings, the book might have made clearer distinctions between direct, intentional killers, like the “psychopaths” and conquerors, and the bureaucrats who run corporations and government agencies. The vivid stories in the book are reminders that democracy and civic action are necessary in countering wrongdoers.

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