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No Mercy : True Stories of Disaster, Survival and Brutality - Eleanor Learmonth

No Mercy

True Stories of Disaster, Survival and Brutality

Paperback

Published: 24th July 2013
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Published: 24th July 2013
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Disaster strikes. A ship goes down, a plane crashes, a party of travellers is cut off.

But when the panic and confusion subside and the dead are counted, the survivors must find a way to keep surviving. And in desperation, unconstrained by law or conventional authority, the tactics they resort to can be both horrifying and ultimately self-destructive.

Learmonth and Tabakoff outline the physical and neurological changes that typically affect the victims of disaster. Then, using true stories from history as case studies, they investigate the scenario famously imagined by William Golding in Lord of the Flies and borne out by the extraordinary Robbers Cave experiments of the 1950s.

As this fascinating book unfolds the awful truth becomes clear. In extremity, humans are capable of a descent into murderous savagery so swift and complete it could—literally—take your breath away.

Read Caroline Baum's Review

There is something irresistibly compelling in the darkest stories of human behaviour, something necessary about facing the worst we are capable of, no matter how savage.

Using William Golding's classic, The Lord of the Flies, in which a utopia soon turns dystopic, this fascinating study of human nature poses the question: what happens in real life scenarios of extremes? Does humanity degenerate into social implosion as Golding would have us believe? How does the process begin and what causes survivors to abandon altruism in favour of ruthlessness?

Bringing together historical examples of terrible shipwrecks and other calamities, the authors analyse each case in the light of current psychology. Well researched and well argued, lively and energetic, No Mercy is full of insights into leadership, loyalty, sacrifice and compassion that will challenge readers to wonder what they might do if similarly tested.

About the Author

Jenny Tabakoff has been a senior journalist in Australia and Britain for The Times, the Sydney Morning Herald and AAP. She is the co-author of Australian Style.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
 
4.8

(based on 6 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

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100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Informative (6)
  • Well written (6)
  • Deserves multiple readings (5)
  • Page-turner (5)
  • Easy to read (4)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Gift (5)
    • Older readers (5)
    • Reference (5)
    • Younger readers (3)
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      • Bookworm (3)

    Reviewed by 6 customers

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    4.0

    Unbelievable but True.

    By maldra

    from North Queensland

    About Me Everyday Reader

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Deserves Multiple Readings
    • Easy To Read
    • Fascinating Disturbing
    • Informative
    • Page-Turner
    • Very Well Researched
    • Well Written

    Cons

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      • Gift
      • Older Readers
      • Reference
      • Travel Reading

      Some younger folk will find it disturbing. It makes for very interesting conversations.

      Comment on this review

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Stunning

      By Lyndall

      from Sydney

      About Me Bookworm

      Pros

      • Informative
      • Page-Turner
      • Well Written

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Gift
        • Older Readers
        • Reference
        • Younger Readers

        This book is a stunning read. I hadn't read Lord of The Flies in over 30 years but its message has always stayed with me. Reading No Mercy brought all this back and it is a very telling look at all that is wrong - and right - with humanity. I'm passing this onto my teenage children to read. Not only is it beautifully written it is also compendium of tales we should never forget.

        Comment on this review

        (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Captivating

        By Kumi

        from Sydney

        About Me Casual Reader

        Pros

        • Deserves Multiple Readings
        • Easy To Read
        • Informative
        • Page-Turner
        • Well Written

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Gift
          • Older Readers
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          • Younger Readers

          Great read! Despite the subjects, it doesn't make you feel squeamish as it is tastefully written. Each chapter is just the right length, neither too long nor too short, giving space to breathe before you move on to next. Wonderful mixture of historical events and psychological thriller!

          Comment on this review

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Real Life Lord of the Flies

          By anozi

          from sydney

          About Me Bookworm

          Pros

          • Deserves Multiple Readings
          • Easy To Read
          • Engaging characters
          • Informative
          • Page-Turner
          • Well Written

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Gift
            • Older Readers
            • Reference
            • Travel Reading
            • Younger Readers

            A great range of storylines. Perfect for reading one chapter at a time except I ended up reading in in 2 sittings. A great read unlike any other,

            Comment on this review

            (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Exceptional read

            By RE

            from Sydney, AU

            About Me Bookworm

            Pros

            • Deserves Multiple Readings
            • Informative
            • Well Written

            Cons

              Best Uses

                Beautifully written, and the most powerful non-fiction book I've read in a long while. Collating the survival stories as done so in this book offers such fantastic insight into the human condition when we're pushed to our absolute limits. I found it both enthralling and profound.

                Comment on this review

                (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Fascinating

                By Robyn

                from Sydney

                About Me Everyday Reader

                Pros

                • Deserves Multiple Readings
                • Easy To Read
                • Informative
                • Page-Turner
                • Well Written

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Gift
                  • Older Readers
                  • Reference

                  Exploration of humanity and how we react in crisis situations. History, biology and sociology analysed in real life examples of how people cope or don't cope in disasters. Easy to get into and difficult to put down.

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                  'Succinct yet considered, accessible yet authoritative, Learmonth and Tabakoff strike a happy balance between scholarliness and readability throughout...cogent presentation of some truly harrowing subject matter, which less responsible hands might have milked for vulgar sensationalism.' Bookseller and Publisher 'Well researched and well argued, lively and energetic, No Mercy is full of insights into leadership, loyalty, sacrifice and compassion that will challenge readers to wonder what they might do if similarly tested.' -- Booktopia Buzz 'Sometimes adversity brings out the best in people, at other times it does the opposite. This is about those other times...excellent reading when you're safely at home.' Weekend Herald 'A fascinating post-mortem of how certain groups manage to survive while others flailed about in drunken, murderous chaos.' Daily Telegraph 'This fascinating book shines light on an awful truth.' Get Reading 'Incredibly descriptive and well-researched' The Box '[No Mercy] vividly shows just how tenuous humanity's hold on its existence can be.' Sun-Herald/Sunday Age 'This is a compelling read...the authors write their terrible tales smoothly and convincingly.' Law Society Journal 'A fascinating account of how people die or survive under dreadful circumstances. It has been written with flair and veracity, is well-researched and documented, and it is never dull.' Viewpoint

                  ISBN: 9781922147240
                  ISBN-10: 1922147249
                  Audience: General
                  Format: Paperback
                  Language: English
                  Number Of Pages: 332
                  Published: 24th July 2013
                  Dimensions (cm): 21.0 x 15.0  x 2.2
                  Weight (kg): 0.38