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

No Mercy

True Stories of Disaster, Survival and Brutality

By: Eleanor Learmonth, Jenny Tabakoff

Paperback | 16 December 2014

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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.
Industry Reviews
'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 *

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