Although the subject matter is often grim (dictators, oppression, genocide), Harris injects humor here and there. I read this book aloud to my wife, and we particularly enjoyed this passage about Nicaragua:
In 1956, [Anastasio] Somoza was fatally shot by a poet, proving that the gun is mightier than the pen. One of Somoza's sons, also named Anastasio, became the new dictator. Nicaragua clearly needed more poets.The plentiful maps (quite useful for such unfamiliar regions as Sri Lanka and Sierra Leone) strike a similar wry tone.
Incredibly, Harris manages to remain positive about humankind after all of this awfulness, concluding with an expression of hope. He points out that although war seems inevitable and never-ending, we really have evolved rapidly -- just 150 years ago, the U.S. had slavery, European nations had colonies, and women couldn't vote (by the way, those colonial days figure prominently in a lot of current conflicts).
I'd recommend Who Hates Whom to anyone who wants a general understanding of conflicts around the world. Though certainly not comprehensive (the subtitle admits that), this engaging, entertaining book is a good place to start.
Current tally: 35 books finished, 29 books acquired