Torture The Grand Conspiracy Malise Ruthven


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Winfield & Nicolson, 1978. First Edition. 

'Malise Ruthven's book is the first full-length historical analysis of torture in English. It traces the evolution of torture from Greek and Roman times, through its revival in the campaign against medieval dissent, its abolition in the 18th century and its re-emergence under European colonial rule and in post-revolutionary Russia. More especially, it demonstrates how the practice of torture was, and still is, almost invariably initiated by a weak regime fearful of suspected organized opposition to its rule. The author defines this reaction as the Grand Conspiracy theory. Finally, he points out that the use of torture against rebels (real or imaginary) results in the transformation of fantasy into fact--discontent becomes active dissent.'