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Crimes of Obedience - Hamilton, V. Lee; Kelman, Herbert - Yale University Press
  • Jul 25, 1990
    320 p., 6 1/8 x 9 1/4

    ISBN: 9780300048131
    Paper: $21.00 tx
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Psychology
Social Science
History
Law
Political Science

Crimes of Obedience

Toward a Social Psychology of Authority and Responsibility

  • V. Lee Hamilton and Herbert Kelman
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Nominated for the 1990 C. Wright Mills Award given by the Society of Social Problems; the C. Wright Mills Award is given annually to a work that “critically addresses an issue of contemporary public importance” in a manner that advances understanding of the topic and describes “implications for courses of action”

Winner of a 1990 award given by the American Sociological Association

Sergeant William Calley’s defense of his behavior in the My Lai massacre and the widespread public support for his argument that he was merely obeying orders from a superior and was not personally culpable led Herbert C. Kelman and V. Lee Hamilton to investigate the attitudes toward responsibility and authority that underlie "crimes of obedience"—not only in military circumstances like My Lai but as manifested in Watergate, the Iran-Contra scandal, and the Kurt Waldheim affair. Their book is an ardent plea for the right and obligation of citizens to resist illegal and immoral orders from above.

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