No Mercy: True Stories of Disaster, Survival and Brutality

by Eleanor Learmonth, Jenny Tabakoff


"A fascinating post-mortem of how certain groups manage to survive while others flailed about in drunken, murderous chaos."—The Daily Telegraph

We approach the subject in the light of what can be called the Lord of the Flies principle, after the famous novel by William Golding in which a group of schoolboys is marooned on an uninhabited island after a plane crash. Lord of the Flies depicts the boys' horrifying and all-too-believable regression to a state of savagery and blood-lust.

A superb mix of psychology, history, and nail-biting storytelling, No Mercy investigates historical instances of disaster and asks, "How far would you go to survive?"

No Mercy looks at what happens to human beings when disaster strikes: how they tackle the task of survival, how they change, how they treat their companions.

No Mercy covers the infamous Robbers Cave experiment in Oklahoma in the 1950s, the wrecks of the Batavia in 1629 and the French vessel Medusa off Mauritania in 1816, the Chilean mine collapse in 2010, and many more disaster situations. The authors examine the factors that lead to failure or success and how they are explained by modern neuroscience.

Eleanor Learmonth has worked as a teacher and freelance journalist in Japan and Australia. Jenny Tabakoff is a senior journalist. Both live in Sydney, Australia, with their families.

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