Many people don’t pay much attention to the preface of a book. I think they presume that if the authors have something important to say, it will feature in the body of the text. Often the preface addresses rather perfunctory matters, such as acknowledging research assistants and copy editors. But a reader who skips the preface to the recent report titled Preventing Genocide: A Blueprint for U.S. Policymakers (the Albright- Cohen Report), the work of the Genocide Prevention Task Force, will miss something important, indeed primordial. Tucked away toward the end of the front matter, under the general heading ‘‘Defining the Challenge,’’ is a three-paragraph section titled ‘‘Avoiding Definitional Traps.’’ It refers to the definitional challenge of invoking the word genocide, which has unmatched rhetorical power. The dilemma is how to harness the power of the word to motivate and mobilize while not allowing debates about its definition or application to constrain or distract policymakers from addressing the core problems it describes.1
Schabas, William A.
"“Definitional Traps” and Misleading Titles,"
Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal:
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/gsp/vol4/iss2/8