Betrayals and Treason

Violations of Trust and Loyalty


Nachman Ben-yehuda

First Edition • July 1, 2001 • 416 pages


Print ISBN: 9780813397764 • $52.00 USD$62.50 CAN

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Betrayal and Treason examines betrayals as violations of both trust and loyalty. It offers a typology based on membership in or out of collectives within the contexts of secrecy/non-secrecy. The book shows that betrayals include such categories as espionage, whistle-blowing, infidelity, political turncoating, conversions, collaboration with occupying forces, informers, mutinies, defections, strike-breakers, professional, intellectual, and international betrayals, human rights violations, surveillance, assassinations, and state sponsored terror. Each one of the categories is presented with enticing, stimulating, and appropriate real-life illustrations and narratives.

The book focuses on treason, examines diverse cultures (European countries, Israel, Canada, the United States) and such periods as World War II, the conquest of Mexico, and looks at such figures as Benedict Arnold, Ezra Pound, Edward VIII, Malinche, Vindkun Quisling, Lord Haw Haw, Tokyo Rose, and a host of others. Since World War II is an excellent period through which one can examine issues of treason, and since there has been such an increased interest in World War II, this book places a particular emphasis on that period and war. Betrayal and Treason is original in its conceptual framework, and in its breadth and depth of coverage. Yet judging by the amount of books published on similar topics in the past, there can hardly be a doubt that there has always been a genuine demand and hunger for an inclusive and integrative book such as this one. By offering a new and interpretive framework for betrayals, this book can serve both scholars and lay people alike in gaining a much better understanding of such a complex and fascinating behavior as betrayal.


Nachman Ben-Yehuda is professor of sociology and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Specializing in the study of deviance, he graduated from the University of Chicago. He is the author of Deviance and Moral Boundaries, The Politics and Morality of Deviance, Political Assassinations by Jews, Moral Panics (with Erich Goode), and The Masada Myth.

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