A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

The Marvel of Martyrdom: The Power of Self-Sacrifice in a Selfish World


The Marvel of Martyrdom is about how self-sacrifice can change lives and how martyrs can change the world.

The book starts large—with famous and influential martyrs such as Jesus and Gandhi—and ends small—with ordinary people whose own experiences of self-sacrifice give martyrdom its political power. Seeking the developmental origins of self-sacrifice, the book explores children's folklore and the success of mega-hits such as The Matrix and Harry Potter. Seeking the everyday rewards of self-sacrifice, the book shows the potential for finding meaning and happiness in helping others.

The Marvel of Martyrdom takes a broad perspective on self-sacrifice and martyrdom, bringing together religion, popular culture, history, psychology and mythology. Stories of individuals both famous (Gandhi) and obscure (Rodrigo Rosenberg) intertwine with research on altruism, happiness, and radicalization to terrorism. The changing landscape of the book's setting—from The Roman Empire to 19th century Russia to Nazi Germany to post-War II India, to present day Ukraine—makes the power of self-sacrifice and martyrdom come alive and shows their potential to change people and cultures.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Moskalenko, Sophia and Clark McCauley. 2019. The Marvel of Martyrdom: The Power of Self-Sacrifice in a Selfish World. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=lang_en&id=vQJ6DwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=%22Sophia+Moskalenko%22&ots=AwZXlCl5Nm&sig=D9c22Q8KpPgF0qExtmRfHUO-yMc#v=onepage&q=%22Sophia%20Moskalenko%22&f=false