This volume collects conversations originally published in The New York Times and Los Angeles Review of Books between the editors and leading intellectuals—including Oliver Stone, Gayatri Spivak, and Elaine Scarry—to explore the problem of violence in politics, culture, media, language, memory, and the environment.
If you wish to read the intellectualization of violence, Violence is a phenomenal anthology ... Each description of violence, real and metaphorical, if read alone, outside the anthology, is credible and even gratifying as a piece of literature. However, the anthology aggregates the scholarly insights and expert intuitions to forge a sum much larger than the parts. The anthology still qualifies as good literature delivering edgy delight, but it also tenders a panoramic view of American culture that perpetrates, savors, shows off, sometimes hides, and sometimes celebrates violence ... Violence is a valuable contribution to both creative literature and American sociology. Writers, critics, ethicists, and painters reveal social maladies.
[T]he new anthology Violence: Humans in Dark Times reminds readers the power of confronting political disparities, and the necessity of speaking out...poignant, if imperfect ... Violence doesn’t attempt to 'solve all violence.' Violence strives to offer critique, and in turn, to inspire understanding. The hope is that understanding—through dialogue, art, or thought—will lead to change, however subtle ... The diversity of contributors to the collection helps to give a broad-yet-specific view of violence. By taking the views of experts in their respective fields—renowned visual artists mixed with top professors, accomplished musicians, and visionary directors—the reader immerses themselves into a complex and worthy world of thought. There is dissension within the contributors’ respective chapters, and that is part of what makes the work so stimulating. But while Violence offers a carefully articulated examination of violence by analyzing the historical, global, and systemic factors of today, oftentimes the goal of the message is lost in the work’s intensely academic jargon. Its message is tailored to the educated, the woke, and the high-brow, to the detriment of those of us who prefer plain English ... However, passion roars through every chapter, and while it can be difficult to trudge through such disconcerting subject matter so consistently, there is an overall tone of reluctant but relentless hope ... This book delivers on what it promises, which is an achievement.
Notable contemporary thinkers and creators give their individual perspectives in this compelling look at violence ... A provocative volume that challenges humanity to correct its runaway course toward an increasingly violent future by learning from its violent past.