A Good War is Hard to Find: The Art of Violence in America

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In the wake of Abu Ghraib, Americans have struggled to understand what happened in the notorious prison and why. In this elegant series of essays, inflected with a radical Catholic philosophy, David Griffith contends that society's shift from language to image has changed the way people think about violence and cruelty, and that a disconnect exists between images and reality. Griffith meditates on images and literature, finding potent insight into what went wrong at the prison in the works of Susan Sontag, Anthony Burgess, and especially Flannery O Connor, who often explored the gulf between proclamations of faith and the capacity for evil. Accompanying the essays are illustrated facts about torture, lists of torture methods and their long-term effects, and graphics such as the schematics of the pain pathways in the human body. Together, the images and essays endow the human being with the complexity images alone deny.