Rethinking Violence in American Life

By Christopher B. Strain
(Vanderbilt University Press, Paperback, 9780826517425, 162pp.)

Publication Date: February 2011

Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover

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When incidents of extreme violence flare in America, all too often they are framed as isolated aberrations. Nothing could be further from the truth, as Christopher Strain argues in his new book, "Reload: Rethinking Violence in American Life." The unpleasant fact, as he reveals in this highly readable study, is that American violence is inextricably woven into the fabric of our national heritage and experience.

In "Reload," Strain traces our modern-day conception of violence from the struggle to survive on the American frontier, through evolving gender roles in recent centuries, to the hysteria surrounding video and role-playing games and the more recent disturbing phenomenon of school shootings. Strain shapes nothing less than a profound meditation on American violence and a "primer" on understanding what can often appear to be a profoundly dangerous nation.

In addition to serving as a comprehensive overview of the state of violence in America, "Reload" also suggests ways of combating the trends that lead to tragedy.

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