Rising Up and Rising Down: Some Thoughts on Violence, Freedom and Urgent Means

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9780060548193: Rising Up and Rising Down: Some Thoughts on Violence, Freedom and Urgent Means

Twenty-three years in the making, Rising Up and Rising Down (the original, published by McSweeney's in October 2003, spans seven volumes) is a rich amalgam of historical analysis, contemporary case studies, anecdotes, essays, theory, charts, graphs, photographs and drawings. Convinced that there is "a finite number of excuses" for violence and that some excuses "are more valid than others," Vollmann spent two decades consulting hundreds of sources, scrutinizing the thinking of philosophers, theologians, tyrants, warlords, military strategists, activists and pacifists. He also visited more than a dozen countries and war zones to witness violence firsthand -- sometimes barely escaping with his life.

Vollmann makes deft use of these tools and experiences to create his Moral Calculus, a structured decision-making system designed to help the reader decide when violence is justifiable and when it is not.

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About the Author:

William T. Vollmann is the author of seven novels, three collections of stories, and a seven-volume critique of violence, Rising Up and Rising Down. He is also the author of Poor People, a worldwide examination of poverty through the eyes of the impoverished themselves; Riding Toward Everywhere, an examination of the train-hopping hobo lifestyle; and Imperial, a panoramic look at one of the poorest areas in America. He has won the PEN Center USA West Award for Fiction, a Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize and a Whiting Writers' Award. His journalism and fiction have been published in The New Yorker, Esquire, Spin and Granta. Vollmann lives in Sacramento, California.

From Publishers Weekly:

Starred Review. This edition of Vollman's treatise on political violence, 20 or so years in the making and completed before 9/11, abridges the 3,000-plus pages of the McSweeney's edition, an NBCC Award nominee last year. As he notes in a beautifully composed introduction, Vollman assumes political violence to be a human constant and thus addresses his attention to finding out when people use violence for political ends, how they justify it and on what scales they undertake it. Following 100 or so pages of expansive definitions, a nearly 300-page section titled "Justifications" culls an enormous number of texts and commentary, from nearly all recorded eras and locales, with all manner of excuses for killing. These Vollman brilliantly distills into "The Moral Calculus," a set of questions such as "When is violent military retribution justified?"—followed by concrete answers. The book's final quarter offers "Studies in Consequences," featuring Vollman's gonzo reportage from southeast Asia, Europe, "The Muslim World" and North America (represented here primarily by Jamaica). An appendix cites the longer edition's entire table of contents. This book's rigorous, novelistic, imaginative, sonorous prose treats a fundamental topic on a grand (and horrific) scale; there is nothing else in literature quite like it.
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 229 x 152 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Twenty-three years in the making, Rising Up and Rising Down (the original, published by McSweeney s in October 2003, spans seven volumes) is a rich amalgam of historical analysis, contemporary case studies, anecdotes, essays, theory, charts, graphs, photographs and drawings. Convinced that there is a finite number of excuses for violence and that some excuses are more valid than others, Vollmann spent two decades consulting hundreds of sources, scrutinizing the thinking of philosophers, theologians, tyrants, warlords, military strategists, activists and pacifists. He also visited more than a dozen countries and war zones to witness violence firsthand -- sometimes barely escaping with his life. Vollmann makes deft use of these tools and experiences to create his Moral Calculus, a structured decision-making system designed to help the reader decide when violence is justifiable and when it is not. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780060548193

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