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2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the declaration of the First World War, and with it comes a deluge of books, documentaries, feature films and radio programs. We will hear a great deal about the horror of the battlefield. Bourke acknowledges wider truths: war is unending and violence is deeply entrenched in our society. But it doesn't have to be this way. This book equips readers with an understanding of the history, culture and politics of warfare in order to interrogate and resist an increasingly violent world.
Deep Violence investigates the ways that violence and war have become internalized in contemporary human consciousness in everything from the way we speak, to the way our children play with one another, to the way that we ascribe social characteristics to our guns and other weapons. With a remarkable depth of insight, Bourke argues for a radical overhaul of our collective stance towards militarism from one that simply aims to reduce violence against people to one that would eradicate all violence. Her message is judicious and vital: knowledge about weapons and the violence they bring has simply become too important to cast aside or leave to the experts.
Joanna Bourke is Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London. She is the prize-winning author of eleven books, including histories on modern warfare, military medicine, psychology and psychiatry, the emotions, and rape. Among others, she is the author of Dismembering the Male: Men’s Bodies, Britain, and the Great War (1996), An Intimate History of Killing (1999), Fear: A Cultural History (2005) and Rape: A History from the 1860s to the Present (2007). Her book, What it Means to be Human: Reflections from 1791 to the Present was published by Virago in 2011. In addition to Wounding the World: How Military Violence and War-Play Invade our Lives (Counterpoint and Virago, November 2014), in June 2014 she publishes The Story of Pain: From Prayer to Painkillers. Her books have been translated into Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Portuguese, Czech, Turkish, and Greek. An Intimate History of Killing won the Wolfson Prize and the Fraenkel Prize. Her 40-CD audio history of Britain, entitled Eyewitness” won the Gold for the Best Audio Production for Volume 1910-1919, Gold for the Best Audio Production for Volume 1940-1949, and the Gold for the Most Original Audio for all 10 volumes. She is a frequent contributor to TV and radio shows, and a regular correspondent for newspapers.