2023 Reading Challenge

2023 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 5 books toward her goal of 265 books.
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Book Review: Bloodbath Nation by Paul Auster

About the Book

Paul Auster was a crack marksman as a kid, and like most American boys of his generation he grew up playing with toy six-shooters and mimicking the gun-slinging cowboys in B-Westerns. But he also knows how families can be wrecked by a single act of gun violence: His grandmother shot and killed his grandfather when his father was just six years old.

Now, at this time of intense national discord, no issue divides Americans more deeply than the debate about guns. There are currently more guns than people in the United States, and every day more than one hundred Americans are killed by guns and another two hundred are wounded. These numbers are so large, so catastrophic, so disproportionate to what goes on elsewhere, that one must ask why. Why is America so different—and why are we the most violent country in the Western world?

In this short, searing book, Auster traces centuries of America’s use and abuse of guns, through the colonial prehistory of the Republic, armed conflict against the native population, the forced enslavement of millions, and the mass shootings that dominate the current news cycle. He examines the embattled gun-control and anti-gun-control camps, frames gun violence as a public health issue, and investigates the details of one horrific incident– including the perpetrator’s unchecked purchase of the gun he used and the suffering of a bystander-turned-hero.

Filled with haunting photographs by Spencer Ostrander that document the abandoned sites of more than thirty mass shootings, Bloodbath Nation is an unflinching work about guns in America that asks: What kind of society do we want to live in?

My Review

I am a long time fan of the writing of Paul Auster, and his take on gun violence and the history of guns and gun control in America was exactly as moving as I expected it to be. With a powerful clarity that blends a desire for change with a strong sense of the unfortunate reality surrounding the emotional issue of guns in the United States, Auster presents a moving, horrifying, and enlightning series of facts blended with powerful imagery from the sites of recent mass shootings. This was a fantastic thought piece.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my obligation-free review copy.

About the Author

Paul Auster is the best-selling author of Man in the Dark, The Brooklyn Follies, The Book of Illusions, The New York Trilogy, among many other works. In 2006 he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature and inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Among his other honours are the Independent Spirit Award for the screenplay of Smoke and the Prix Medicis Etranger for Leviathan. He has also been short-listed for both the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (The Book of Illusions) and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (The Music of Chance). His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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