Bloodbath Nation

Grove. Jan. 2023. 160p. ISBN 9780802160454. $26. SOC SCI
Novelist Auster (“The New York Trilogy”) writes an anguished cry of bafflement at this country’s obsession for guns; it’s not a call to regulate or ban certain types of firearms. Although Auster has never owned a gun, he became a skilled marksman by the age of 10. He learned firsthand how a single act of gun violence can start a generational collapse of family when his grandmother murdered his grandfather. But his personal history goads him to ask, why does society accept approximately 40,000 deaths a year—half of them by suicide—from guns? To answer that, the author examines how these shootings grow out of the combined psyche of U.S. Americans, the cowboy mythos, endless fictional violence on television, and the politicians who use fear to distort reality. He also traces the racial history of the United States and how it’s translated into widespread violence.
VERDICT Not a comfortable read but rather a work that deals with the societal consequences of sacrificing thousands of lives. Ideal for libraries with collections on both gun control and sociology.
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