Cruel Modernity (Paperback)
  • Cruel Modernity (Paperback)
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Cruel Modernity (Paperback)

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£20.99
Paperback 296 Pages / Published: 29/05/2013
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In Cruel Modernity, Jean Franco examines the conditions under which extreme cruelty became the instrument of armies, governments, rebels, and rogue groups in Latin America. She seeks to understand how extreme cruelty came to be practiced in many parts of the continent over the last eighty years and how its causes differ from the conditions that brought about the Holocaust, which is generally the atrocity against which the horror of others is measured. In Latin America, torturers and the perpetrators of atrocity were not only trained in cruelty but often provided their own rationales for engaging in it. When "draining the sea" to eliminate the support for rebel groups gave license to eliminate entire families, the rape, torture, and slaughter of women dramatized festering misogyny and long-standing racial discrimination accounted for high death tolls in Peru and Guatemala. In the drug wars, cruelty has become routine as tortured bodies serve as messages directed to rival gangs.

Franco draws on human-rights documents, memoirs, testimonials, novels, and films, as well as photographs and art works, to explore not only cruel acts but the discriminatory thinking that made them possible, their long-term effects, the precariousness of memory, and the pathos of survival.

Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822354567
Number of pages: 296
Weight: 485 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 20 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Franco, an esteemed pioneer in Latin American studies renowned for her erudition, has created a remarkable work. Copious notes accompany each chapter of this outstanding, thoroughly documented opus . . . . A superb book-in fact a classic." -- F. Colecchia * Choice *
"Transcending disciplinary genres of literary criticism or political commentary, Cruel Modernity is sophisticated yet raw, at once history, sociology, cultural analysis, and moral indictment. The result is haunting, elegant, and tough to read if one is not girded to deal with just how awful humans can be to others. . . . In the vast literature about atrocity and holocaust, Jean Franco is one of the few scholars whose prose connects the stories of victims, the artists and writers summoned to represent them, the author, and her reader. Some may find Cruel Modernity dispiriting. But there is no denying its majestic pathos." -- Jeremy Adelman * Public Books *
"Impeccably researched and provocative in tone, Cruel Modernity is a significant addition to contemporary discourses on the brutality of totalitarian states and criminal gangs. Only by better understanding what leads individuals and governments to practise extreme cruelty can we hope to deter future atrocities." -- Lucy Popescu * TLS *
"A tour de force on its own terms, thanks to its clarity of exposition, its empathy toward the victimized, and its commitment to understand unspeakable crimes." -- Jorge I. Dominguez * Journal of Interdisciplinary History *
"This is a book as lucid as it is harrowing; it remains clear in its argument even as the extensive, exacting evidence it presents boggles the mind." -- Marguerite Feitlowitz * The Americas *
"I consider this book as essential reading for all those interested in the field of human rights, especially those interested in the ways in which state terrorism remains too often unpunished. It is also fundamental to all who study Latin America, as I consider this book among the very best in Franco's multiple writings." -- Marjorie Agosin * Human Rights Quarterly *
"Although it is a challenge to read the book and to become witness, through its pages, to cruelties from which we wish to turn away, it is precisely because of this that Cruel Modernity is an important volume destined to become a classic work for both professionals and the general public." -- Roger Davis * History: Reviews of New Books *
"Jean Franco's Cruel Modernity is wide-ranging and theoretically ambitious. . . . Cruel Modernity is a stunning achievement, brilliant and unflinching. Perhaps its greatest strength is Franco's relentless pursuit of an ethical response to these acts of violence." -- Molly Geidel * American Quarterly *

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