Is America destined to always be a violent nation? This sweeping history by Chris Murphy, U.S. senator from Connecticut, explores the origins of our violent impulses, the roots of our obsession with firearms, and the mythologies that prevent us from confronting our national crisis.
“An excellent contribution to our understanding of human lethal aggression and how it can be reduced.”—Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined
In many ways, the United States sets the pace for other nations to follow. Yet on the most important human concern—the need to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe from physical harm—America isn’t a leader. We are disturbingly laggard. Our churches and schools, our movie theaters and dance clubs, our workplaces and neighborhoods, no longer feel safe. To confront this problem, we must first understand it. In this carefully researched and deeply emotional book, Senator Chris Murphy dissects our country’s violence-filled history and the role that our unique obsession with firearms plays in this national epidemic.
Murphy tells the story of his profound personal transformation in the wake of the mass murder at Newtown, and his subsequent immersion in the complicated web of influences that drive American violence. Murphy comes to the conclusion that while America’s relationship to violence is indeed unique, America is not inescapably violent. Even as he details the reasons we’ve tolerated so much bloodshed for so long, he explains that we have the power to change. Murphy takes on the familiar arguments, obliterates the stale talking points, and charts the way to a fresh, less polarized conversation about violence and the weapons that enable it—a conversation we urgently need in order to transform the national dialogue and save lives.