The Violence Inside Us: A Brief History of an Ongoing American Tragedy

The Violence Inside Us: A Brief History of an Ongoing American Tragedy


, 4-star, netgalley, Nonfiction, History, Politics

Is America really an ultra-violent nation? This sweeping history by Chris Murphy, U.S. senator from Connecticut, interrogates the origins of our violent impulses, the roots of our obsession with firearms, and the national mythologies that prevent us from confronting our crisis of violence.

In many ways, the United States is an economic, social, and political pacesetter. Yet American ingenuity has failed to address one of the most fundamental of all human concerns: the imperative to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe from harm. Alone in the developed world, America is bathed in violence. Our churches and schools, our movie theaters and dance clubs, our workplaces and our streetscapes no longer feel safe. Our political discourse is consumed by intimations of violence, and our foreign policy is centered on the violence that we export to the rest of the world. Violence has become, it seems, America’s most insoluble problem.

But to confront this problem, we must first understand it. The Violence Inside Us examines the deep roots of human violence itself and the propensity of people to harm themselves and each other. The result is a carefully researched, deeply emotional, and personal book that dissects America’s violence obsession through an evolutionary, historical, and economic lens. It also takes a hard look at one distinctly American feature: our love of guns.

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 historical and cultural relationship to violence is indeed unique, America is not inescapably violent. We have the power to change, he explains, while detailing the reasons why we’ve tolerated so much violence for so long. Weaving together personal narrative, captivating storytelling, and compelling history, Murphy takes on all the familiar arguments, obliterates the stale talking points, and points 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.

The Violence Inside Us is the moving and extraordinary result of Senator Murphy’s deep exploration of the roots and modern reality of American violence. It is also a work of honest self-examination that is exceptionally rare among the political class. This book is different, and it will make a difference.

Title:The Violence Inside Us: A Brief History of an Ongoing American Tragedy
Edition Language:English
Format Type:

    The Violence Inside Us: A Brief History of an Ongoing American Tragedy Reviews

  • Peter Z.

    Faulty premise. We are not obsessed with guns. We are obsessed with freedom. There is a reason that our founding fathers, after being oppressed then shot at, put the Second Amendment in place. As for ...

  • Kales

    This is an emotional read. It's well-written and well-researched but it is a rough read. It's not one that I would read before bed. It takes some serious concentration especially if you aren't familia...

  • Nancy

    Review to coIn 1764, my sixth great-grandparents were murdered and scalped by Simon Girty and a group of Native Americans whose reign of terror was waged to scare settlers out of the Shenandoah Valley...

  • Jaclyn

    This book has taught me why America is such a global outlier for higher rates of violent acts (mass shootings, grudge shootings, domestic abuse, & suicides); a romanticism of gun ownership and easy ac...

  • Tesia

    A great book for those who are also interested in American history and violence. I felt a lot of the books chapters were extremely long and could have been broken up better. I also thought a lot of in...

  • Jane Mccartney

    Though violence can be a difficult subject to discuss, we MUST. Senator Chris Murphy takes on this tough issue in a very personal yet informative nature. Violence is the "elephant in the room of our s...

  • Stephanie

    It was a great look at a very harrowing subject. It was very interesting. It made me cry with all of the stories about people killed by gun violence. I think it is a must read for everyone of voting a...

  • Thom

    This book was excellent. It is well paced, well researched, and gives a good picture into his character without it being "about" him. Chris Murphy has a great writing voice and analyzes the issue of v...

  • Alexandru Miron

    This is not just about America, we should think world wide it's a mess.Interesting book good point, we are getting violence to far.......

  • Diane Cline

    Very interesting and Educational! ...