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    Original Essays | September 21, 2015

    Annie Jacobsen: IMG Mirrors on the Moon: A Reporter's Story about Sources and Secrets in the Modern World

    As a national security reporter, I write about war, weapons, security, and secrets. The question most commonly asked of me is, "How do you get... Continue »
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Thinking in an Emergency (Amnesty International Global Ethics)


Thinking in an Emergency (Amnesty International Global Ethics) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

For sixty years, modern democratic governments have undermined democracy and increased executive power by invoking the idea of emergency. They have bypassed constitutional provisions concerning presidential succession, the declaration of war, the use of torture, civilian surveillance, and the arrangements for nuclear weapons. In the desire for swift national action, we citizens devalue thinking and ignore ways to check government power, plunging our countries into a precarious state between monarchy and democracy. Drawing on the work of philosophers, neuroscientists, and artists, Elaine Scarry proves decisively that thinking and rapid action are compatible. Practices that we dismiss as mere habit and protocol instead represent rigorous, effective modes of thought that we must champion in times of crisis. Scarry's bold claim on behalf of fundamental democratic principles will enliven and enrich the ongoing debate about leadership.

Book News Annotation:

Scarry, a social theorist and professor of aesthetics at Harvard University, draws on the work of philosophers, scientists, and artists in this examination of the claims of 'emergency' that governments use to undermine democracy and increase executive power to engage in acts such as torture and declaring war unconstitutionally. Looking at cases in the US and other countries, she argues that clear thinking and rapid action don't have to be in opposition, and shows how ordinary citizens can reclaim the power to protect our democratic principles. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (


Author of the landmark study , Elaine Scarry offers a stunning and original analysis of the "claim of emergency."

About the Author

Elaine Scarry is the Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value at Harvard University. She is the winner of the 2000 Truman Capote Award and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Product Details

Scarry, Elaine
W. W. Norton & Company
History & Theory - General
History & Theory
Politics - General
Norton Global Ethics Series
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.25 x 5.5 x 1 in

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History and Social Science » Politics » Covert Government and Conspiracy Theory
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » Human Rights
History and Social Science » Politics » Political Science
History and Social Science » World History » General
Science and Mathematics » Physics » General

Thinking in an Emergency (Amnesty International Global Ethics) New Hardcover
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Product details 176 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393078985 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Author of the landmark study , Elaine Scarry offers a stunning and original analysis of the "claim of emergency."
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