Synopses & Reviews
In 1982 when she was 18 Amy's father a former career army man left their family for his niece after years of physical and verbal violence and sexualizing his daughters. Amy now breaks her silence to scrutinize family violence and teach methods for dealing with it. Drawing on sociology and neuroscience as well as anecdotal evidence Amy director of Georgia State University's Women's and Gender Studies Program creates a memoir centered on her family's dysfunction evolving into a detailed study of military "hypermasculinity" which builds soldiers by stripping away humanity. This learned violence she says migrates from the adrenaline soaked battlefield to the home recreating the military cycle of control and abuse. Further it pervades our culture forming an "ego ideal for ordinary boys" (though her statement that domestic violence is three times higher in military than civilian families seems to contradict this). Equally damaging is this system's encouraging silence from women trying to remain loyal to their men and country. Not everyone will buy Amy's theories but she helps expose abuse she says is often hidden by the careful performances of both victims and abusers. (July) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
“By making the figure of the child central to the story of this book, the author charts out a dazzling path showing us how to draw lines of connection between the routine violence of a militarization and the routine if bewildering violence of the home. There is no easy way to describe how the voice of the child left me wounded even as I say how grateful I am for the author’s courage and restraint.”
—Veena Das, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology and Professor of Humanities, Johns Hopkins University
By combining personal memoir and critical analysis, Lori Amy links the violence we live in our homes to the violence that structures our larger culture. The Wars We Inherit brings insights from memory and trauma studies to the story of violence in the author’s own family.
In this brave, fascinating and compelling book, Amy concerns herself with the violence associated with the military, and how this institution of public, cultural violence, with its hypermasculinity, pervades society with physical, verbal, emotional and sexual aggression. She uses her war-veteran father to represent the chaotic and dehumanizing impact of war to show how violence is experienced and remembered.
Amy provides examples that support the relationship between military structures and domestic violence, or how the sexual violence that permeates her family prompts debates about the nature of trauma and memory. In addition, Amy employs feminist psychoanalytic theory, cultural and trauma studies, and narrative theory, to explain how torture in Abu Ghraib is on a direct continuum with the ordinary violence inherent in our current systems of gender and nation.
Placing individual experience in cultural context, Amy argues that “if we can begin, in our own lives, to transform the destructive ways that we have been shaped by violence, then we might begin to transform the cultural conditions that breed violence.”
About the Author
Lori Amy is Associate Professor in the Department of Writing and Linguistics and Director of the Women's and Gender Studies Program at Georgia Southern University.
Table of Contents
2. Frank and Sally
3.The Hole Things Fall Into
4. Forgetting and Re-membering Interlude I: On the Event without a Witness
5. Re-membering II Interlude II : On Bearing Witness
6. If I Should Die before I Wake Interlude III : On Bearing Witness to the Process of Witnessing
7. The Pasts We Repeat I: Margaret Interlude IV : The Uncanny Return
8. The Pasts We Repeat II : Jenny
9. If Our First Language Is the Silence of Complicity, How Do We Learn to Speak?
10. The Work of War Interlude V: On the Violence of Nations in the Violence of Homes
11. Toward Re-membering a Future
12. The Work of Love