100 books like Frames of War

By Judith Butler,

Here are 100 books that Frames of War fans have personally recommended if you like Frames of War. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Aspects of Violence: A Critical Theory

Andrew Hiscock Author Of Shakespeare, Violence and Early Modern Europe

From my list on thinking about how violence can shape our lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Professor of Early Modern Literature at Bangor University, Wales UK and Research Fellow at the Institut de Recherche sur la Renaissance, l'Âge Classique et les Lumières, Université Paul-Valéry, Montpellier 3, France. I am someone who has been interested throughout his career in all aspects of what used to be called the European Renaissance and especially in establishing a dialogue between cultural debates raging four hundred years ago and those which dominate our own everyday lives in the twenty-first century. In the past, my work has addressed ideas, for example, concerned with social theory, the construction of cultural space, and the significance of memory.

Andrew's book list on thinking about how violence can shape our lives

Andrew Hiscock Why did Andrew love this book?

This is an immensely readable book and a wonderful introduction to the very different ways in which violence might be interpreted from a dizzying range of perspectives.

Schinkel urges us to reflect on our appetites for violence in our reading matter, our cinema and theatre-going, and our hunger for news. He also poses thorny questions about the ‘productive’ potential of violent action.

By W. Schinkel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Aspects of Violence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book provides a novel approach to the social scientific study of violence. It argues for an 'extended' definition of violence in order to avoid subscribing to commonsensical or state propagated definitions of violence, and pays specific attention to 'autotelic violence' (violence for the sake of itself), as well as to terrorism.


Book cover of Conflict And The Web of Group-Affiliations

Andrew Hiscock Author Of Shakespeare, Violence and Early Modern Europe

From my list on thinking about how violence can shape our lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Professor of Early Modern Literature at Bangor University, Wales UK and Research Fellow at the Institut de Recherche sur la Renaissance, l'Âge Classique et les Lumières, Université Paul-Valéry, Montpellier 3, France. I am someone who has been interested throughout his career in all aspects of what used to be called the European Renaissance and especially in establishing a dialogue between cultural debates raging four hundred years ago and those which dominate our own everyday lives in the twenty-first century. In the past, my work has addressed ideas, for example, concerned with social theory, the construction of cultural space, and the significance of memory.

Andrew's book list on thinking about how violence can shape our lives

Andrew Hiscock Why did Andrew love this book?

This is now a well-recognised and established intervention in the ongoing debate about the status and function of violence of life in society.

Simmel makes particularly telling points in his discussion of the ways in which group identities may be forged and maintained through violent action and the costs that may be incurred by resisting such social practices.

By George Simmel, Kurt H. Wolff (translator), Reinhard Bendix (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Conflict And The Web of Group-Affiliations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two major essays on the dynamics of social organization by the great German philosopher and social theorist Georg Simmel.


Book cover of Sweet Violence: The Idea of the Tragic

Andrew Hiscock Author Of Shakespeare, Violence and Early Modern Europe

From my list on thinking about how violence can shape our lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Professor of Early Modern Literature at Bangor University, Wales UK and Research Fellow at the Institut de Recherche sur la Renaissance, l'Âge Classique et les Lumières, Université Paul-Valéry, Montpellier 3, France. I am someone who has been interested throughout his career in all aspects of what used to be called the European Renaissance and especially in establishing a dialogue between cultural debates raging four hundred years ago and those which dominate our own everyday lives in the twenty-first century. In the past, my work has addressed ideas, for example, concerned with social theory, the construction of cultural space, and the significance of memory.

Andrew's book list on thinking about how violence can shape our lives

Andrew Hiscock Why did Andrew love this book?

This book engages with questions of violence, suffering, and cultural value both in terms of literature and critical debate.

Eagleton asks us to consider how society may invest in and elsewhere venerate certain kinds of experience (e.g., inflicting pain, victimisation, witnessing destruction), which initially we may expect to be demonised.

By Terry Eagleton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sweet Violence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Terry Eagleton's Tragedy provides a major critical and analytical account of the concept of 'tragedy' from its origins in the Ancient world right down to the twenty-first century.

A major new intellectual endeavour from one of the world's finest, and most controversial, cultural theorists.
Provides an analytical account of the concept of 'tragedy' from its origins in the ancient world to the present day.
Explores the idea of the 'tragic' across all genres of writing, as well as in philosophy, politics, religion and psychology, and throughout western culture.
Considers the psychological, religious and socio-political implications and consequences of our fascination…


Book cover of Violence: Six Sideways Reflections

Andrew Hiscock Author Of Shakespeare, Violence and Early Modern Europe

From my list on thinking about how violence can shape our lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Professor of Early Modern Literature at Bangor University, Wales UK and Research Fellow at the Institut de Recherche sur la Renaissance, l'Âge Classique et les Lumières, Université Paul-Valéry, Montpellier 3, France. I am someone who has been interested throughout his career in all aspects of what used to be called the European Renaissance and especially in establishing a dialogue between cultural debates raging four hundred years ago and those which dominate our own everyday lives in the twenty-first century. In the past, my work has addressed ideas, for example, concerned with social theory, the construction of cultural space, and the significance of memory.

Andrew's book list on thinking about how violence can shape our lives

Andrew Hiscock Why did Andrew love this book?

This book is a meditation on the ways in which violence has come to shape everyday life in the modern age, from the international political stage to scenes of our own daily routines.

Particularly poignant and thought-provoking are Žižek’s considerations of how inactivity, passivity, and reluctance to engage may ultimately be the most violent courses of action to adopt.

By Slavoj Zizek,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Violence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Violence in War and Peace: An Anthology

T.M. Lemos Author Of Violence and Personhood in Ancient Israel and Comparative Contexts

From my list on the comparative history of violence.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a biblical scholar who has become a historian of violence because I could no longer ignore the realities of the present or my own past. I write of violence for my childhood self, who was bullied for a decade and used to run away from school.  I write of it for my grandfather, who was born of exploitation.  I write of it for my African-American wife and daughter, in the hopes that I might contribute to the elimination of hierarchies that threaten their dignity and sometimes their lives.  Doing this work is not just intellectual for me—it is a memorialization and a ritual of healing. 

T.M.'s book list on the comparative history of violence

T.M. Lemos Why did T.M. love this book?

The editors of this volume are two of the most important and influential medical anthropologists in the world and major scholars of violence. In addition to collecting a set of useful texts on violence, the introduction to the volume is a piece of writing that I have returned to many times.

By Nancy Scheper-Hughes (editor), Philippe I. Bourgois (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Violence in War and Peace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From Hannah Arendt's 'banality of evil' to Joseph Conrad's 'fascination of the abomination', humankind has struggled to make sense of human-upon-human violence. Edited by two of anthropology's most passionate voices on this subject, "Violence in War and Peace: An Anthology" is the only book of its kind available: a single volume exploration of social, literary, and philosophical theories of violence. It brings together a sweeping collection of readings, drawn from a remarkable range of sources, that look at various conceptions and modes of violence.The book juxtaposes the routine violence of everyday life against the sudden outcropping of extraordinary violence such…


Book cover of The Commander's Dilemma: Violence and Restraint in Wartime

Leigh Binford Author Of From Popular to Insurgent Intellectuals: Peasant Catechists in the Salvadoran Revolution

From my list on violence and restraint in wartime.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an anthropologist, trained in political economy, who began doing fieldwork in southern Mexico in the early 1980s. While there, Salvadoran and Guatemalan refugees were flowing into the area from Chiapas. I visited El Salvador in 1986 and in 1991 made several trips to an FMLN-controlled area. After the war ended I made nine field trips to northern Morazán, the last in 2012. My interests in catechists and liberation theology developed early on as I sought to reconstruct the region’s pre-war history. I wrote one book on the El Mozote massacre and am currently working on a third book on the area.

Leigh's book list on violence and restraint in wartime

Leigh Binford Why did Leigh love this book?

Green investigates The Commander’s Dilemma in the Salvadoran Revolution through a combination of questionnaires with ex-combatants from the FMLN and government forces, interviews, documents, and secondary resources. She argues that all military commanders everywhere confront the dilemma of ensuring that troops are skilled in meting out violence but that they reign in their violent tendencies so as to respect the human rights of civilians and adversaries that have been wounded and captured. The rebel FMLN educated its troops far more than the government military and according to the United Nations and other organizations committed but a small percentage of the wartime human rights violations.

By Amelia Hoover Green,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Commander's Dilemma as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why do some military and rebel groups commit many types of violence, creating an impression of senseless chaos, whereas others carefully control violence against civilians? A classic catch-22 faces the leaders of armed groups and provides the title for Amelia Hoover Green's book. Leaders need large groups of people willing to kill and maim-but to do so only under strict control. How can commanders control violence when fighters who are not under direct supervision experience extraordinary stress, fear, and anger? The Commander's Dilemma argues that discipline is not enough in wartime. Restraint occurs when fighters know why they are fighting…


Book cover of Force and Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence

Frank J. Cirillo Author Of The Abolitionist Civil War: Immediatists and the Struggle to Transform the Union

From my list on the long and difficult fight against slavery in America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent many a night growing up glued to the television, watching Ken Burns’ Civil War. But as I got older, I found my interests stretching beyond the battles and melancholic music on the screen. I decided to become a historian of abolitionism–the radical reform movement that fought to end the evils of slavery and racial prejudice. Through my research, I seek to explain the substantial influence of the abolitionist movement as well as its significant limitations. I received my Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 2017, and have since held positions at such institutions as The New School, the University of Bonn, and the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Frank's book list on the long and difficult fight against slavery in America

Frank J. Cirillo Why did Frank love this book?

This book demonstrates a point that I always try to make to students: the antislavery movement was much more than mass meetings and heroic escapes along the Underground Railroad.

It was far more complex–and, at times, far more violent. Many Black activists in the years before the Civil War turned to the tactics of violence to try and shake a complacent nation into action. They did so in desperation, and only with much anguish–and much controversy.

Jackson's book gets deep into the weeds of how the struggle for antislavery progress actually worked. 

By Kellie Carter Jackson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Force and Freedom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From its origins in the 1750s, the white-led American abolitionist movement adhered to principles of "moral suasion" and nonviolent resistance as both religious tenet and political strategy. But by the 1850s, the population of enslaved Americans had increased exponentially, and such legislative efforts as the Fugitive Slave Act and the Supreme Court's 1857 ruling in the Dred Scott case effectively voided any rights black Americans held as enslaved or free people. As conditions deteriorated for African Americans, black abolitionist leaders embraced violence as the only means of shocking Northerners out of their apathy and instigating an antislavery war.
In Force…


Book cover of Wicked Lexington, Kentucky

Keven McQueen Author Of Kentucky Book of the Dead

From my list on Kentucky weirdness.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a lifelong Kentuckian with a lifelong fascination for history, true crime, biography, and the supernatural, once I started writing, I pursued these and related topics. The writer Charles Fort’s research methods interested me: he read old newspapers looking for forgotten stories. That seemed a good way to find little-known information. I am a lecturer in the English Department at Eastern Kentucky University and have spent two decades reading old newspapers issue by issue between classes and taking notes on possible stories. The books on my list also include much detail on entertaining obscurities, and I hope you enjoy them. 

Keven's book list on Kentucky weirdness

Keven McQueen Why did Keven love this book?

Of the many strange stories from Kentucky, this book concentrates on ones from Lexington/Fayette County with a witty writing style that strikes a balance of history and humor.

Young-Brown covers several remarkable duels, frontier violence, racism, and the notorious prostitute Belle Brezing. One of the most remarkable stories concerns Col. William Breckinridge, a congressman who delivered lectures to young women on the importance of chastity yet was involved in a sex scandal that destroyed his career.

Historical true crime is well-represented by the story of golf pro Marion Miley, whose 1941 murder could be the topic for a book of its own.

By Fiona Young-Brown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wicked Lexington, Kentucky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Filled with tales of infamous duels, cheating congressmen, and much more, Wicked Lexington, Kentucky offers the first collection the city's rowdy and ruckus history .


Despite its illustrious beginnings as the "Athens of the west," Lexington has always had a darker side lurking just beneath its glossy sheen. It didn't take long for the first intellectual hub west of the Alleghenies to quickly morph into a city with the same scandalous inclinations as neighboring Louisville and Cincinnati. From Belle Brezing's infamous brothel of the late 1800s, frequented by some of the city's most prominent businessmen, and once pardoned by the…


Book cover of Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 1890-1940

David Livingstone Smith Author Of On Inhumanity: Dehumanization and How to Resist It

From my list on inhumanity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been studying dehumanization, and its relationship to racism, genocide, slavery, and other atrocities, for more than a decade. I am the author of three books on dehumanization, one of which was awarded the 2012 Anisfield-Wolf award for non-fiction, an award that is reserved for books that make an outstanding contribution to understanding racism and human diversity. My work on dehumanization is widely covered in the national and international media, and I often give presentations at academic and non-academic venues, including one at the 2012 G20 economic summit where I spoke on dehumanization and mass violence.

David's book list on inhumanity

David Livingstone Smith Why did David love this book?

Most people’s idea of lynching is the sanitized version that they have picked up from movies and TV. However, the practice of lynching, as it was carried out in the United States from the late 19th to well into the 20th century, was far more hideous than a few people hanging a man from a tree. This classic contribution concentrates on spectacle lynchings. These were public lynchings attended by hundreds or even thousands of spectators. They involved hours of torture and bodily mutilation, often culminating in the victim being burned alive. Lynching and Spectacle is a vital read for anyone wishing to understand the full horror of American Racism.

By Amy Louise Wood,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lynching and Spectacle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This title presents public reinforcement of white supremacy. Lynch mobs in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America often exacted horrifying public torture and mutilation on their victims. In ""Lynching and Spectacle"", Amy Wood explains what it meant for white Americans to perform and witness these sadistic spectacles and what they derived from them. Lynching, Wood argues, overlapped with a wide range of cultural practices and performances, both traditional and modern, including public executions, religious rituals, photography, and cinema. The connections between lynching and these practices encouraged the horrific violence committed and gave it social acceptability.Wood expounds on the critical role…


Book cover of On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society

Ryan Smithson Author Of Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-Year-Old GI

From my list on turning PTSD into post-traumatic growth.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an equipment operator for the Army Corps of Engineers, I didn’t serve in a “combat” role, per se, but the engineers go wherever the military needs things built, so we were often repairing IED damage, hauling supplies outside the wire, or fortifying bases so the infantry, cavalry, etc. could do their job effectively. Coming home, I owe a lot of my successful reintegration to my writing and the many people who encouraged me to share it with the world. Now with my Master of Arts in English, I’ve taught college courses on military culture, and I present for veteran art groups, writing workshops, and high schools and colleges around the country.

Ryan's book list on turning PTSD into post-traumatic growth

Ryan Smithson Why did Ryan love this book?

Grossman is a former Army Ranger who digs deep into the psychological impact of taking human life through countless interviews with fellow soldiers of all kinds. Combining these accounts with thorough psychological research, Grossman comments on society's collective aversion to killing while helping us understand its complicated acceptance—and even encouragement—of wartime killing. What was most surprising to me was that historically, only about 4% of soldiers even fire their weapon during war, and how obviously that skews from the “norm” of combat portrayed in popular media. It’s an honest, eye-opening, and important piece of work that should be required reading for every service member, police officer, or anyone tasked with carrying society’s heaviest burden.

By Lt. Col. Dave Grossman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked On Killing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The good news is that the vast majority of soldiers are loath to kill in battle. Unfortunately, modern armies, using Pavlovian and operant conditioning have developed sophisticated ways of overcoming this instinctive aversion. The psychological cost for soldiers, as witnessed by the increase in post-traumatic stress, is devastating. The psychological cost for the rest of us is even more so: contemporary civilian society, particularly the media, replicates the army's conditioning techniques and, according to Lt. Col. Dave Grossman's thesis, is responsible for our rising rate of murder among the young. Upon its first publication, ON KILLING was hailed as a…


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