Bloodbath Nation by Paul Auster


An intimate and powerful rumination on American gunviolence by Paul Auster, one of our greatest living writers and “genuineAmerican original” (The Boston Globe), in an unforgettable collaborationwith photographer Spencer Ostrander

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Like most American boys of his generation, Paul Auster grewup playing with toy six-shooters and mimicking the gun-slinging cowboys in BWesterns. A skilled marksman by the age of ten, he also lived through thetraumatic aftermath of the murder of his grandfather by his grandmother whenhis father was a child and knows, through firsthand experience, how familiescan be wrecked by a single act of gun violence.

In this short, searing book, Auster traces centuries ofAmerica’s use and abuse of guns, from the violent displacement of the nativepopulation to the forced enslavement of millions, to the bitter divide betweenembattled gun control and anti-gun control camps that has developed over thepast 50 years and the mass shootings that dominate the news today. Since 1968,more than one and a half million Americans have been killed by guns. Thenumbers are so large, so catastrophic, so disproportionate to what goes onelsewhere, that one must ask why. Why is America so different—and why are wethe most violent country in the Western world?

Interwoven with Spencer Ostrander’s haunting photographs ofthe sites of more than thirty mass shootings in all parts of the country, BloodbathNation presents a succinct but thorough examination of America at acrossroads, and asks the central, burning question of our moment: What kind ofsociety do we want to live in?

A portion of proceeds from this book will be donated tothe Violence Policy Center, a nonprofit organization working to stop gun deathand injury through research, education, and advocacy.

Bloodbath Nation by Paul Auster