Books by Joanna Bourke

DEEP VIOLENCE by Joanna Bourke
Released: March 17, 2015

"A thoughtful but sometimes overly academic consideration of why thousands of people are, or should be, marching in the streets."
A dense treatise on the evil that men do to one another in the name of war. Read full book review >
THE STORY OF PAIN by Joanna Bourke
Released: Sept. 1, 2014

"Bourke has done a fine job of detailing the story of pain and the folly it reveals. Sadly, the folly has not gone away."
A scholarly treatise on how pain and those who suffer from it have been regarded over the past three centuries in the Western world. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 13, 2011

"Historians and philosophers may be engaged, but this is much too weighty for casual readers."
A scholarly look at more than two centuries of varying interpretations of what it means to be human. Read full book review >
RAPE by Joanna Bourke
Released: Nov. 1, 2007

"Provocative and challenging."
Dense, scholarly examination of the nature of rape as it has been experienced and perceived in the United States, Great Britain and Australia from the mid 19th century to the present. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1999

Bourke, a Professor of History at Birbeck College, offers an overwrought and overanalyzed look at the supposed attempt to separate killing from warfare in the 20th century. In such chapters as ‘The Pleasures of War," "The Warrior Myth," "War Crimes," and "Return to Civilian Life," Bourke attempts to offer a unique analysis of the manner in which killing manifests itself in WWI, WWII, and Vietnam. Though she states that "this book attempts to put the killing back in military history," this statement will strike any reader of military history as absurd—the excellent social histories of Lyn McDonald, Stephen Ambrose's accounts of WWII, or any of the memoirs of Viet Nam are rife with killing, killing to a point that is impossible for a focused reader to ignore—and Bourke's very reliance on published sources serves as strong evidence that this killing is written into the accounts history has passed on to us. While Bourke's writing is generally clear, and she does cover several interesting personal accounts of the war, many of which will be known to readers in the subject area (such as aviator Richard Hillary's adventures in WWII), the ponderous nature of her arguments makes the book almost as unlikely a beach read as a training manual. By far the most fascinating element of the study is her discussion of the manner in which wartime atrocities bred further atrocities, such as the account of American tank commander John Long, who helped liberate a German concentration camp, then felt ever afterwards that all Germans were monsters. A gut-wrenching, encyclopedic account of the obvious. (Photos, not seen) Read full book review >