A CHORUS OF STONES: The Private Life of War by Susan Griffin

A CHORUS OF STONES: The Private Life of War

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Griffin (Made from this Earth, 1983; Pornography and Silence, 1981, etc.) turns her thoughtful if chronically depressed gaze to the relationship between secrecy and violence, both in the world and in personal relationships. ""I cannot be certain how far back in human history the habit of denial can be traced,"" writes Griffin. ""But it is at least as old as I am."" Beginning, then, with the birth of modern warfare in this century, she proceeds to interweave tales of evil made possible by governmental lies and secrets with personal recollections of the toxic falsehoods maintained by her own and others' families. Griffin's point is that there is a profound connection between the monumental horrors of concentration camps in Germany, the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the dangerous side-effects of nuclear-arms development, and the unexpected high-tech warfare of the Gulf War--all facilitated by governmental denial and suppression of the facts--and the alcoholism, suicides, depression, and shattered psyches that litter her own and others' family lives. Whether suppression of personal unpleasantness may be a reflection of, or a cause of denial in, the larger world is a fascinating question that Griffin examines only superficially. In fact, her utter despair as she recounts our modern horror stories (""I have come to believe that our shared movement toward nuclear war is a movement toward mass suicide"") eclipses any analysis beyond the vaguely psychoanalytical, and discourages the bold and persistent investigation necessary to the truths behind the falsehoods. Somber, elliptical, and defeatist--certainly less than such a study might have been.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1992
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Doubleday