William T. Vollmann
- Title: Rising Up and Rising Down
- Author: William T. Vollmann
- ISBN: 9781932416022
- Page: 437
- Format: Hardcover
A labor of seventeen years, Vollmann s first book of nonfiction since 1992 s An Afghanistan Picture Show is a gravely urgent invitation to look back at the world s long, bloody path and find some threads of meaning, wisdom, and guidance to plot a moral course From the street violence of prostitutes and junkies to the centuries long battles between the Native Americans andA labor of seventeen years, Vollmann s first book of nonfiction since 1992 s An Afghanistan Picture Show is a gravely urgent invitation to look back at the world s long, bloody path and find some threads of meaning, wisdom, and guidance to plot a moral course From the street violence of prostitutes and junkies to the centuries long battles between the Native Americans and European colonists,Vollmann s mesmerizing imagery and compelling logic is presented with authority born of astounding research and personal experience.
Recent Comments "Rising Up and Rising Down"
"My own aim in this book was to create a simple and practical moral calculus which would make it clear when it was acceptable to kill, how many could be killed and so forth -- coldblooded enough, you will say, but life cannot evade death." -- William Vollmann, Rising Up and Rising Down, p291I feel a bit crazy by taking on this endeavor, but having recently finished a couple of Vollmann's longer novels (Europe Central and The Dying Grass: A Novel of the Nez Perce War), I was seduced by his mind a [...]
(Right-click, Open image in a new tab)"It makes no difference what men think of war, said the judge. War endures. As well ask men what they think of stone. War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner. That is the way it was and will be."-Judge HoldenRising Up and Rising Down is a monolith. Comprising some three thousand pages of dense philosophy, history, journalism and thought, compiled over some twenty years of wandering the du [...]
Rising Up and Rising Down is correctly compared to Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. At least so today ; in one hundred years, who can say. Both are massive, multi-volume works which intimidate in their physical presences. Both have a very short, simple question in mind to address :: When is violence justified? ; Why did the Roman Empire fall? Neither question is easy to answer. Both works are intensely erudite ; both authors very much attending to the manner in which the words go [...]
A Lot of Kisses“I know he’s probably a genius and everything, but Bill’s just such a sweetheart. He puts so much of his desire for goodness into his books. So in a way, it’s as if each letter of every word he writes is like a little kiss. I guess that’s a lot of letters in this particular book. He’s a very generous man.”Carla Bolte, Vollmann’s designer at Vikingmcsweeneys/articles/anTales of Morality and Imagined Nations It's common knowledge that Bill Vollmann has long been attr [...]
Volume 1: Meditations Introduction Definitions (Apr 21 - Apr 24, 2013)Is there a moral calculus, a true-meaning social calculation, that one might use as a standard for committing violence? Is it possible to sift through the assholes and ash-heaps of history, all that bloodshed and grief, to find the building blocks of the demons of our worser natures? Whether a reader believes he is successful or not, William Vollmann has made that 17 year investment into hell to attempt to understand, even the [...]
“AS WE GO UP WE GO DOWN”This will be long.EXPOSITIONRising Up and Rising Down had sat on my Vollmann shelf—four-plus feet in length and out of room—for six months, a gap of black grinning sickeningly at me like missing teeth in a bully’s smile. ‘You’re not up to this,’ it taunted. And indeed I wasn’t—I had made that fatal error of relegating it to aesthetic rather than artistic value. Only now, 3298-pages later, do I realize what a disservice—no, a dishonor—I did it by pu [...]
Let me just start by saying that if I were somehow given the authority to make a list of books that people "had" to read, Rising Up and Rising Down would be on that list. Now, I imagine the majority of people would be angry at me for assigning such an oversized*, overwrought book, but I swear it's worth it. Of course that promise doesn't tell you much, so I'm going to do what I never normally do and summarize a bit.Rising Up and Rising Down is really a lot more specific than its subtitle would l [...]
This book is very long. It has many pages stuffed between its covers. Not only that, but almost all of those pages are brimming with words. Much like War and Peace and 2666 it is lengthy and also has a spinal width that shirks all sensible notions of modesty. It is a tome nearly identical to Infinite Jest, another thick book shamelessly filled with many words and pages. David Foster Whaaaaat?? This tome is also extremely tome-like and highly reminiscent of the Pulitzer Prize defying book Gravity [...]
Note: This review was written about 7 years ago on another website. I'm just copying and pasting it here so that it can live with my more 'modern' reviews'. The 'reviews' on this website were supposed to be 'consumer friendly' and help people make educated decisions about buying products, maybe that explains some of the awkwardness here. The voting system on that site also forced me to stay more on topic than I grown used to writing here on .A couple of years ago William Vollmann released this b [...]
“Death cannot be experienced either by the dead or the living.”-William T. Vollmann, Rising Up and Rising Down: Some Thoughts on Violence, Freedom and Urgent MeansWilliam T. Vollmann reflected on death as he walked through the Paris catacombs of bones and skulls of those who used to be of soft flesh, smiles and tears. Some of the skulls came from those who died of natural death such as from ailments and aging, and some from accidents. Others died of violence, the self-violence of suicide and [...]
I own this shit, signed. I give it five stars just for its existence. Not like I've read it yet. One day when I settle into my upstate rocking chair, my velvet smoking jacket, when I cultivate a taste for brandy, hunting dogs, rifles, prostitutes, genocide, the north pole . . .
"When is violence justified?" Rising Up and Rising Down is almost inexplicable, as I found out when I repeatedly failed to paraphrase it for others (maybe that's a self-reflection), but this question, which appears on the frontispiece and throughout, cuts to the core of Vollmann's project. It almost makes it sound like some sort of revolutionary manual, the kind of thing that ends up on a ban list; in fact it's a conscientious and expansive attempt to reconcile moral ideals with the violent real [...]
Never thought I'd say it, but after reading the 700 pages of the abridgment, I think this book very well may merit the 3,300 page unabridged edition. Some of the editing choices on the part of Ecco to bring this book down to a more accessible length have (I think, having not read the text in question outside of this abridgment) seriously chipped away at the process of discourse/documentation that is being got at by Vollmann here. I can only wait until I am can get my hands on the full text to re [...]
For interested readers without access to the unabridged, six volume Rising Up and Rising Down who are not satisfied with the abridgment (“I did it for the money”), there are a few more items which can be cobbled together for a more complete picture of the RURD project.For the first four volumes, those which develop the Moral Calculus through an ethical questioning of a large variety of Moral Actors, we’ll have to settle for the selections in the RURD abridgment ; that material is not heavi [...]
This is amongst my favorite Vollmann, hands down. I seriously can't wait to get my hands on, by some hook, crook, or lottery ticket, the unabridged McSweeney's (sic?) edition. This was the quickest I zipped through a Vollmann work since, about four years ago, devouring The Atlas. I recommend this one to the human race; if you feel like you're like a part of it, make a note-to-self and tape it to the fridge. Get drunk one night and order a copy online or put it on hold at the library. Sadly, it w [...]
This book is kind of about power more than violence per se, but I guess power is nothing more than the ability to inflict violence on others (as I think some skinhead said in one of WV’s other books, maybe 13 Stories and 13 Epitaphs).In his other nonfiction work, Vollmann has displayed an endless capacity for talking to people who have no idea what’s going on (cf. Poor People, Riding Toward Everywhere, and to a lesser extent Atlas). Poor People was the extreme example of this, and Vollmann a [...]
I have been threatening to read William Vollmann’s “Rising Up and Rising Down,” for the past eight months or so, but had little free time for recreational reading (if reading a dense tome about violence can possibly be characterized as recreational). But over my long Christmas vacation, I have given over a fair chunk of time to getting through some of the 705 pages of the abridged version (culled from a seven volume edition published by McSweeneys). And while there are a few sections of th [...]
Voluble Vollmann wrote seven volumes about violence and then condensed them in this 700-page book. The first half is about theories of violence; the second is full of 'case studies' from Vollman traveling through violent areas.The first half is dry. It's a good alternative to Steve Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature, another too-long book, but one that cheerily asserts violence is decreasing by downplaying colonialism, Hitler, violence against women, and violence against other species. Vol [...]
The whole is greater than its constituent parts, but even those a rather commendable. The annotations I wrote will eventually be electronically transcribed and accompanied by a review. Whilst it might've been preferable to read it without interruptions, certain investigations were prompted by parallels.
Need to find a personal copy of this to have time to read; didnt like rushing through what I did read since it was loaned from the library.
Vollman strips back the calculus of self-defense and the practice of war. With historical examples and explicit logical diagrams, he tries to demonstrate the causes, effects and justifications of violence in society. What he sees isn't pretty, and neither is the behavior of mass violence.
His writing style was so annoying that I couldn't read more than 3 or 4 pages of it. 3 similies in about a page is way too much.
The take away from this book is, first this is a violent world and life is cheap. For sure all this book is "some thoughts". It is not systematic or very thoughtful. Vollmann travels to violent places Kingston, Jamaica and Afghanistan portraying the violence of the areas by interviewing people. Vollmann wrote a seven volume version of this book, I can't imagine reading the whole thing.
In a straight and deep dive into humanity's justifications for violence, Volmann covers everything from Abel's murder of Cain to the breakup of Yugoslavia. A life of violent encounters is distilled into this work, including voices from his war correspondence work in Afghanistan and Bosnia, stories of turning the other cheek when beat up by school bullies, and mulling over euthanasia when his wife is diagnosed with terminal cancer.Volmann is a brilliant student of history and a keen observer of w [...]
this is the abridged version of a massive 4000 plus page series of books. its an analysis of violence and uses hundreds of examples of violence committed through time to try to uinderstand when it is justifiable and when it clearly isnt. there is a very interesting chapter on the Bosnian war and the siege fo Sarajevo which was very interesting to read. there is a huges section of the invasion of south americ aby the spanish and some of the atrocities that were committed there. too many examples [...]
Imagine that one of the French Encyclopedists had been reborn 50 years agod that he has a wierd gun fetish and is so nerdy, in that creepy might-be-a-serial-killer kind of way, that he resorts to hiring prostitutes just for companionship. This is the book that guy would write.
I have another soft spot in my heart for Vollmann, so I bought the 7 volume set of Rising Up and Rising Down. Best purchase of my life
Let me start by being clear that my review is based entirely and is directed solely at the abridged version of RURD. As such I’ve bounced between 2 and 5 stars. Vollman’s writing is for me fantastic and his approach to thinking about violence and its justification is mind expanding in way few things I’ve ever read. (Most specifically by virtue of his discussion of specific conflicts through his conversations with fairly ordinary people stuck in those conflicts. ). On the other hand, I thin [...]
only the stars since it's the abridged version and I don't know when I'd ever get my hands on all seven volumes.
Il punto però non è capire se Stalin avesse o meno ragione. Stabiliamo che avesse torto marcio. Ora resta da capire, ed è qui la strada si fa in salita (forse insuperabile), com'è possibile che per vent'anni e oltre tutti ritenessero, per amore o per forza, che Stalin, un uomo solo contro un paese di centinaia di milioni di individui, non potesse che avere ragione.Il punto non è capire se Hitler fosse o meno malvagio, se fosse uno statista ragionevole condannato da un destino avverso o un f [...]
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