September Publications

"The communal march against an enemy generates a warm, unfamiliar bond with our neighbors, our community, our nation, wiping out unsettling undercurrents of alienation and dislocation," writes Chris Hedges, a foreign correspondent for the New York Times. In War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, Hedges draws on his experiences covering conflicts in Bosnia, El Salvador and Israel—as well as works of literature from the Iliad to Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism—to look at what makes war so intoxicating for soldiers, politicians and ordinary citizens. He discusses outbreaks of nationalism, the wartime silencing of intellectuals and artists, the ways in which even a supposedly skeptical press glorifies the battlefield and other universal features of war, arguing not for pacifism but for responsibility and humility on the part of those who wage war. (Public Affairs, $23 192p ISBN 1-58648-049-9)

In Lamentations 9/11, photographer David Finn (Children of the World) documents the dozens of New York City telephone polls, subway stations, fences and building walls where people hung posters for missing loved ones after September 11. Pleas for information, messages to family members, children's drawings and commemorative signs make up the moving montages. Finn also includes images of the World Trade Center both before and after the disaster. The photographs are complemented by a kind of prose poem by novelist E.L. Doctorow's (Ragtime), a paean to the city's dead ("We would appear on the perimeters of one another's consciousness, in one another's sightlines, on any given day, passing in the street, riding the subway, shopping for our families... we were one another's context"). There is an introduction by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. (Ruder Finn, $29.95 136p ISBN 0-964-09525-4)