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Aftermath: Violence and the Remaking of a Self. Hardcover – January 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (January 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691016194
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691016191
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,119,031 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

With a remarkable blend of intensity and logic, Aftermath: Violence and the Remaking of a Self speaks directly to the heart of anyone involved in the recovery of life after trauma. Author Susan Brison, professor of philosophy, shares her survival of rape and attempted murder with depth and passion; you'll witness a personal struggle to survive coupled with the broader issue of coping with sudden violence as an unavoidable fact of life. This book was 10 years in the making, and Brison wisely left her earlier, angrier writings as they originally appeared, followed by calmer, more logical (yet still deeply felt) musings. The change in tone is one survivors will be familiar with.

In her search, Brison discusses public reaction to trauma, and the prescription to forget and move on that is so widely recommended. She covers rape, certainly, but also touches on many other types of violence--the acts of war, murder, and abuse that follow us in the headlines. Philosophers from Wittgenstein to Locke are referenced, up to her final comments: "Recovery no longer seems like picking up the pieces of a shattered self. It's facing the fact that there was never a coherent self there to begin with." --Jill Lightner

From Publishers Weekly

In this movingly written meditation on the effects violence has had on her life, Brison evokes the experience of trauma, both for those who seek to understand its power and for survivors who might find solace in her words. A philosophy professor at Dartmouth, Brison was taking a walk in the French countryside when she was brutally attacked, raped and left for dead. This slim volume is the result of years of recovery both the physical healing in the immediate aftermath and the emotional repairs necessary over the subsequent decade. Her training as a philosopher makes this an intellectually stimulating read, even as she successfully avoids the academic tone that could be off-putting to a wider audience. Brison's reflections on memory and forgetting and the manner in which traumatic events divide time and affect personality and relationships will resonate with anyone who has experienced great pain and suffering, as well as with the people who love and care for them. As she writes on the importance of telling the story, "control, repeatedly exercised, leads to greater control over the memories themselves, making them less intrusive and giving them the kind of meaning that enables them to be integrated into the rest of life." This is a brave and inspiring book and with its references to literature, film, psychology and philosophy, a thought-provoking one, too. (Jan.)Forecast: Brison's work goes far beyond typical memoirs of surviving dreadful circumstances. Booksellers should recommend it to anyone reeling from the events of September 11.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
AFTERMATH is the story of an incredibly strong woman's struggle after surviving a horrific attack. ANYONE who has suffered a major trauma will find something they can relate to in Susan Brison's book. I experienced the death of my son in May of 2000, which, although certainly a different type of trauma than Brison's, created so many parallels as far as personal recovery. So many of the issues were the same. Example: Some of the most difficult things to deal with after trauma are the odd, often inappropriate, and even insensitive reactions one gets from friends, family and coworkers. Another is the fear of going out in public. Still another is the way one lives in what feels like a "bubble," suffering inside but putting on a face for the sake of everyone else. It is incredibly comforting to read about these feelings from someone else, and to realize that you are NOT alone. Thank you Susan Brison. You should be confident and proud. You not only brought yourself back up, you are now helping bring others up.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I started reading this book as an assignment for my college philosophy class. Not knowing exactly what to expect I started reading tentativly. In her book, Brison immediatly attaches you to her suffering and recovery. She takes you on a philosophical voyage of self discovery and awareness. Any one who has been affected by a traumatic experience or knows someone who has should read this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Brison's book is a beautifully written and extremely thoughtful account of surviving sexual violence. It raises and explores questions that would not even occur to people unacquainted with trauma. As a result, it is immensely helpful not only for her fellow survivors but also for their supporters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Grasetta Robinson on April 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
In the book Aftermath: Violence and the Remaking of a Self, by Susan J. Brison, Brison really elucidates her thoughts. This really tells how she came to trauma and how she attempted to overcome it. She definately answered all of my questions about trauma. I've learned that it is not possible to overcome trauma, but you can try to move on with your life, while not trying to forget all about it. I believe that the best thing about this book is that it is a narrative. People, and especially me can understand things more when it is factual and comes from someone nonfictional. This book is very essential because it kept my attention. It was never a dull moment besides a few theoretical aspects of the book. Most of all I enjoyed this book because it showed Brison's strength. Not everyone can tell the horrid story of when they lost everything they respected. I envy her for that. This was an outstanding book and I am so glad that had the opportunity to read it. 4 stars to Susa J. Brison
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Susan Brison's Aftermath is a beautiful and important book. A professional philosopher, Brison was the victim of a near fatal assault. Aftermath details her attempts to recover from this experience, to put her self back together, and to make sense of it according to her philosophical training. The book seems to me unique in the way in which it combines the personal and the intellectual. Brison describes in moving detail not only her own reaction to trauma, her searching for ways to come to terms with what has happened, but also the experiences of other survivors. Hopefully few of her readers will suffer directly from such violence but almost all of us will have to grapple with some kind of acute loss in our own lives or those of the people we love. This wise and absorbing book offers no easy solutions but the best kind of companionship in such endeavours.
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