The Book of Calamities

The Book of Calamities

Five Questions About Suffering and Its Meaning

Book - 2008
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What does it mean to suffer? What enables some people to emerge from tragedy while others are spiritually crushed by it? Why do so many Americans think of suffering as something that happens to other people -- who usually deserve it? These are some of the questions at the heart of this powerful book.

Combining reportage, personal narrative, and moral philosophy, Peter Trachtenberg tells the stories of grass-roots genocide tribunals in Rwanda and tsunami survivors in Sri Lanka, an innocent man on death row, and a family bereaved on 9/11. He examines texts from the Book of Job to the Bodhicharyavatara and the writings of Simone Weil.

The Book of Calamities is a provocative and sweeping look at one of the biggest paradoxes of the human condition -- and the surprising strength and resilience of those who are forced to confront it.
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown, 2008
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780316158794
Characteristics: 450 p. ; 22 cm


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Feb 04, 2011

The title may be off-putting, that it may contain depressing material, but this work is BRILLIANT. It asks and answers questions, uses historical/Biblical/true-life examples, and really gets into the subject matter. The only problem I had with reading it was keeping up with the different story lines of the real-life examples the author used, as he dipped in and out of their stories. It wasn't afraid to use the right word, which meant I was grabbing my dictionary now and then, but I found that to be an enjoyable and not-that-frequent event. This book really got me thinking and educated me in a way I have not been in a long time. Well worth the time involved in reading it, and not at all depressing!


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