In the Moment of Greatest Calamity: Terrorism, Grief, and a Victim's Quest for Justice

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Princeton University Press, 2006 - History - 296 pages
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""In the Moment of Greatest Calamity" is a profoundly moving and illuminating testament to a victim's need for understanding and justice-not vengeance or retaliation-in the wake of a devastating terrorist attack. With extraordinary wisdom and insight, Hirsch makes a compelling case that, whether the victim of terrorism is, like herself, an individual whose spouse has been killed, or, like the post-September 11th United States, a country that has been attacked, healing will not be brought about by a unilateral lashing out at a poorly understood enemy, but, rather, only by a patient, thoughtful, and judicious response that does not compromise our humanity or lose sight of our respect for life."--Susan J. Brison, author of "Aftermath: Violence and the Remaking of a Self"

"Susan Hirsch has written a marvelous book that is compelling, moving, and yet always rigorous. "In the Moment of Greatest Calamity" is a rare combination of autobiography and first-rate ethnography. Hirsch skillfully draws her readers close to her pain and yet manages to provide a new way of seeing the possibilities and problems of taking on the identity of the victim. Her book tells a powerful story of the limits of law in the face of unimaginable personal tragedy. I know of nothing quite like it."--Austin Sarat, Amherst College, author of "Mercy on Trial: What It Means to Stop an Execution"

"This is an enthralling read, even as it is an appalling tale. I found myself utterly riveted. While conveying her story in a fashion that recalls fine documentary filmmaking or investigative journalism, Hirsch never loses the voice or stance of the social scientist. She gives us a very anthropological account of the process of grief and mourning."--Lawrence Rosen, Princeton University, author of "The Culture of Islam: Changing Aspects of Contemporary Muslim Life"

"Incredibly rich, this book is many different things at the same time. It is beautiful, chilling, sad, disturbing, and intensely moving. I found it hard to put down. The text is beautifully written. Hirsch's legal analysis-indeed, the book as a whole-is insightful and original."--Susan Coutin, University of California, Irvine, author of "Legalizing Moves: Salvadoran Immigrants' Struggle for U.S. Residency"


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About the author (2006)

Susan F. Hirsch is Associate Professor at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University.

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