Regarding the Pain of Others

Front Cover
Macmillan, 2003 - Social Science - 131 pages
120 Reviews
Twenty-five years after her classic On Photography, Susan Sontag returns to the subject of visual representations of war and violence in our culture today.

How does the spectacle of the sufferings of others (via television or newsprint) affect us? Are viewers inured--or incited--to violence by the depiction of cruelty? In Regarding the Pain of Others, Susan Sontag takes a fresh look at the representation of atrocity--from Goya's The Disasters of War to photographs of the American Civil War, lynchings of blacks in the South, and the Nazi death camps, to contemporary horrific images of Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Israel and Palestine, and New York City on September 11, 2001.

In Regarding the Pain of Others Susan Sontag once again changes the way we think about the uses and meanings of images in our world, and offers an important reflection about how war itself is waged (and understood) in our time.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

I liked this much better than On Photography. - Goodreads
Pompous but some good insights, and mercifully brief. - Goodreads
I still think photography abstracts... - Goodreads

Review: Regarding the Pain of Others

User Review  - Margaret Robbins - Goodreads

To me, this book has been very foundational. If you're into critical visual theory, visual media, or photography, I'd definitely recommend it. Read full review

Review: Regarding the Pain of Others

User Review  - Karolin - Goodreads

A big part of the book is concerned with the historical development of war photography and photo journalism, which I also found very interesting to read; however, I would have wished for a greater portion of Sontag's own thoughts. Nevertheless a good book! Read full review

Selected pages


Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 9
Section 10

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2003)

Susan Sontag is the author of four novels, The Benefactor, Death Kit, The Volcano Lover, and In America, which won the 2000 National Book Award for fiction; a collection of stories, I, etcetera; several plays, including Alice in Bed; and five works of nonfiction, among them Against Interpretation and On Photography, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. Her books are translated into thirty-two languages. In 2001, she was awarded the Jerusalem Prize for the body of her work, and she received the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature in 2003.

Bibliographic information