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Review: Violence: A Modern Obsession, Richard Bessel

By Joanna Bourke   June 2015

Violence: A Modern Obsession61eDWRE7eUL._SL1500_by Richard Bessel (Simon & Schuster, £20)

Violence is a terrible thing. Many of us love war movies, first-person-shooter computer games and other violent spectacles, but we know the difference between real and simulated blood. Even schoolchildren can translate what Wilfred Owen called in his most famous First World War poem the “old lie”: “Dulce et decorum estPro patria mori.” To be civilised is to abhor violence. But why have modern societies become so sensitive to violence? Why…

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