I am certain Beth told you several times that is was a study and not a novel. It was published by Harvard University Press which does not publish novels.
Here are two reviews:
rom Publishers Weekly
Ohio State history professor Roth's ambitious project—analyzing American homicide from colonial times to the present—makes for an intriguing if dense read. He distills his argument into several key statistics, all of which hinge upon the fact that Americans are murdered more frequently than citizens in any other first world democracy: U.S. homicide rates are between six and nine per 100,000 people. Roth refutes popular theories about why this is so (e.g., poverty, drugs) and lays out an alternate hypothesis: increases in homicide rates correlate with changes in people's feelings about government and society, such as whether they trust government and its officials and their sense of kinship with fellow citizens. Roth examines homicides by historical period, race and region, especially significant when comparing the ante- and postbellum North and South—turmoil and divisiveness in the South led to an explosion of murder in some areas during the war that continued during Reconstruction. Readers impatient with statistics or desiring a more narrative overview may be disappointed, but those wanting to learn what history can teach us about this most primal act of aggression will find Roth's analysis fascinating. (Oct.)
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From The Washington Post
From The Washington Post's Book World/washingtonpost.com Reviewed by Dennis Drabelle [email protected]
This book's stark title contrasts with its bulk and its reliance on multitudes of statistics. Randolph Roth, a history professor at Ohio State, has studied murder from colonial times to the present. He traces the great rise in American murder rates to the middle decades of the 19th century, when "the least homicidal places in the Western world suddenly became the most homicidal. By the end of the Civil War, homicide rates among unrelated adults were substantially higher in the North than in Canada or western Europe, and higher still by one or two orders of magnitude in the South and Southwest." What set the United States apart from less violent countries, Roth suggests, was a series of upheavals that hit the nation at the time: "the crises over slavery and immigration, the decline in self-employment, and the rise of industrialized cities. . . . Disillusioned by the course the nation was taking, people felt increasingly alienated from both their government and their neighbors. They were losing the sense that they were participating in a great adventure with their fellow Americans. Instead, they were competing in a cutthroat economy and a combative electoral system against millions of strangers whose interests and values were antithetical to their own." Some of those perceptions, of course, are still widely held today, and Roth sees a correlation between how we are governed and the likelihood that we will kill one another: "The statistics make it clear that in the twentieth century homicide rates have fallen during the terms of presidents who have inspired the poor or have governed from the center with a popular mandate, and they have risen during the terms of presidents who have presided over political and economic crises, abused their power, or engaged in unpopular wars. The most disastrous increase occurred while Richard Nixon was in power. The most substantial decreases occurred under Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Clinton. But it is not always clear whether the decreases were related to specific policies or whether they were due to the appearance of legitimacy that a particular administration achieved in the eyes of the poor." To paraphrase the humorist Mr. Dooley, it seems that potential murderers follow the election returns.
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