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William T. Vollmann attended Cornell University and Berkeley.His journalism has appeared in many magazines including The New Yorker. His novels include You Bright and Risen Angels, The Ice-Shirt, Whores for Gloria, Fathers and Crows, The Rifles, The Royal Family, and Argall, part of the ‘Seven Dreams’ series. He lives in northern California.

Rising Up and Rising Down

Some Thoughts on Violence, Freedom, and Urgent Means

William T Vollmann

...massive, unprecedented ... at its best, its rigorous, novelistic, imaginative, sonorous prose treats a fundamental topic on a grand (and horrific) scalePublishers Weekly, Praise for the McSweeney’s 7-volume edition

The authorised, abridged version of William T. Vollman’s seven-volume magnum opus, which attempts to bring a definitive resolution to a conundrum that has preoccupied generations of thinkers: under what conditions is violence justified?

Convinced that there are ‘a finite number of excuses’ for violence and that ‘some are more valid than others’, the author spent two decades consulting hundreds of sources, scrutinizing the thinking of philosophers, theologians, tyrants, warlords, military strategists, activists and pacifists. He also visited more than a dozen countries and war zones, to witness violence at first hand — sometimes barely escaping with his life.