Media Center: ‘Fields of Blood’ by Karen Armstrong
WHO: Karen Armstrong
WHAT: FIELDS OF BLOOD:
Religion and the History of Violence
WHEN: Published by Knopf October 30, 2014
WHERE: Author tour to San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Toronto, Vancouver.
WHY: “Intriguing…A useful resource and definitive voice in defense of the divine in human culture.
“Comparative religions expert Armstrong provides a comprehensive and erudite study of the history of violence in relation to religion. The author’s global perspective is epic in scale and begins with the very dawn of human history. She begins the book by asserting, ‘modern society has made a scapegoat of faith,’ and she ends by noting that the ‘problem lies not in the multifaceted activity that we call “religion” but in the violence embedded in our human nature and the nature of the state.’
“Armstrong also takes pains to explain that religion, as it is defined and discussed in modern society, is a construct of Protestant-influenced, Western culture and would not be understood by most cultures through time. Instead of a personal choice, religion has long been an ingrained aspect of most cultures, subject to the needs of societal survival along with every other aspect of a culture.
“The rise of secularism—which, as the French Revolution handily proved, could be quite violent in its own right—created a void in which religion, and especially fundamentalism, could arise in a juxtaposing, visible role. This new role for religion has brought about the ‘religious violence’ of modernity, whether it was Jonestown’s ‘revolutionary suicide’ or the spread of Islamic fanaticism. Armstrong leads readers patiently through history, from Mesopotamia to ancient India to the Palestine of Jesus to the China of Confucius.”
—KIRKUS, a starred review
“Provocative and supremely readable.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, a starred review
“Armstrong impresses with the breadth of her knowledge and the skill with which she conveys it to us.” —Ray Olson, in a starred review for BOOKLIST
“Given the number of conflicts in the world today that are viewed as religious-based, this book is particularly timely.” —Augustine J. Curley, in a starred review for LIBRARY JOURNAL
About the book | About the author | Read an excerpt | Download the jacket | Download the author photo | Listen to the Random House Audiobook
Publicist for this title:
Kim Thornton Ingenito | 212-572-2299 | firstname.lastname@example.org