What does it mean to suffer? What enables some people to emerge from tragedy while others are spiritually crushed by it? Why do so many Americans think of suffering as something that happens to other people — who usually deserve it? These are some of the questions at the heart of this powerful book.
Combining reportage, personal narrative, and moral philosophy, Peter Trachtenberg tells the stories of grass-roots genocide tribunals in Rwanda and tsunami survivors in Sri Lanka, an innocent man on death row, and a family bereaved on 9/11. He examines texts from the Book of Job to the Bodhicharyavatara and the writings of Simone Weil.
The Book of Calamities is a provocative and sweeping look at one of the biggest paradoxes of the human condition — and the surprising strength and resilience of those who are forced to confront it.