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by David T. Courtwright

eBook Violent Land: Single Men and Social Disorder from the Frontier to the Inner City download ISBN: 0674278704
Author: David T. Courtwright
Publisher: Harvard University Press; First Edition edition (November 1, 1996)
Language: English
Pages: 372
ePub: 1246 kb
Fb2: 1833 kb
Rating: 4.5
Other formats: azw lrf doc lit
Category: Political
Subcategory: Social Sciences

Violent Land: Single Men. has been added to your Cart

Violent Land: Single Men. has been added to your Cart. Richard Maxwell Brown Washington Times).

Courtwright (history, Univ. of North Florida) has written a timely book on one of the most hotly debated issues, violence in America. Observing historical, biological, and social origins of the problem in the United States, Courtwright squarely lays blame on males ages 12 to 28. Paralleling the findings of David Blankenhorn's in Fatherless America (LJ 1/95), the author finds that violence stems most frequently from young men without fathers or families and from bachelors. Courtwright states that historical patterns of violence that flowed from a high point during the frontier days, ebbed.

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David T. Courtwright has written a lucid, cogently argued history of violence in the United States from the early nineteenth-century frontier to the present. His book is a model of social science history, with carefully explicated hypotheses and clearly presented evidence and arguments. Courtwright is to be commended for raising important issues about the nature of violence in American society, and his book deserves to be widely read and debated.

Dr. Drew interviews David Courtwright about his new book, The Age of Addiction on Dr. Drew Midday Live with Leean Tweeden.

Addicts Who Survived: An Oral History of Narcotic Use in America. University of North Florida Teaching and Learning Resources. Dr.

Violent Land David Courtwright takes the long view of his subject, developing th. . Courtwright. This book offers an explosive look at violence in America-why it is so prevalent, and what and who are responsible.

book by David T.

By David T. Harvard University Press, 1966. For questions or feedback, please reach us at support at scilit.

How Young Men Built a Violent Land the Wild West and Today's Inner .

How Young Men Built a Violent Land the Wild West and Today's Inner Cities Have Much in Common. Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor. David Courtwright's study of violence in America is just too interesting and readable to gather dust as another academic treatise.

This book offers an explosive look at violence in America--why it is so prevalent, and what and who are responsible. David Courtwright takes the long view of his subject, developing the historical pattern of violence and disorder in this country. Where there is violent and disorderly behavior, he shows, there are plenty of men, largely young and single. What began in the mining camp and bunkhouse has simply continued in the urban world of today, where many young, armed, intoxicated, honor-conscious bachelors have reverted to frontier conditions.

Violent Land combines social science with an engrossing narrative that spans and reinterprets the history of violence and social disorder in America. Courtwright focuses on the origins, consequences, and eventual decline of frontier brutality. Though these rough days have passed, he points out that the frontier experience still looms large in our national self-image--and continues to influence the extent and type of violence in America as well as our collective response to it.

Broadly interdisciplinary, looking at the interplay of biological, social, and historical forces behind the dark side of American life, this book offers a disturbing diagnosis of violence in our society.

Comments: (7)
All history books should be written as this one is--it's engaging and lively in its premise that when large groups of (especially) young, unattached men get together...violence ensues, and that this was/is the social dynamic responsible for, among other things, the WILD West.

You may or may not agree with these ideas, but it should make you think of history in a new way. History need not be understood as simply the action-reaction paradigm we're all taught in our (boring) high school classes, but instead as the result of subtle interacting factors: biology, culture, language, and who-all knows what.

I strongly recommend this book, particularly if you think you "hate" history
Great read and a lot of information that gets better and better.
This book is a gift. I know my son will be thrilled with it. Thanks for the fast service. Fantastic
This is a Very Important book -- well written and researched -- that goes a very long way towards explaining honestly why violence, racism and religious hypocrisy are as common to American culture as motherhood and apple pie.

It has a great deal to do with the geography of gender. That is with the fact that up until the end of WW-II, the US was one of only a handful of countries that throughout its history has had a gender ratio that disproportionately favored men. For most of U.S. history the nation was an immigrant country with an excess of physically active, testosterone-laden, gun toting, alcohol-plied men running about the country with a shortage of women and an equal shortage of "home training." And just as such a population proved a good thing for economic development, it proved a disastrous formula for developing a civilized non-violent, religious oriented nation.

After all, it was the need for economic development that was the primary reason for so much single male labor -- in the form of slavery, convicts, stevedores, ironworkers, hired field hands, construction workers and builders, soldiers both of the military, as well as soldiers of fortune, and gold miners and all manner of fortune seekers, etc. most of whom were young, single and mostly cantankerous males.

In early America generally, but the American frontier in particular, there was always a shortage of women and a surfeit of violent uncivilized, mostly racist white men. All possible avenues to address this problem proved ineffectual.

One, exercised by the French and Spanish soldiers of fortune, but not by racist American white men, was intermarriage with Native American women. With few exceptions, the white men who dominated the frontier, for racial reasons alone, not only preferred not to intermarry, but jealously guarded their own prerogative of keeping the few available white women all to themselves.

Another solution was to try to civilize these men through marriage and family formation. But since there was already a shortage of women, this worked only in areas already civilized, and where the gender ratio favored women. The final solution was religion, which failed for the same reason -- as again it usually only attracted those men and women who were already settled and civilized.

Thus for most of its history, America has had to face the problem of having an excess of single, violent, racist, gun-toting, alcoholic men with few effective avenues of civilizing them.

The modern continuation of this historical process is today's Black urban ghetto, where the same kind of un-civility that beset the American frontier, now has a firm grip on most American inner cities.

It makes one wonder why we are spending $100+ billion a year to civilize and democratize Iraq, which was a cultured and civilized society long before the U.S. was even thought of, rather than spending these sums in our inner cities to help civilize and democratize our own country?

A devastatingly clear and rare presentation of the honest facts of American history. Ten stars
I enjoy new looks at demography... and what the authors have to say about the demographic data they assemble. I learned lots of new things from this book- namely, that America had a surplus of men until 1946, new things about the Southern "honor culture" and its roots, how the skewed gender ratio of slaves built the dynamic of slavery, the role that hobos played in building the American economy, and of course, the fraught relationship between the single man and capitalism. It's obviously easier to sell alcohol, tobacco, prostitutes, guns and all other sorts of profitable, deleterious goods to a young single male with no wife, children or nearby relatives to socially curb him or to depend on his money. The social and physical costs of a young, unruly male workforce were high, but, as usual in America, it's all about the money.

The other good thing he said, which I wholeheartedly agree with, is that racism handicapped Anglo-American white bachelors. If they had been able to imitate their counterparts in the Spanish, French and Portuguese Americas by marrying black, Indian, Hispanic and mixed-race women, they would have indeed reaped the benefits of being better-fed, longer-lived and more tolerant. Similarly, if Chinese men had been allowed to marry American women of any color, they'd have eliminated hardship and vice in their community.

But Courtwright stumbles badly elsewhere on race, and other parts of the book are hit-or-miss at best. Homosexuality, gay men and gay life are mentioned only once, in a very brief section about sodomy among hobos. Lesbians are not mentioned at all. Religious movements with peculiar demography, like the Amish, Hutterites or Mormons, get no mention except for the praise that they are law-abiding. Where are the Shakers?! Celibate Catholic clergy, nuns, monks, priests, are also briefly lauded as preservers of order. Voluntarily single, unmarried and childless people also get no mention at all. And why should they? Gays, lesbians, celibate clerics, celibate Shakers, the voluntary unmarried and childless, and those of other religions in America would contradict his preachy, openly stated moralistic insistence on the primacy of the heterosexual, patriarchal Protestant Christian family.

He makes sweeping over-generalizations about Native American cultures and says that Indians were also "honor cultures" of vengeance... um no. In actual fact, most Native American cultures were matriarchal and a little thing called the League of the Iroquois influenced a little thing we like to call the Constitution!! He even calls Native men "braves" at one point in the narrative.

The second half of the book is mostly a fatalistic harangue about the plight of the urban black ghetto. His facts about life in these places are well-presented and hard to argue with. He writes about how bad housing, lack of access to fresh food, the loss of jobs and manufacturing, the flood of drugs, and the impact of mass incarceration, have all impoverished and destroyed black communities. But then he completely contradicts everything he just said by stating that blacks have now internalized their oppression and inherited a "culture of poverty", which makes them beyond help and causes their problems to be their own fault and simply intractable and oh gee, whatever are we to do? (Sarcasm). This is just a bunch of ivory-tower hand-wringing. And it's wrong, wrong, wrong. These communities need more and better schools, more and better jobs, access to fresh food and fresh fruits and vegetables and birth control, fair treatment by police, classes on parenting... and yes, we as a nation need to have a larger conversation about the merits of gun control. Maybe if 12-year-olds couldn't get guns, we wouldn't need to worry about 12-year-olds with guns? At this point I was shaking my head in disbelief.

Also, despite well-researched examples of how racism affected the demography of blacks and Chinese, Courtwright seems fundamentally naive in his understanding of racism, Racism is not just a belief held by an individual or a belief held by a group of people, it is a system of oppression built into American institutions from day one to reward whites and penalize people of color, and that is what's also responsible for incarceration, drug abuse and early death in so, so many black men. His lack of recognition that racism is a system makes this book less-than-credible. For instance, he says that Eastern European Jews, despite their poverty upon arrival in America, were able to succeed because of a communal culture and an emphasis on scholarship. This is undoubtedly true. But, what Courtwright failed to mention is that Jews, like other European immigrants, were able to assimilate, to become and to be considered white. This was an option that certainly aided Jews' success and was simply unavilable to blacks.

And that's not all. He has a libertarian-esque moment where he bemoans that the government has allegedly usurped the role of the family. This is where he gets it the wrong way round. The government didn't set out to usurp the family; the government stepped in to do things that families were not doing, whether through negligence, lack of interest or inability to do it- namely, educate children, care for vulnerable children, care for the elderly and provide high-quality medicine. Government isn't the enemy; government does things that "the family" can't or won't do and protects the masses from starvation, illness and death when some idealistic concept of "the family", "the free market" or "private enterprise" can't step up to fill the gap. Government has a valid role to play in our lives and should do more, not less, to help citizens.

He finally concludes the book on a note of maudlin stupidity, by wishing for a return to the allegedly idyllic days of the 1950s when marriage was a near-universal norm for Americans. This echoes Reagan's idealization of the 1950s as a "kinder, gentler America." I didn't know whether to laugh in derision, vomit in disgust, cry in frustration or yawn in boredom. But I think I'll settle for the yawn.
This book is a must read for anyone who works in or around the field of law enforcement. As a law enforcement officer, often working in an undercover situation with gang members and other violent offenders, this book provides a great explanation for how they think. What Courtwright captures in a coherent and academic setting, I've seen borne out again and again in countless interviews and undercover situations.