Jólabókaflóðið 2019: Books about Hate, Evil, and Violence

Each year from Thanksgiving to Christmas, 606 offers up suggestions for books to tide you through the long winter nights. Pick them up at your library, buy them through your local bookstore, give them for a gift, or pick one up for yourself. We think that books are the best gifts. 

Above, Léon Cogniet’s Scene from the Slaughter of the Innocents, 1824

Today’s suggestions are from my wishlist of books about hate, evil, and violence. Why? Because as much as Advent is a season of waiting in joyful expectation, it’s also a time of mass violence in pursuit of the protection of political power. 



The Violence of Hate: Understanding Harmful Forms of Bias and Bigotry, 4th edition by Jack Levin and Jim Nolan takes as its central point that idea that hate-motivated violence is not the work of lone wolves but is supported systemically.

Sacred Fury: Understanding Religious Violence, 3rd edition by Charles Selengut examines the relationship between religion and violence in different major world religions. I’m teaching it in my undergraduate Sociology of Religion this semester, and students seem pretty eager to get to it.

The Evil of Banality: On the Life and Death Importance of Thinking by Elizabeth Minnich encourages us not to underthink life.

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