The twentieth century is frequently characterized in terms of its unprecedented levels of bloodshed. More human beings were killed or allowed to die by human cause than ever before in history. The impact of the century’s carnage does not end with the lives that were taken; the atrocities continue to take their toll on those who survived, on those who bore witness, and on succeeding generations.
Blooming through the Ashes features over sixty writings about this historic violence and its aftermath in a global anthology that brings together the work of Nobel laureates Seamus Heaney, Toni Morrison, Czeslaw Milosz, Wole Soyinka, Elie Wiesel, Imre Kertesz, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, Eugenio Montale, and Pablo Neruda. In non-fiction and fiction, these writers and others reflect on the litany of man-made violence that marred the twentieth century and that shadows the twenty-first, including the Holocaust, the Gulag, the Chinese Cultural Revolution, apartheid, repression in Latin America, genocides in Rwanda, Cambodia, and the attacks of 9/11.
The texts are arranged thematically, rather than by event, in order to highlight the shared themes of memory expressed across culture and geography. Starting with visceral reactions to a violent event, chapters proceed through recognitions of loss, and move into statements of public remembrance through which future generations attempt to understand the impact of past violence.