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Stand Your Ground by Caroline Light
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Stand Your Ground

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Stand Your Ground by Caroline Light
Paperback $18.00
Feb 13, 2018 | ISBN 9780807075135

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  • Feb 13, 2018 | ISBN 9780807075135

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  • Feb 14, 2017 | ISBN 9780807064665

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“The author is a keen legal analyst, deftly examining obscure cases that underlie this historical narrative…A weighty consideration of the cultural politics behind disturbing flash points like the death of Trayvon Martin.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Light’s readable account deserves strong notice by those seeking understanding of the roots of today’s polarizing debate over gun laws.”

“Light makes a compelling case that appeals to ‘self-defense’ throughout American history have never been an equal-opportunity recourse…Light does not shy away from historical facts that popular memory and contemporary debates often erase. She unsparingly describes how many white suffragists supported extrajudicial violence to protect white chastity, and likewise calls attention to the under-acknowledged role of armed self-defense by black Americans during the sixties and seventies.”
The New Inquiry

“A timely and far-reaching new book…Light deftly analyzes how this lop-sided treatment has survived, in our legal system and also in the distortions that help define the historical memory of white America…It’s far from obvious that repealing Stand Your Ground laws would break that loop. As Light shows, the right to claim the protective mantle of self-defense has never been equally distributed in America. Stand Your Ground laws may be stark symbols of that reality, but they didn’t create it. Stand Your Ground didn’t kill Martin or keep Zimmerman out of jail. And it didn’t protect Peterson. Truly facing the problems of violence in America will mean following Light’s lead and digging deeper.”
—Peter C. Baker, Pacific Standard

“A powerful new book…studded with striking statistics and sobering facts.”
—Nina MacLaughlin, The Boston Globe

“While some may believe that the prevalence of ‘stand-your-ground’ narratives is a new phenomenon, Caroline Light’s Stand Your Ground is timely and sharp, and a potent antidote to historical amnesia. Light reminds us that these defenses are as old as the republic; they have always protected those with privilege and jeopardized those at the margins.”
—Mark Anthony Neal, author of New Black Man

“In this brilliant and timely history of ‘the well-armed citizen,’ Caroline Light reveals the logic—and lunacy—of the perceived reasonableness of lethal force in America and the collective myth of the ideal, gun-toting savior against the threat of the ‘other.’”
—Patricia Williams, professor of law at Columbia Law School

“Caroline Light traces the history of self-defense in America from the early republic to the present and reveals how gun-use policies have consistently compromised the contours of our democracy. Paying careful attention to the roles of race and gender in structuring gun control politics, Light ultimately provides us with a profound reflection on belonging and exclusion in American society. Essential reading.”
—Elizabeth Hinton, award-winning author of From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America

“Provocative and original.”
—Mike “The Gun Guy” Weisser, author of the Guns in America series

Table Of Contents

Mom the Sharpshooter

When Good Citizenship Is Armed Citizenship

“That Great Law of Nature”
The Origins of a Selective Self-Defense Culture

Defensive Violence and the “True Man”
The End of Reconstruction and the Duty to Retreat

“A Mighty Power in the Hands of the Citizen”
Justice and True Manhood in the Western Borderlands

“Queer Justice” and the Sexual Politics of Lynching

“An American Tradition”
The Black Paramilitary Response to White Supremacist Terror and Unequal Protection

“The Stuff of Pulp Fiction”
Unreasonable Women, Vigilante Heroes, and the Rise of the Armed Citizen

Avoiding a “Fate Worse Than Death”
How We Learned to Stand Our Ground

Kill or Be Killed—An American Mantra




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