Draw Your Weapons
Text Publishing, $32.99 pb, 304 pp, 9781925498622
‘Thinking is my fighting.’
Sarah Sentilles’s Draw Your Weapons is one of the most erudite, original, and thought-provoking books I have ever read. A philosophical and moral meditation on pain, torture, and the violence of war – part memoir, part history, even a kind of secular prayer – this book asks us to look at terrible human darkness while also celebrating the ways in which love, connectedness, and the making of art nourish and redeem the human spirit.
Sentilles, an American academic, began writing what was to become Draw Your Weapons after seeing two photographs: one of an old man, eyes joyously aglow, cradling a violin; the other of a hooded prisoner standing on a box. These images derailed her preparation for the priesthood. Rather than complete her dissertation about theological imagination, she left the church and wrote instead on the torture photographs taken at Abu Ghraib.