The Awful Truth

“The terrorists not only murdered but also mutilated their victims. They brained infants and burned men alive in front of their wives. In response, some on our side also began to kill and soon convinced the government to declare war. Anyone killing a terrorist would receive a bounty from the state. Only a small subset of our community remained calm enough to wonder why the terrorists were angry. To the consternation of their compatriots, this subset arranged a conference, where the terrorists explained why they had turned to violence: twenty years earlier, at the behest of a family whose role in our government was all but dynastic, we had taken their land by fraud. . . .”

My review-essay about Charles Brockden Brown’s Revolution and the Birth of American Gothic by Peter Kafer is in the summer 2005 issue of Common-Place.