Cover: We Shall Be No More: Suicide and Self-Government in the Newly United States, from Harvard University PressCover: We Shall Be No More in HARDCOVER

We Shall Be No More

Suicide and Self-Government in the Newly United States

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$49.00 • £42.95 • €44.95

ISBN 9780674063723

Publication Date: 03/20/2012


344 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

20 halftones


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In We Shall Be No More: Suicide and Self-Government in the Newly United States, Richard Bell movingly emphasizes the sometimes clumsy efforts of American asylums and humanitarian societies to care for those who tried to kill themselves, but who lived on for days, weeks, or years afterwards. Bell never forgets that suicide is about individuals and the persistence or recovery of their stories. His arresting, involving work on the young American republic brings out the farcical and tragic aspects of suicide. It also reveals a healthy suspicion of commentators in all periods who lament the helter-skelter decline of manners and morals, whether due to changes in legislation or reading habits.—Freya Johnston, The Times Literary Supplement

Richard Bell takes us among the inner demons early Americans encountered, and offers as reliable a picture of this fractured reality as we are likely to get. His book is engagingly written, as visceral a cultural history as you will find.—Andrew Burstein, co-author of Madison and Jefferson

A thoughtful and provocative look at the cultural politics of suicide in the early American Republic. After reading We Shall Be No More, it will be impossible to look at suicide and not recognize the deep political issues it evokes.—Michael Meranze, author of Laboratories of Virtue: Punishment, Revolution, and Authority in Philadelphia, 1760–1835

The conflict between individual liberty and mutual obligation was at the heart of republican society and government, and in Bell’s capable hands suicide is revealed as a crucial battleground in that struggle. A remarkable book.—Simon Newman, author of Embodied History: The Lives of the Poor in Early America

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