Cover: A Pattern of Violence: How the Law Classifies Crimes and What It Means for Justice, from Harvard University PressCover: A Pattern of Violence in HARDCOVER

A Pattern of Violence

How the Law Classifies Crimes and What It Means for Justice

Product Details


$29.95 • £26.95 • €27.95

ISBN 9780674248908

Publication Date: 03/23/2021


336 pages

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

6 illus.

Belknap Press


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A timely contribution to our understanding of both violence as a concept and how the law should go about responding to violence… Offers a sweeping view of violence’s role in U.S. legal culture.—Benjamin Levin, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books

Could not be more timely… Explores how confused, inconsistent, and often simply incorrect the law’s, and the public’s, views of violence are… An important reminder that politics are never immutable, even for something as emotional salient right now as violent behavior.—John F. Pfaff, Law & Society Review

This humane and sophisticated analysis breaks new ground in exploring how and why the U.S. criminal justice system needs to be reformed.Publishers Weekly

Timely and thoughtful, David Sklansky’s new book is a much-needed meditation on what violence is and how the law should respond to it.—James Forman, Jr., Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Locking Up Our Own

A Pattern of Violence is a must-read for anyone who wants to radically rethink our understanding of justice. In this singular book, David Sklansky takes us into courtrooms across America grappling with the problem of violent crimes. As importantly, he explains how we’ve come to understand violence itself—morally, ethically, and historically.—Rachel Louise Snyder, author of No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us

A Pattern of Violence offers a fresh take on some of the most vexing issues of our times, including police brutality, mass incarceration, and sexual assault. David Sklansky’s bold and lucid analysis disrupts the old ways of understanding how the law deals with race, gender, and crime, and points to how we can get closer to real justice. If, in H. Rap Brown’s enduring phrase, ‘violence is as American as cherry pie,’ Sklansky has written one great American book about it.—Paul Butler, MSNBC legal analyst and author of Chokehold: Policing Black Men

A stunning book of enormous learning, experience, and compassion, explaining how the role of violence as an idea has formed the law’s impact on race, gender, and class inequality. The ambition of the book connects centrally to the project of reframing what criminal justice might become. Sklansky is bold yet sensible, and his insights are game-changing. I wish I had been able to write this book.—Jeannie Suk Gersen, author of At Home in the Law: How the Domestic Violence Revolution Is Transforming Privacy

This sharply argued and thoughtful book shows how the law simultaneously over-punishes some forms of violence while ignoring others—such as acts committed by law enforcement. Anyone interested in achieving real police reform or dismantling mass incarceration should read this book by one of our most insightful experts on crime and policing.—Rachel Barkow, author of Prisoners of Politics

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