Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Carolyn N. Biltoft's "A Violent Peace"

Carolyn N. Biltoft is associate professor of international history at the Graduate Institute Geneva.

She applied the “Page 99 Test” to her new book, A Violent Peace: Media, Truth, and Power at the League of Nations, and reported the following:
In re-opening my own book (never easy for an author, so recently entangled in the long wrestling and writing, and so ready to move on) I was pleased to discover that page 99 is in fact one of the most important turning points in the book—it centers on a discussion of the Jewish-Czech journalist and poet Štefan Lux’s protest suicide at the League of Nations in 1936. Lux took his life on the public stage of the League Assembly in protest of the violence of the Nazi regime. And yet, we discover that the League tried to bury rather than advertise Lux’s final message to the world. What is more, the League buried the Lux affair (ironically) in the same year that they held an international conference on the threat of “False News.” Page 99, unfurls a textual analysis of Lux’s suicide letter (that never saw the light of day). One significant quote: “In pointing to the criminality of National Socialism, Lux also claimed another right endowed by death, the right to call things by their 'proper names.' The right of naming remained connected through the inexorable bond between truth and life, as in Fiat Lux [let there be light].
Learn more about A Violent Peace at the University of Chicago Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue