The United States embarked on a war on terror that defended torture as a matter of official policy and furthered an already emergent culture of cruelty. As torture became normalized in the Bush era, it not only corrupted American ideals and political culture, it also passed over to the dark side in sanctioning the unimaginable and unspeakable: the torture of children.
The book documents cases of child torture by American military personnel, several of which are little known to Americans from the media.
Although the rise of the torture state has been a subject of intense controversy, this is the first book to examine how state violence under the auspices of the war on terror infected not only political discourse but also a cultural consciousness that enabled the systemic abuse of children. Giroux raises serious challenges the Obama administration must address in light of this shameful period in American history if it wants to reverse such policies and make a claim for restoring democratic culture. But this challenge is not only one for the upper reaches of government. He also raises questions about the collusion of the media, educators, the criminal justice system and other groups and institutions that have allowed the conditions to emerge that have made the unspeakable act of torturing children a matter of state policy--and what can be done to avoid such acts from ever being repeated.
“Hearts of Darkness is an unforgettable journey into the cruel and hard oversoul of America—a nation which tacitly sanctions governmental torture of children and eagerly devours increasing amounts of media violence. Giroux’s moral courage and compassion serves as a model of contemporary committed criticism, and a call to action for those stuck in the fog of national amnesia regarding the horrific acts done in the name of democracy. This book is required reading for anyone who cares about the future of America.”
–Jeffrey R. Di Leo, University of Huston - Victoria
“Giroux is one of our most acute social critics, and in Hearts of Darkness, he asks how American culture grew so callous and debased during the Bush years, why it became increasingly toxic for children, and more uncomfortably, why so much remains unchanged on Obama’s watch. This is a very thoughtful book.”
–Elliott Gorn, Departments of History and American Civilization, Brown University