By Kristian Williams
South End Press
Abner Louima. Abu Ghraib. The Humboldt Five. Extraordinary Rendition. Lynchings. School Of The Americas. Prison Rape.
Whether or not it makes front-page news, make no mistake: Torture is an everyday tool of dominance and terror in the United States. On the heels of Our Enemies in Blue, his controversial chronicle of policing, Kristian Williams once again upsets the notion that "excessive force" by the state is anything but altogether American.
American Methods is a damning audit of the US record in underwriting human rights violations around the globe. In the last 25 years alone and under several administrations, we confront death squads in El Salvador, genocidal campaigns in Turkey, brutal interrogations done on our dime, even in our name by various "friendly governments," and more. Returning to our shores, Williams observes the banality of violence at home-on both sides of the prison wall. What emerges is the distinct character of American torture, particularly its emphasis on sexual violence, misogyny, and racialized spectacle.
Ultimately, American Methods offers devastating conclusions about the centrality of rape, racism, and conquest to both the state and our national culture.