In works of “uncommon talent and confidence” (Masha Gessen, The New Yorker), author and investigative journalist Rachel Louise Snyder explores the causes and consequences of the violence that impacts women around the globe. Her work demands that we see the reality of domestic violence, global consumerism, race and class prejudice, and other often overlooked social crises.
Snyder’s is the author of No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us, about which critic Parul Sehgal drew comparisons to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in its literary indelibility: “I read Snyder’s book as if possessed, stopping for nothing, feeling the pulse beat in my brain.” A compelling work of investigative journalism with the narrative force of a novel, No Visible Bruises reveals that one of America’s most urgent social problems takes place behind closed doors, and that the most dangerous place for a woman, statistically, is her own home. Whether we call it domestic violence, private violence, or intimate terrorism, it has a far more pervasive impact on our society than many realize. Between 2000 and 2006, about 3,200 Americans were killed in combat. In that time, more than three times as many women were killed by their partners.
“No Visible Bruises is a seminal and breathtaking account of why home is the most dangerous place to be a woman. Through brilliant insights and myth-busting research, compelling storytelling, and a passionate focus on truth-telling, Rachel Louise Snyder places domestic violence exactly where it should be, smack in the center of everything. A tour de force.”
—V (formerly Eve Ensler), author of the Vagina Monologues
No Visible Bruises begins with the murder of Michelle Monson Mosure and her two children by her husband, a longtime domestic abuser. Weaving together external accounts of the Mosure story, Snyder lays bare the ambivalence of society’s response to domestic violence—what the World Health Organization has called “a global health problem of epidemic proportions.” Snyder frames her account around key stories that explode the common myths: that if things were bad enough victims would just leave; that a violent person cannot become nonviolent; that providing shelter is an adequate response; and perhaps most damaging, and that violence in the home is unrelated to other types of violence. In fact, more than half of the mass shootings in America include acts of domestic violence, according to a 2017 study released by Everytown for Gun Safety.
A sobering meditation on the far reaching social consequences of intimate violence, No Visible Bruisesdraws on the stories of survivors, perpetrators, law enforcement officers, and victim advocates to lay bare the policies and cultural narratives that help abusers escape responsibility. Snyder also illuminates the intersections between domestic violence and poverty, homelessness, and addiction, underscoring the fact that none of these patterns emerges in a vacuum, and gives us concrete steps that can save lives. Praising her as a “a writer using every tool at her disposal to make this story come alive, to make it matter,” The New York Times Book Review lists the many potential solutions proposed in the book: “Treat restraining orders like D.U.I.s and keep them on file, even after they have expired. Train clergy members and doctors to recognize and respond to domestic violence. Promote battering intervention programs. Teach police to recognize the signs, and instruct doctors to assess women for traumatic brain injury.”
No Visible Bruises was awarded the New York Public Library’s Bernstein Journalism Award, the 2018 Lukas Work-in-Progress Award from the Columbia School of Journalism and Harvard’s Nieman Foundation, as well as the Hillman Prize for Book Journalism. A finalist for the Kirkus Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, it was named one of the 10 Best Books of 2019 by The New York Times.
“Rachel Louise Snyder writes with the rigorous scrutiny of an investigative journalist and the deep and roving empathy of a natural-born novelist; the result is a bold and mesmerizing exploration of daily truths we don’t talk about nearly enough”
—Andre Dubus III, author of Gone So Long and House of Sand and Fog
In Snyder’s new book, Women We Buried, Women We Burned, she recounts her own troubled family story in a powerful memoir that relates her personal history with honesty, lyricism, and an eternal eye to the social issues that have become her life’s work. Snyder was eight years old when her mother died, and her distraught father thrust the family into an evangelical, cult-like existence halfway across the country. Furiously rebellious against this life, she was expelled from school, and then from home at age sixteen. Living out of her car and relying on strangers, she soon found herself masquerading as an adult, talking her way into college, and eventually travelling the globe, reporting on those who had been through the unimaginable in places like India, Tibet, Niger, and Cambodia.When she returned to the States with a family of her own, it was with a new perspective on old family wounds, and a chance for healing from the most unexpected place. Written with a storyteller’s gift for immediacy, and weaving the personal with the universal, Women We Buried, Women We Burned is a necessary story of family struggle, female survival, and the passionate drive to bear witness.
As a journalist, Snyder has traveled to more than 50 countries, covering stories of human rights, natural disaster, and war. Her audio credits include the Audible original podcast The First Wife: John Meehan’s Reign of Terror, the nationally syndicated global affairs series Latitudes on public radio, Marketplace, and All Things Considered. Her print work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Slate, Salon, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and The New Republic. She is also the author of Fugitive Denim: A Moving Story of People and Pants in the Borderless World of Global Trade and the novel What We’ve Lost is Nothing. She is at work a reported narrative examination of gender discrimination in the court system.Snyder lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia for six years before relocating to Washington, DC, where she is an assistant professor in the creative writing program at American University.
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