The Politics of Cruelty: An Essay On The Literature of Political Imprisonment by Kate Millet

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Penguin, 1995. 

'This work sets out a theory of politics of our time and offers a view of the modern state based on the practice of torture as a method of rule, as conscious policy. In assuming the power of torture over its citizens, government has made itself omnipotent, threatening the social and political progress of centuries. In many places throughout the world, the individual is faced with monumental force, and fear of the state has become the condition of our time. This book analyses that fear through the literature of its expression, a mixture of literary text, the reports of witnesses, legal theory and historical account. It is the literary version of experience that prevails and persuades with the greatest effect: the reality of the victim; the social and psychological climate of life under dictatorship; and the moment of arrest and capture.'