Silence

A Social History of One of the Least Understood Elements of Our Lives


Named an Editors’ Choice by The New York Times Book Review

“Brox writes beautifully… Silence for her is a force of nature, awe provoking, like lightning, capable of electrocuting us and of illuminating the night… [She] hunkers down in two institutions dominated by the absence of noise – prison and monastery – and leaves us with an… ambiguous sense of silence: oppressive under certain conditions, liberating under others.”
– front page review, The New York Times Book Review

Jane Brox’s Silence… couldn’t come at a better timeA wonderfully evocative writer… Ms. Brox explores the history and cultural meaning of silence… [This] engaging book offers readers an opportunity to explore a few crucial moments of that history and, in the process, to ponder what silence – or its absence – tells us about the world we are making every day.”
Wall Street Journal

“The ideal way to read Jane Brox’s books, which consider human interaction with the environment over long stretches of time, is during some kind of retreat – away from your ordinary life and awake to [her] patient, exquisitely textured accumulation of scene setting, historical detail, and gentle argument… I found myself transported by Brox’s storytelling.”
Orion

“Throughout her lyrical scholarly work, Brox explores how the meaning of silence is shaped by circumstances… Under Brox’s keen work, one of the least understood elements of our lives proves to be an ambiguous subject. As she reminds us, ‘It [silence] presents the opportunity for a true reckoning with the self, with external obligation, and with power.’”
PopMatters

“[A] deeply researched and thought-provoking investigation into the structure of silence and its transformative power… This breadth is impressive… Readers will come away from the book convinced by its central idea: that silence, so often an invisible part of our lives, is worth paying attention to.”
Harvard Review

“[Brox] makes a well-defined case for paying attention to the elements around us that shape our days.”
Outside

It is the great wit of this thoughtful book to juxtapose the silence of punishment with the silence of spiritual life and, in so doing, to deepen our understanding of each.
Lewis Hyde, author of The Gift and Common as Air

Silence

A Social History of One of the Least Understood Elements of Our Lives

Named an Editors’ Choice by The New York Times Book Review

“Brox writes beautifully… Silence for her is a force of nature, awe provoking, like lightning, capable of electrocuting us and of illuminating the night… [She] hunkers down in two institutions dominated by the absence of noise – prison and monastery – and leaves us with an… ambiguous sense of silence: oppressive under certain conditions, liberating under others.”
– front page review, The New York Times Book Review

Jane Brox’s Silence… couldn’t come at a better timeA wonderfully evocative writer… Ms. Brox explores the history and cultural meaning of silence… [This] engaging book offers readers an opportunity to explore a few crucial moments of that history and, in the process, to ponder what silence – or its absence – tells us about the world we are making every day.”
Wall Street Journal

“The ideal way to read Jane Brox’s books, which consider human interaction with the environment over long stretches of time, is during some kind of retreat – away from your ordinary life and awake to [her] patient, exquisitely textured accumulation of scene setting, historical detail, and gentle argument… I found myself transported by Brox’s storytelling.”
Orion

“Throughout her lyrical scholarly work, Brox explores how the meaning of silence is shaped by circumstances… Under Brox’s keen work, one of the least understood elements of our lives proves to be an ambiguous subject. As she reminds us, ‘It [silence] presents the opportunity for a true reckoning with the self, with external obligation, and with power.’”
PopMatters

“[A] deeply researched and thought-provoking investigation into the structure of silence and its transformative power… This breadth is impressive… Readers will come away from the book convinced by its central idea: that silence, so often an invisible part of our lives, is worth paying attention to.”
Harvard Review

“[Brox] makes a well-defined case for paying attention to the elements around us that shape our days.”
Outside

It is the great wit of this thoughtful book to juxtapose the silence of punishment with the silence of spiritual life and, in so doing, to deepen our understanding of each.
Lewis Hyde, author of The Gift and Common as Air