Monday, May 19, 2008

Featured Books - the "Voice of Witness" series

Dave Eggers and Lola Vollen (eds.)
The Voice of Witness Series

Novelist Dave Eggers and public health doctor Lola Vollen, a member of Physicians for Human Rights, founded the Voice of Witness series as a collaboration between the publisher McSweeney's and the UC Berkley School of Journalism, following Vollen's work on vaccination programmes in Somalia and identifying the bodies in Bosnia's mass graves.

Oral history has long served to highlight and promote otherwise marginalised voices, and preserve eye-witness accounts through recording and preserving interviews. The Voice of Witness series uses these techniques to highlight and illustrate human rights crises, transcribing interviews with their victims and presenting them, as Scott Turow says in a forward, not as "works of lofty philosophy or jurisprudence [but] humble first-person tales told in everyday terms, of how injustice happened, one blunder at a time." These books are a powerful record of the human cost of events and systems, from immigration law to the criminal justice system, that are often discussed in abstract terms, with little thought given to those who suffer at their margins.

There have been three books published so far, recording the experiences of the victims of Hurricane Katrina, wrongful imprisonment and the American immigration system. To borrow copies of these books, please contact the RSA Library.

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