Cover image for The enigma of anger : essays on a sometimes deadly sin
The enigma of anger : essays on a sometimes deadly sin
Keizer, Garret.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Francisco : Jossey-Bass, [2002]

Physical Description:
xii, 363 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BV4627.A5 K45 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Rage, resentment, envy, jealousy, and hatred- these emotions seem to dominate our times. They rule our highways, our workplaces, our homes, and our hearts.

In this provocative book of essays, writer Garret Keizer considers anger in all its baffling forms. Poignantly aware of his own temper, and of his ties to a religion that glorifies meekness, the author looks at anger as a paradox in our struggle to remain human in the midst of an infuriating world. Interweaving personal anecdotes, mythological stories, sacred texts, and Keizer's insightful observations, The Enigma of Anger will prove a welcome companion for anyone who has ever wrestled with wrath-or wished to make better use of it.

Author Notes

Garret Keizer has served as an Episcopal priest and as a high school English teacher. His work also appears in The Christian Century and Harper's Magazine. He lives in northeastern Vermont with his wife and daughter

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Episcopal priest and author Keizer examines anger within the church, in the Christian tradition, at home, within a person, and as it is manifested in the world. When is anger good? When is it appropriate? How should we react when it becomes destructive? Keizer seeks not to dispel the need for anger or diminish its often considerable impact. Indeed, as a self-proclaimed "descendant of angry men," he has nothing but contempt for meliorating self-help movements that view life as a series of problems needing to be solved or dismissed out of hand because of their complex, seemingly intractable nature. He believes anger is a natural part of the human condition. If it is used judiciously and fairly, it can serve a purpose and actually be constructive. The wise person, he suggests, knows when to avoid it and when to express it. Given the amount of rage that exists throughout all levels and strata of modern society, The Enigma of Anger couldn't arrive at a better time. --June Sawyers

Publisher's Weekly Review

"I am a descendant of angry men," Episcopal priest Keizer tells readers at the outset of this wise and beautiful reflection on anger. With that, we are lured into a book that is both intensely personal and achingly universal, for Keizer's confessions of and ruminations about his own anger will strike a chord with many a reader. This memoirish and erudite study is best read as apology in both senses of the word: a request for forgiveness for unwarranted anger and a defense of anger as something that has a legitimate place in the Christian life. Keizer addresses righteous anger at social injustices, domestic anger toward family members, anger within local parishes and anger that defensively masks harder feelings like grief. One of the most original and invigorating chapters tackles gender. Keizer suggests, ingeniously, that one of the reasons men and women deal with anger differently is that "traditional `women's work' serves as an antidote to the forces that make men enraged." The book is deeply Christian, suffused with images of crucifixion, Holy Eucharist and the Sermon on the Mount but it is hardly parochial, and practitioners of other faiths will find capacious truths in Keizer's perfectly particular reflections. The book is distinguished, above all, by its prose. What might have been merely a spiritual "how-to" on anger management is transformed into a literary achievement by Keizer's way with words, from the opening description of a sugar maple tree to the concluding ode to Samuel Johnson. (Aug.) Forecast: Keizer's writing will particularly appeal to the more literary segments of the religious market, as well as the ABA audience. Harper's magazine plans both a review and a feature story, and serials will appear in Books and Culture and Christian Century. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
Anger in the Lord
Where I Come Fromp. 5
The Wrath of Godp. 15
Christ the Tigerp. 25
The Deadly Sinp. 39
Even in the Desertp. 55
Anger in the Head
Anger as Mentalityp. 69
Anger as Fearp. 81
Anger as Privilegep. 97
Anger as Griefp. 111
Anger as Gracep. 125
Anger in the House
The Chronic Angers of the Housep. 137
Angry Men: Agamemnon and Saul, Michael Henchard and Wade Warp. 149
Angry Women: Clytemnestra and Boudica, Medea and Sethep. 167
Anger and Childrenp. 185
Domestic Revolutionp. 197
Anger in the Church
They That Are Sickp. 211
Passion Playsp. 225
Forgivenessp. 237
Loving the Enemyp. 251
Anger at Godp. 267
Anger in the World
Workp. 283
Wordsp. 301
Venturing Outp. 317
Napoleon's Testp. 331
Someday You Willp. 351
The Authorp. 363