William Ian Miller is the Thomas G. Long Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School. He has also taught at Harvard, Yale, Chicago, and the Universities of Bergen and Tel Aviv. Professor Miller holds a JD and a PhD in English, both earned at Yale. His various books, including most recently Faking It (2003), The Mystery of Courage (2000) and The Anatomy of Disgust (1997), have enjoyed critical acclaim throughout the world.
Miller culls sources as varied as soldiers' memoirs, heroic and romantic literature, and philosophical discussions to get to the heart of courage--and to expose its role in generating the central anxieties of masculinity and manhood. He probes the link between courage and fear, and explores the connection between bravery and seemingly related states: rashness, stubbornness, madness, cruelty, fury; pride and fear of disgrace; and the authority and experience that minimize fear. By turns witty and moving, inquisitive and critical, his inquiry takes us from ancient Greece to medieval Europe, to the American Civil War, to the Great War and Vietnam, with sidetrips to the schoolyard, the bedroom, and the restaurant. Whether consulting Aristotle or private soldiers, Miller elicits consistently compelling insights into a condition as endlessly interesting as it is elusive.
Drawing on a lifetime of deep study and anxious observation, Miller enlists the wisdom of the ancients to confront these vexed questions head on. Debunking the glossy new image of old age that has accompanied the graying of the Baby Boomers, he conjures a lost world of aging rituals--complaints, taking to bed, resentments of one's heirs, schemes for taking it with you or settling up accounts and scores--to remind us of the ongoing dilemmas of old age. Darkly intelligent and sublimely written, this exhilarating and eccentric book will raise the spirits of readers, young and old.