"Resentment's Virtue represents an important counterpoint to the privileged status accorded to the logic of forgiveness in the transitional justice and reparations literatures. Brudholm illustrates nicely that 'negative emotions' are not only understandable in the aftermath of mass atrocity, but that they possess a moral component that is often ignored by the boosters of reconciliation." Andrew Woolford, co-author of Informal Reckonings: Conflict Resolution in Mediation, Restorative Justice and Reparations "Brudholm provides a view that is likely to be controversial, namely, that resentment can be just as much of an acceptable outcome to collective violence...Brudholm makes the case that resentment might be just as permissible as the tendency to forgive." Contemporary Sociology "Every now and then a book is published that makes you think - and rethink - the position you have on a specific issue. Danish philosopher Thomas Brudholm's Resentment's Virtue ranks among the candidates for becoming one of those books for theologians and philosophers of religion...It states its case clear and with a consistent and sufficient backing: it makes clear to the reader that to forgive others for atrocities and crimes might have severe consequences, and that it might even be in the interest of morality to refuse to forgive...Brudholm's book will be regarded as an important contribution" Ars Disputandi "A persuasive and compelling account that urges readers not simply to assume or to presume that forgiveness is the obvious best course. International Journal of Transitional Justice "[Brudholm's] analysis cuts across disciplines in order to bring to the surface discourses on forgiveness and resentment shared by law, ethics and psychology, and bring these into contact with victim testimony and Jean Amery's writings, which offer the position of both testimony and critical reflection... This is a timely book which has much to offer on the current scholarly debate on forgiveness." Holocaust Studies, Summer 2009 "[The] case studies are sublime investigations of the claim according to which forgiveness and reconciliation are (morally) superior to resentment and the refusal to forgive (and maybe especially) in the aftermath of collective violence and atrocities... The TRC [Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa] hearings are commented on convincingly by Brudholm. Many of the (original) quotes make impressive reading and provide direct insights into the problematic aspects of the ethics of reconciliation... Brudholm's book surely is an important contribution to the discussion on the ethics of forgiveness, and it might be called a brilliant analysis." The Journal of Moral Education Sept 2009 "Brudholm has written an excellent book, in every sense of the word 'excellent' (Aristos!). It deserves to be read by various audiences...Brudholm's book should be of interest not just to those interested in responses to mass atrocity; not just to those interested in transitional grasps for justice; not just to philosophers and psychologists; and not just to ethicists interested in moral emotions and behaviors. This book deserves to be read by a large group, including, most important, politicians, occupying powers, foreign ministries, and policy institutes." H-Net, Sept 2009 "In his thoughtful, elegant book Resentment's Virtue, Thomas Brudholm makes a powerful case for the appropriateness of resentment and the refusal to forgive... Brudholm's sensitive reading of Jean Amery will serve as a reminder that forgiveness must be earned-and that sometimes this is impossible."--Passions in Context issue 3, 2013
Arguing beyond hasty dichotomies and unexamined moral assumptions, Resentment's Virtue offers a more nuanced approach to an understanding of the reasons why survivors of mass atrocities sometimes harbour resentment and refuse to forgive. Building on a close examination of the writings of Holocaust-survivor Jean Améry, Brudholm argues that the preservation of resentment or the resistance to calls for forgiveness can be the reflex of a moral protest and ambition that might be as permissible, humane or honourable as the willingness to forgive.