On Apology

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Aaron Lazare, M.D., is the Chancellor and Dean, and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Massachusetts, whose work on humiliation and shame has brought him national attention. On Apology continues his exploration into one of the most intense and difficult of human interactions, the act of apology. Lazare demonstrates that not only have apologies grown in number over the past two decades, they have also grown in importance. He discusses both public and personal apologies throughout the book, and argues that they are similar in structure, process, and purpose.

In a clear and systematic manner, Lazare first defines apology, and then describes each step of the apology process: acknowledgment of the offense, remorse, explanations, and appropriate reparations. In addition, he explains how apologies heal, why people apologize, and the importance of timing in offering apologies. He also carefully describes why apologies sometimes fail. Using many cogent, relevant, and, at times, deeply moving examples to illustrate each of his points, Lazare creates a rare text, one that speaks to both the mind and the heart. The prose in this book are unfailingly beautiful and transparent, connecting directly to the reader without sacrificing the rigor of the study. While not a self-help text in the usual sense of the word, On Apology powerfully impacts its readers. This book is a treasure, offering both academic and lay readers rare analysis of and insight into the human condition.