Upon its initial publication, "On Killing" was hailed as a landmark study of the techniques the military uses to overcome the powerful reluctance to kill. Now, Grossman has updated this classic work to include information on 21st-century military techniques.Upon its initial publication, "On Killing" was hailed as a landmark study of the techniques the military uses to overcome the powerful reluctance to kill. Now, Grossman has updated this classic work to include information on 21st-century military techniques.Read Less
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My Dad, Neil Alexander Kelley, fought the Japanese in WWII. He was an emotionally detached father and he only told me one word about his combat experience. One day, when he was watching baseball in the early Sixties, I popped the impertinent question "Dad? How many Japs did you kill?". His locked jaw expression didn't change and he said flatly "Eight.". Years later I learned that Neil was a member of the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion. The Marine Raiders were our first Special Forces. He fought in some of the bloodiest battles of the war in the jungles of Bouganville, the beaches of Guam and the hills of Okinawa. The killing he did was at close range. This book explains why my Dad took his own life in 1967.
The author, and ex-Army Ranger, couldn't have better credentials. His logic is irrefutable and the writing is crisp. Thanks to this book, I now understand why I had so little time with my Dad. Thanks to this book, I now understand the sacrifice that he made to defend his country.
Jul 31, 2008
A highly recommend book for any person interested in the under-researched field of the psychology of killing. Anyone who may have to kill as part of their duty (e.g., military, law enforcement, citizen protecting him/herself) will benefit from this book. For those who embody in modern society a warrior ethos, this will complete your libary!
Jan 3, 2008
8The Ugly Truth of War
This book, written by a combat veteran, breaks down various wars and shows that most human beings, who, being placed in the role of soldier, either by volunteering, or by draft, have very little interest in killing other human beings if at all possible. The true killers, as the author states, are the ones who are able to disassociate the fact that they are killing, or in some cases, murdering, their fellow man.
LTC Grossman then goes into the dichotomy of how combat action affects the individual based upon their relative distance to the soldiers of the enemy whom they are having to shoot; from the grunt on the ground; and those who have to deal the most with PTSD, to the bomber pilots who feel nothing from their job, because they are dropping their lethal loads to coordinates on a map. The further you are away from your target, the less guilt you'll feel afterwards. I am a retired soldier and highly recommend this book to patriots and pacifists alike; as both sides will find common grounds that they had not previously considered.
Publishers Weekly, 1995-08-28 Drawing on interviews, published personal accounts and academic studies, Grossman investigates the psychology of killing in combat. Stressing that human beings have a powerful, innate resistance to the taking of life, he examines the techniques developed by the military to overcome that aversion. His provocative study focuses in particular on the Vietnam war, revealing how the American soldier was ``enabled to kill to a far greater degree than any other soldier in history.'' Grossman argues that the breakdown of American society, combined with the pervasive violence in the media and interactive video games, is conditioning our children to kill in a manner siimilar to the army's conditioning of soldiers: ``We are reaching that stage of desensitization at which the infliction of pain and suffering has become a source of entertainment: vicarious pleasure rather than revulsion. We are learning to kill, and we are learning to like it.'' Grossman, a professor of military science at Arkansas State University, has written a study of relevance to a society of escalating violence. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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