On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society Paperback – Jun 22 2009
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About the Author
A former army Ranger and paratrooper, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman taught psychology at West Point and was the professor of Military Science at Arkansas State University.
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Top Customer Reviews
What surprises me is how little thought Grossman gives to evolutionary theories of killing and aggression. He briefly quotes Konrad Lorenz's work on aggression, but there are much more modern sources of aggression that could easily bolster his arguments (e.g., young men not wanting to lose face or status as a mating tactic). There is very interesting research to suggest that combat soldiers had more children than non-combat soldiers, despite their higher levels of mental problems. This suggests that the prestige of being in combat lends itself well to the Darwinian mating game. In other words, the brave soldier gets the girl, the coward gets nothing. Grossman's data is almost entirely either qualitative or quoted from other sources. This is why I gave the book four stars. As a scholarly effort, this book sadly falls short of its potential to be an absolute masterpiece in the field (at the same level of the book he frequently quotes- Dyer's "War").Read more ›
I learned many things, and I have to say this book changed the way I see certain things. It succeeded in opening my eyes to the things I used to consider normal. This is not a book speaking against violence; it speaks against the wrongful use of it and where the lines lay between right and wrong. I have suggested it to all those around me.
It is well written, clear and to the point. It is as unbiased as one can be when a soldier writes about war and killing. If you are interested in the real trade of the soldier or the political and social sciences this is a must read.
Anyone working with veterans or active service personnel, this book should be standard reading.
Most recent customer reviews
Awesome book. The sheep dogs will love this book. Highly recommended. Seen this guy speak at a seminar. He knows his stuff.Published 11 months ago by Mr R. Degray
I've reread the book several times & purchased the audio book too. Such a great wealth of information. I highly recommend the sequel On Combat.Published 11 months ago by Luc
There were a lot of interesting facts in this book and I liked how the author compared soldiers willingness to kill in different wars. I thought it was well written as well.Published 23 months ago by Kelsi
A marvelous read. It has revolutionary ideas about combat. It is something to think about when reading history. I am dazzled by the ideas put forward in the book.Published on Oct. 5 2014 by Joseph Cummins
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