On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society (Revised and Updated)
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by Dave Grossman
Category: General Nonfiction
Description: The good news is that the vast majority of soldiers is loath to kill in battle. Unfortunately, modern armies, using Pavlovian and operant conditioning, have developed sophisticated ways of overcoming this instinctive aversion. The psychological cost for soldiers, as witnessed by the increase in post-traumatic stress, is devastating. The psychological cost for the rest of us is even more so: contemporary civilian society, particularly the media, replicates the army's conditioning techniques and, according to Grossman's controversial thesis, is responsible for our rising rate of murder and violence, especially among the young. On Killing is an important study of the techniques the military uses to overcome the powerful reluctance to kill, of how killing affects the soldier, and of the societal implications of escalating violence.
eBook Publisher: E-Reads, 1995 e-reads
eBookwise Release Date: October 2002
23 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [532 KB]
Reading time: 330-462 min.
An astonishingly eye-opening, and ultimately very uplifting, book. We hear constantly that humans are nothing more than natural-born killers; it's very refreshing, especially in these trying times, to see someone so eloquently make the opposite case. An important and very readable book. -Robert J. Sawyer, Fictionwise Recommender
"Full of arresting observations and insights ... that makes you alter the way you have though about a certain subject.... A powerfully argued explanation."--New York Times
"An illuminating account of how soldiers learn to kill and how they live with the experience of having killed."--Washington Post
Introduction to the Revised Edition
Since the first publication of On Killing in 1995, the basic concepts set forth in this book have been validated and supported by a host of judges. In post-9/11 America, On Killing has become required reading at the FBI Academy, the DEA Academy, and a great many other law enforcement agencies nationwide. In the midst of conducting major wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the globe, the USMC has placed On Killing on the Commandant's Required Reading List, and the book is required reading at West Point, the U.S. Air Force NCO Academy, and many other military schools.
The harsh, unforgiving environment of warfare is a realm in which only the best and most valuable tactics, strategies, and ideas are preserved, and that which has no utility is quickly cast off. Wishful thinking and pie-in-the-sky theories are usually among the first victims of warfare.
In the daily crucible of combat experience, at home and abroad, On Killing has passed the ultimate acid test: it is being read and reread by countless thousands of warriors who are called upon by our nation to kill in combat.
And it is the single greatest honor of my life to have been of service to these magnificent men and women in their hour of need.
If you are a virgin preparing for your wedding night, if you or your partner are having sexual difficulties, or if you are just curious ... then there are hundreds of scholarly books available to you on the topic of sexuality. But if you are a young "virgin" soldier or law-enforcement officer anticipating your baptism of fire, if you are a veteran (or the spouse of a veteran) who is troubled by killing experiences, or if you are just curious ... then, on this topic, there has been absolutely nothing available in the way of scholarly study or writing.