Saturday, January 09, 2010

On Killing: The psychological cost of learning to kill in war and society, by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman

I read this book in hopes of getting some insight into the war atrocities that routinely accompanied the sack of cities in pre-modern warfare. This book, however, was surprisingly weak on war crimes. It's much better on the psychological barriers to killing in warfare, how such reluctance can be overcome, and what the long-term price is.

If anyone can direct me to the book I am really looking for, I'd appreciate it.

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Anonymous Robert said...

"On Killing" is not "surprisingly little" on war crimes because the whole angle of the book is about the institutionalisation and sociocultural conditioning of and for killing in the context of warfare. I take your point, though. My own view is that "On Killing" makes for a very good auxiliary reading about war crimes. "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" by Edward Gibbon might well be a prescriptive starting point (if perhaps a bit too classical and literary) - but, of course, you're clearly at a much higher level of interest for that. In my own experience, I have never found any definitive work that covers war crimes with a bird's eye view. I, too, would be interested if you have any titles to recommend. Thanks and cheers from Hong Kong, Robert.

1:27 PM  
Blogger STAG said...

Shake Hands with the Devil by Romeo Delaire...

Might be a little too first person for your needs though.

4:16 AM  
Anonymous Ken Mondschein said...

Brown, "Ordinary Men."

9:18 AM  

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