04 April 2014

On Killing Series

LtCol Grossman is a former West Point psychology professor, Professor of Military Science, and an Army Ranger. He is the author of On Killing, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; has been translated into Japanese, Korean, and German; is on the U.S. Marine Corps Commandant's required reading list; and is required reading at the FBI academy, West Point and other military schools.

On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society by LtCol Dave Grossman, 2009, Excerpts

Killing comes with a price, and societies must learn that their soldiers will have to spend the rest of their lives living with what they have done. Society must now begin to understand the enormity of the price and process of killing in combat. By manipulating variables, modern armies direct the flow of violence, turning killing on and off like a faucet. But this is a delicate and dangerous process. Too much, and you end up with a My Lai, which can undermine your efforts. Too little, and your soldiers will be defeated and killed by someone who is more aggressively disposed.

The armed forces of every country can take almost any young male civilian and turn him into a soldier with all the right reflexes and attitudes in only a few weeks. Their recruits usually have no more than twenty years’ experience of the world, most of it as children, while the armies have had all of history to practice and perfect their technique. This stage in an adolescent’s psychological and social development is a crucial period in which the individual establishes a stable and enduring personality structure and sense of self.

A Few Bad Apples – In the News

Duty to One’s Country - All Quiet on the Western Front
Death Before Dishonor - Johnny Got His Gun

Shell Shock Battle Fatigue – Brave New World

Atrocity by Violence, Atrocity by Policy
Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer, 2010, Excerpts

Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland by Christopher R. Browning, 1993, Excerpts

A Clash of Kings

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