On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society

Open Road Media
86
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A controversial psychological examination of how soldiers’ willingness to kill has been encouraged and exploited to the detriment of contemporary civilian society.
 
Psychologist and US Army Ranger Dave Grossman writes that the vast majority of soldiers are loath to pull the trigger in battle. Unfortunately, modern armies, using Pavlovian and operant conditioning, have developed sophisticated ways of overcoming this instinctive aversion.
 
The mental cost for members of the military, as witnessed by the increase in post-traumatic stress, is devastating. The sociological cost for the rest of us is even worse: Contemporary civilian society, particularly the media, replicates the army’s conditioning techniques and, Grossman argues, is responsible for the rising rate of murder and violence, especially among the young.
 
Drawing from interviews, personal accounts, and academic studies, On Killing is an important look at 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.
 
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About the author

A former army Ranger and paratrooper, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman taught psychology at West Point and is currently the Professor of Military Science at Arkansas State University.

The author's website, Killology Reasearch Group, amplifies and extends the material covered in the book and is regularly updated with new, topical information on the subject.
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4.3
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
Apr 1, 2014
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9781497629202
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / General
Psychology / Social Psychology
Social Science / Violence in Society
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Psychology is the science that will determine who wins and who loses the wars of the 21st century, just as physics ultimately led the United States to victory in World War II. Changes in the world's political landscape coupled with radical advances in the technology of war will greatly alter how militaries are formed, trained, and led. Leadership under fire - and the traits and skills it requires - is also changing. Grant, Lee, Pershing, Patton - these generals would not succeed in 21st century conflicts. In Head Strong: How Psychology Is Revolutionizing War, Michael D. Matthews explores the many ways that psychology will make the difference for wars yet to come, from revolutionary advances in soldier selection and training to new ways of preparing soldiers to remain resilient in the face of horror and to engineering the super-soldier of the future. These advancements will ripple out to impact on the lives of all of us, not just soldiers. Amputees will have "intelligent" life-like prosthetics that simulate the feel and function of a real limb. Those exposed to trauma will have new and more effective remedies to prevent or treat post-traumatic stress disorder. And a revolution in training - based heavily in the military's increasing reliance on immersive simulations - will radically alter how police, fire, and first-responder personnel are trained in the future. At its heart, war is the most human of endeavors. Psychology, as the science of human behavior, will prove essential to success in future war. Authored by a West Point military psychologist, this book is one of the first to expose us to the smarter wars, and the world around them, to come.
A brilliant and provocative exploration of the interconnection of private life and the large-scale horrors of war and devastation.

A Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, and a winner of the Bay Area Book Reviewers Association Award, Susan Griffin’s A Chorus of Stones is an extraordinary reevaluation of history that explores the links between individual lives and catastrophic, world-altering violence. One of the most acclaimed and poetic voices of contemporary American feminism, Griffin delves into the perspective of those whose personal relationships and family histories were profoundly influenced by war and its often secret mechanisms: the bomb-maker and the bombing victim, the soldier and the pacifist, the grand architects who were shaped by personal experience and in turn reshaped the world.
 
Declaring that “each solitary story belongs to a larger story”—and beginning with the brutal and heartbreaking circumstances of her own childhood—Griffin examines how the subtle dynamics of parenthood, childhood, and marriage interweave with the monumental violence of global conflict. She proffers a bold and powerful new understanding of the psychology of war through illuminating glimpses into the personal lives of Ernest Hemingway, Mahatma Gandhi, Heinrich Himmler, British officer Sir Hugh Trenchard, and other historic figures—as well as the munitions workers at Oak Ridge, a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing, and other humbler yet indispensible witnesses to history.
 
Hundreds of thousands of children are forced or legally recruited combatants in no fewer than 70 warring parties across the world. In addition to these child soldiers, thousands of youth voluntarily participate in politically related conflict. Why, how, and in what capacities are such large numbers of teenagers involved in war and how are they affected? Adolescents and War brings together world experts in an evidence-based volume to thoroughly understand and document the intricacies of youth who have had substantial involvement in political violence. Contributors argue that the assumption that youth are automatically debilitated by the violence they experience is much too simplistic: effective care for youth must include an awareness of their motives and beliefs, the roles they played in the conflict, their relationships with others, and the opportunities available to them after their experiences with war. The book suggests that the meaning youth make of a conflict may protect them from mental harm. For example, Palestinian teens who were actively engaged in the first Intifada have fared better than Bosnian teens who were virtual sitting ducks to the sniper and grenade launches of the hidden forces during the siege of Sarajevo. Covering youth involvement in conflicts in Afghanistan, Angola, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine, and Bosnia, the volume will be of interest to psychologists, sociologists, and political scientists and should be adopted for courses in social psychology, crisis intervention, and international conflict.
The author of the 400,000-copy bestseller On Killing reveals how violent video games have ushered in a new era of mass homicide--and what we must do about it.

Paducah, Kentucky, 1997: a 14-year-old boy shoots eight students in a prayer circle at his school. Littleton, Colorado, 1999: two high school seniors kill a teacher, twelve other students, and then themselves. Utoya, Norway, 2011: a political extremist shoots and kills sixty-nine participants in a youth summer camp. Newtown, Connecticut, 2012: a troubled 20-year-old man kills 20 children and six adults at the elementary school he once attended.

What links these and other horrific acts of mass murder? A young person's obsession with video games that teach to kill.

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, who in his perennial bestseller On Killing revealed that most of us are not "natural born killers" -- and who has spent decades training soldiers, police, and others who keep us secure to overcome the intrinsic human resistance to harming others and to use firearms responsibly when necessary -- turns a laser focus on the threat posed to our society by violent video games.

Drawing on crime statistics, cutting-edge social research, and scientific studies of the teenage brain, Col. Grossman shows how video games that depict antisocial, misanthropic, casually savage behavior can warp the mind -- with potentially deadly results. His book will become the focus of a new national conversation about video games and the epidemic of mass murders that they have unleashed.
There is perhaps no bigger or more important issue in America at present than youth violence. Columbine, Sandy Hook, Aurora: We know them all too well, and for all the wrong reasons: kids, some as young as eleven years old, taking up arms and, with deadly, frightening accuracy, murdering anyone in their paths. What is going on? According to the authors of Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill, there is blame to be laid right at the feet of the makers of violent video games (called "murder trainers" by one expert), the TV networks, and the Hollywood movie studios--the people responsible for the fact that children witness literally thousands of violent images a day.

Authors Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and Gloria DeGaetano offer incontrovertible evidence, much of it based on recent major scientific studies and empirical research, that movies, TV, and video games are not just conditioning children to be violent--and unaware of the consequences of that violence--but are teaching the very mechanics of killing. Their book is a much-needed call to action for every parent, teacher, and citizen to help our children and stop the wave of killing and violence gripping America's youth. And, most important, it is a blueprint for us all on how that can be achieved.

In Paducah, Kentucky, Michael Carneal, a fourteen-year-old boy who stole a gun from a neighbor's house, brought it to school and fired eight shots at a student prayer group as they were breaking up. Prior to this event, he had never shot a real gun before. Of the eight shots he fired, he had eight hits on eight different kids. Five were head shots, the other three upper torso. The result was three dead, one paralyzed for life. The FBI says that the average, experienced, qualified law enforcement officer, in the average shootout, at an average range of seven yards, hits with less than one bullet in five. How does a child acquire such killing ability? What would lead him to go out and commit such a horrific act?
The Virtual-Reality Mercenaries of
A Boy and His Tank Face a New Menace
¾and There's Nothing Virtual About It!

First, the involuntary colonists of New Kashubia rescued their planet from crushing debt by becoming virtual-reality mercenaries, then they successfully revolted against the oppressive government of Earth, but now they are menaced by the Mitchegai, a species whose biology has made them inherently evil. The carnivorous adults lay and abandon vast numbers of eggs, some of which grow into vegetarian juveniles, which are the adults' only food supply. Their culture has no family life, they eat only meat, have nothing like sex., and their main pleasures are gambling, art, and killing each other. They are an ancient civilization, millions of years old, with thousands of densely populated star systems in their realm. Lacking an immune system, they must completely sterilize any planet before they colonize it. The region of the galaxy they occupy is rapidly expanding . . . and Human Space is their next frontier!

At the publisher's request, this title is sold without DRM (Digital Rights Management).

Praise for Leo Frankowski and A Boy and His Tank

"When I teach science fiction, I use Frankowski's books as an example of how to do it right." ¾Gene Wolfe

". . . a literate military adventure laced with political allegory¾and a great deal of fun." ¾Starlog

". . . the action is gripping, and there are plenty of novel twists and ironic moments." ¾Locus

"A blend of Keith Laumer's Bolos and David Drake's Slammers. . . ." ¾Science Fiction Chronicle
Stephen E. Ambrose’s iconic New York Times bestseller about the ordinary men who became the World War II’s most extraordinary soldiers: Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, US Army.

They came together, citizen soldiers, in the summer of 1942, drawn to Airborne by the $50 monthly bonus and a desire to be better than the other guy. And at its peak—in Holland and the Ardennes—Easy Company was as good a rifle company as any in the world.

From the rigorous training in Georgia in 1942 to the disbanding in 1945, Stephen E. Ambrose tells the story of this remarkable company. In combat, the reward for a job well done is the next tough assignment, and as they advanced through Europe, the men of Easy kept getting the tough assignments.

They parachuted into France early D-Day morning and knocked out a battery of four 105 mm cannon looking down Utah Beach; they parachuted into Holland during the Arnhem campaign; they were the Battered Bastards of the Bastion of Bastogne, brought in to hold the line, although surrounded, in the Battle of the Bulge; and then they spearheaded the counteroffensive. Finally, they captured Hitler's Bavarian outpost, his Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden.

They were rough-and-ready guys, battered by the Depression, mistrustful and suspicious. They drank too much French wine, looted too many German cameras and watches, and fought too often with other GIs. But in training and combat they learned selflessness and found the closest brotherhood they ever knew. They discovered that in war, men who loved life would give their lives for them.

This is the story of the men who fought, of the martinet they hated who trained them well, and of the captain they loved who led them. E Company was a company of men who went hungry, froze, and died for each other, a company that took 150 percent casualties, a company where the Purple Heart was not a medal—it was a badge of office.
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