On killing: the psychological cost of learning to kill in war and society

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The twentieth century, with its bloody world wars, revolutions, and genocides accounting for hundreds of millions dead, would seem to prove that human beings are incredibly vicious predators and that killing is as natural as eating. But Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman, a psychologist and U.S. Army Ranger, demonstrates this is not the case. The good news, according to Grossman - drawing on dozens of interviews, first-person reports, and historic studies of combat, ranging from Frederick the Great's battles in the eighteenth century through Vietnam - is that the vast majority of soldiers are loath to kill. In World War II, for instance, only 15 to 25 percent of combat infantry were willing to fire their rifles. The provocative news is that modern armies, using Pavlovian and operant conditioning, have learned how to overcome this reluctance. In Korea about 50 percent of combat infantry were willing to shoot, and in Vietnam the figure rose to over 90 percent. The bad news is that by conditioning soldiers to overcome their instinctive loathing of killing, we have drastically increased post-combat stress - witness the devastated psychological state of our Vietnam vets as compared with those from earlier wars. And the truly terrible news is that contemporary civilian society, particularly the media, replicates the army's conditioning techniques and - according to Grossman's controversial thesis - is responsible for our rising rates of murder and violence, particularly among the young. In the explosive last section of the book, he argues that high-body-count movies, television violence (both news and entertainment), and interactive point-and-shoot video games are dangerously similar to thetraining programs that dehumanize the enemy, desensitize soldiers to the psychological ramifications of killing, and make pulling the trigger an automatic response.
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Grouped Work ID 6148ab81-af4b-b32c-269f-578bc002125c
Full title on killing the psychological cost of learning to kill in war and society
Author grossman dave
Grouping Category book
Last Update 2018-06-23 23:30:12PM
Last Indexed 2018-06-23 23:58:42PM

Solr Details

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author Grossman, Dave.
author_display Grossman, Dave
available_at_catalog Main Kids, Main Library
collection_catalog Non-Fiction
detailed_location_catalog Main Library - Adult Non-Fiction
display_description Updated to include information on twenty-first century military conflicts, recent crime rates, suicide bombings, school shootings, and much more, this account looks at the techniques the military uses to overcome soldiers' reluctance to kill and examines the psychological cost on fighting men and women as well as the detrimental effects on society.
format_catalog Book, eAudiobook, eBook
format_category_catalog Audio Books, Books, eBook
id 6148ab81-af4b-b32c-269f-578bc002125c
isbn 9780316040938, 9781497629202, 9781607887997
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literary_form_full Non Fiction
local_callnumber_catalog 355 G8787o 2009
owning_library_catalog Nashville Public Library
owning_location_catalog Main Kids, Main Library
primary_isbn 9780316040938
publishDate 2009, 2014
record_details ils:CARL0000486161|Book|Books|Rev. ed.|English|Little, Brown and Co.,|2009.|xxxvi, 377 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm., overdrive:8dedf581-b62a-4737-9b7d-1cdf80d4e8d6|eBook|eBook||English|Open Road Media|2014|, overdrive:c7c9c68a-781f-447b-b009-e3397715760a|eAudiobook|Audio Books||English|Hachette Audio||
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subject_facet Combat -- Psychological aspects, Homicide -- Psychological aspects, Psychology, Military, Violence -- Psychological aspects, Violence -- Social aspects
title_display On killing : the psychological cost of learning to kill in war and society
title_full On Killing The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society, On killing : the psychological cost of learning to kill in war and society / Dave Grossman
title_short On killing :
title_sub the psychological cost of learning to kill in war and society
topic_facet Combat, Homicide, Nonfiction, Politics, Psychological aspects, Psychology, Psychology, Military, Social aspects, Sociology, Violence