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On Combat, The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace [Paperback]

by Dave Grossman, Loren W. Christensen
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (320 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 1, 2008 0964920549 978-0964920545 3rd
On Combat looks at what happens to the human body under the stresses of deadly battle the impact on the nervous system, heart, breathing, visual and auditory perception, memory - then discusses new research findings as to what measures warriors can take to prevent such debilitations so they can stay in the fight, survive, and win. A brief, but insightful look at history shows the evolution of combat, the development of the physical and psychological leverage that enables humans to kill other humans, followed by an objective examination of domestic violence in America. The authors reveal the nature of the warrior, brave men and women who train their minds and bodies to go to that place from which others flee. After examining the incredible impact of a few true warriors in battle, On Combat presents new and exciting research as to how to train the mind to become inoculated to stress, fear and even pain. Expanding on Lt. Col. Grossman s popular "Bulletproof mind" presentation, the book explores what really happens to the warrior after the battle, and shows how emotions, such as relief and self-blame, are natural and healthy ways to feel about having survived combat. A fresh and highly informative look at post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) details how to prevent it, how to survive it should it happen, how to come out of it stronger, and how to help others who are experiencing it. On Combat looks at the critical importance of the debriefing, when warriors gather after the battle to share what happened, critique, learn from each other and, for some, begin to heal from the horror. The reader will learn a highly effective breathing technique that not only steadies the warrior s mind and body before and during the battle, but can also be used afterwards as a powerful healing device to help separate the emotion from the memory. Concluding chapters discuss the Christian/Judeo view of killing in combat and offers powerful insight that Lt. Col. Grossman has imparted over the years to help thousands of warriors understand and come to terms with their actions in battle. A final chapter encourages warriors to always fight for justice, not vengeance, so that their remaining days will be healthy ones filled with pride for having performed their duty morally and ethically. This information-packed book ploughs new ground in its vision, in its extensive new research and startling findings, and in its powerful, revealing quotes and anecdotes from top people in the warrior community, people who have faced the toxic environment of deadly combat and now share their wisdom to help others. On Combat is easy to read and powerful in scope. It is a true classic that will be read by new and veteran warriors for years to come.

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On Combat, The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace + On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society + Warrior Mindset
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman is an internationally recognized scholar, author, soldier, and speaker who is one of the world s foremost experts in the field of human aggression and the roots of violence and violent crime. Colonel Grossman is a West Point psychology professor, Professor of Military Science, and an Army Ranger who has combined his experiences to become the founder of a new field of scientific endeavor, which he has termed killology. In this new field Colonel Grossman has made revolutionary new contributions to our understanding of killing in war, the psychological costs of war, the root causes of the current "virus" of violent crime that is raging around the world, and the process of healing the victims of violence, in war and peace. He is the author of On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and is required reading in classes at West Point, the U.S. Air Force Academy, police academies worldwide, and peace studies programs in numerous universities and colleges. Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie and Video Game Violence, co-authored with Gloria DeGaetano, has received international acclaim. Colonel Grossman s book On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace, now in its third edition, is on the USMC Commandant's required reading list and is required reading at the DEA Academy. Colonel Grossman has been called upon to write the entry on Aggression and Violence in the Oxford Companion to American Military History, three entries in the Academic Press Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace and Conflict and numerous entries in scholarly journals, to include the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. He has presented papers before the national conventions of the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. He has presented to over 40 different colleges and universities world-wide. He has served as an expert witness and consultant in state and Federal courts, to include United States vs. Timothy McVeigh. He helped train mental health professionals after the Jonesboro school shootings, and he was also involved in counseling, training, or court cases in the aftermath of the school shootings at Paducah, Springfield, Littleton, Nickel Mines Amish School, and Virginia Tech. He has testified before U.S. Senate and Congressional committees and numerous state legislatures, and he and his research have been cited in a national address by the President of the United States. Col. Grossman is an Airborne Ranger infantry officer, and a prior-service sergeant and paratrooper, with a total of over 23 years experience in leading U.S. soldiers worldwide. He retired from the Army in February 1998 and has devoted himself full-time to teaching, writing, speaking, and research. Today he is the director of the Killology Research Group, and in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks he is on the road almost 300 days a year, training elite military and law enforcement organizations worldwide about the reality of combat.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 403 pages
  • Publisher: Warrior Science Publications; 3rd edition (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0964920549
  • ISBN-13: 978-0964920545
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (320 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
238 of 254 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! November 8, 2004
Format:Paperback
Advertising for this marvelous work states, "a ground-breaking examination of what it takes to perform, cope and survive in the toxicity of deadly combat as a soldier in a foreign land and a police officer in the mean streets of urban America." It really is all that, and more... Outstanding isn't a strong enough word to describe it.

If you are a soldier, a police officer, a martial artist, the holder of a concealed weapons permit, or just live in a bad neighborhood you really ought to read this book. Both authors really know what they're talking about, clearly able to articulate hard won wisdom in this well-written and comprehensive tome. Their thought-provoking, insightful work definitively examines every aspect of the psychology and physiology of deadly conflict.

The book begins by describing what happens to a person anatomically during a battle then covers the perceptual distortions that take place in combat. Having done college studies on eyewitness testimony and psychology and the law I recognize and agree with many of their points. The second half of the book covers why people put themselves in harms way and what happens to them after the smoke clears. It talks about post traumatic stress disorder, survivor's guilt, and a host of related subjects. I particularly liked the section on the Judeo/Christian views of killing which really help warriors understand and come to grips with their actions in battle - be it on the field of war, a city street, or even in their own back yard.

The research is great. The various vignettes and quotes are quite interesting. Even if you are never involved in a deadly encounter it really helps you understand and have a new appreciation for those who are.
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322 of 351 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST read for all "warriors". March 26, 2005
Format:Paperback
This book explores in detail what physically and mentally happens to most people when confronted with a deadly threat. Both authors have written previous books dealing with this subject. This collaboration brings together the best both have to offer.

Col. Grossman has an extensive military background as a member of the Army Rangers. His book, On Killing, was written over a decade ago and is still one of the definitive words on the subject. Through research and interviews, Col. Grossman was able to open a window into the soul of a "warrior" and explain why even when directly threatened, it is not a simple thing to take another human beings life.

Loren Christensen is a former police office and co-author of another excellent use of force book, Deadly Force Encounters. That book focused on law enforcement experiences with lethal force. Again through interviews and research, Christensen, and his co-author Dr. Alexis Artwohl, gave a human face to the peace officer forced to kill.

On Combat combines the world of the military combat veteran with that of the police officer. The authors contention is that both are worthy of the term "warrior". The "warrior" is the 1% who protects the 98% from the remaining 1% who would do them harm.

The book is divided into four sections. Each section deals with a different aspect of combat but always from the perspective of how a human deals with combat.

The first section is titled, "The Physiology of Combat: The Anatomy of the Human Body in Battle". The authors describe a basic element of combat as the "Universal Human Phobia". That phobia is the innate human aversion to killing one of their own.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read For All Cops & Soldiers May 27, 2005
Format:Paperback
After reading "ON COMBAT", I bought 2 more copies for relatives in law enforcement and another 8 copies for the Sheriff's Office I work for. As a person with over 25 years in law enforcement and a tour in Vietnam, I highly recommend this book for anyone in law enforcement, the military, and their families.

It not only provides a wealth of information on surviving deadly force encounters, both physically and mentally, but it does so in a very easy to read format. Everyone I loan my copy to says they hate to put it down once they start it.

The book contains many insightful first-hand accounts from people who have been in deadly force encounters.

I was so impressed with the book, I added a 1 hour segment to my law enforcement 1st Aid /CPR courses to share highlights from "On Combat" with my fellow officers because it offers much that can enhance their safety and their well being.

The section dealing with the influence of violent video games on our children and their desensitization to violent behavior is something every parent should know.

If you are a cop, a soldier, or a trainer of either, this book should be required reading!
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
By Abbi
Format:Paperback
Overall a very good book which breaks down the effects of combat into detail. The book is divided in to four chapters:

1: The Physiology of Combat:The anatomy of the Human body in Battle.

This section gives a great insight into rationalising combat (those working with the law e.g. police, army etc.) the effects of experiencing a tramatic situation and analysing different levels of fear.

2: Perceptual distortions in combat: An Altered State of consciousness.

Very interesting section of the book, examines some of the reactions a person may experience during combat such as slow motion time. This part of the book is most appealing as anyone can read and take on board the various effects and be better prepared if they are ever in a violent/fearful situation.

3: The call to combat: Where do we get such men?

This section gives an insight into army/police training how to overcome stress and fear. It can also be applied by the average reader if they engage in any martial arts or other contact sport. Throw's light on the strength and will to live in near death situations and how mental attitude can carry you to surviving a dangerous situation.

4: The price of combat: After the smoke clears

This section examines the after effects of combat and is mainly applicable to those returning from war or were in the army. Some still carry the burden of what they saw, did or didnt do etc and gives tips on how to help them re-integrate in 'normal' society.

Overall, the book was an interesting read, a lot of examples used are American (as is the book) and would be great for anyone working in law enforcement/ the army.

For the average person reading this book most of it is interesting.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Audio Book
Thank you, LTC Grossman for explaining so much about the physiology of combat. I highly recommend this audio book especially for anyone/everyone in law enforcement or military.
Published 2 days ago by Kerry
5.0 out of 5 stars How many stars? Can I give 27?
This book is a must read for anyone who intends to go into harm's way. And also for those who dont. Nothing short of completely outstanding. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Leebotwo
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT BOOK!! A MUST READ FOR MILITARY AND LAW ENFORCEMENT
A must read for all military and law enforcement!! You will learn a lot about yourself in this book, a lot about others, and why we are the way we are as warriors!
Published 12 days ago by Jerome Stewart
4.0 out of 5 stars Good study from one of the best in the field
Excellent book that goes from discussing the physiology, to the psychology, and finally to the emotional and psychological aftermath of deadly combat. Lt-Col. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Scott McKeon
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
One awesome book that is well worth the money and then some. Highly recommended for people who are considering joining any kind of law enforcement, security or military... Read more
Published 21 days ago by justafan
5.0 out of 5 stars On Combat, The pschology and physiology of deadly conflict in war and...
Excellent book from a inspirational lecturer. Good material that keeps your interest throughout the book. A must read for the line level law enforcement professional.
Published 21 days ago by Augie Zigon
5.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff.
I wish I could find time to finish this book. As an armed citizen and police hopeful, this has helped me understand experiences I've already had and helped shed light on how I may... Read more
Published 27 days ago by Sean
5.0 out of 5 stars On Combat
A startling glance beyond the pain that we as warriors of all walks have suffered. The colonel spells it out simply and in great detail I cannot thank him enough!
Published 29 days ago by Julie
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book
Two chapters in and I am glad I bought it. This is an earnest look at what war is made of and the effect on fragile human body and mind. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Gary Burgdorf
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book. Will have to read Dave's others now as I really like...
This book helped me understand more about who I am and why. I'm very satisfied with these findings, and they make other life events clearer and easier to make sense of. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ray Lindstrom
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