Buy Used
$7.70
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Gently used former library copy with the usual markings. Clear protective plastic over the dust jacket. Eligible for Prime shipping and FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $35. Overnight and 2-Day Shipping available.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

Doing Battle: The Making of a Skeptic Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0316297172 ISBN-10: 0316297178 Edition: 1st

See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$6.99 $0.01 $10.00

Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student



NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Big Spring Books
Editors' Picks in Spring Releases
Ready for some fresh reads? Browse our picks for Big Spring Books to please all kinds of readers.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Little Brown & Co (T); 1st edition (October 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316297178
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316297172
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,139,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

For most, World War II is nothing but a chapter in history--for most Americans, a rosy and happy one. But Paul Fussell, a novelist and WWII veteran, reminds us that only those who've experienced it can truly understand that war is hell. He writes with bite and humor of the horrors and inequalities of the so-called "Good War," which he says "for the United States, [was] an unintended form of eugenics, clearing the population of the dumbest, the least skilled, the least promising of all Americans." Not exactly the thoughts of a sentimentalist, but the notion that war is horrible should be eternally reinforced, and Fussell does so with a fury and skill few writers can muster.

From Publishers Weekly

War as a crucible of character: that is the theme of this searching, courageous memoir from Fussell, a National Book Award winner for The Great War and Modern Memory. Fussell, who grew up in the "highly privileged suburb" of Pasadena, Calif., was called to active duty in May 1943. Sent later that year to Europe as a 19-year-old Army infantry officer, he engaged in combat numerous times and, in March 1945, suffered shrapnel wounds in southeastern France. War began to change Fussell when, days after his arrival, he saw his first bodies: "My boyish illusions, largely intact to that moment of awakening, fell away all at once, and suddenly I knew that I was not and would never be in a world that was reasonable or just." When Fussell returned home after the war, he resolved "that I was finished with coercion and murder forever." That decision led him to academia, where he could enjoy a relatively unfettered life and independence of mind. Fussell traces the effects of war on his later activities, covering his personal life, his teaching and his writing. Experiences of a half century ago continue to haunt the author: "sometimes," he confesses, "I waste time devising wild schemes of revenge against the Germans." The primary focus here, however, is on those experiences themselves, presented in unflinching prose as Fussell offers a moving testimony to the indelible place of WWII in the life not only of one man, but of a generation. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
13
4 star
6
3 star
0
2 star
2
1 star
3
See all 24 customer reviews
It is a rare book in that it is scholarly as well as a good, quick read.
Ralph Peters
I look forward to reading biographies of him in the future, but this book is the one he should always be remembered by.
Tadhg McGrath
Readers looking for a contrarian view of World War II should read Fussell's Wartime, one of my favorite books.
Thomas B. Gross

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 30, 1998
Format: Paperback
Fussell's work is searingly honest and forthright. He treats war as the unrelieved hell it is, not from the position of those who favor war, or those who are opposed to it, but from those who are on the ground doing the fighting and the dying.And more than this, his book also addresses the corrosive influences of money, advertising, and authoritarianism that has replaced critical thought and learning in this country. We have become the Faustian culture that we were warned about half a century ago---the culture that replaces all its values of honesty, integrity, achievement, learning, for material gain that eats away at the foundations of culture. And yet we will survive; for like the lonely priests who in the year 1100 kept the ancient world alive in remote places like Ireland and Spain, thinkers and writers like Fussell are preserving culture and ideals against the onslaught of modern day Visigoths who have decamped in the courtyard. A singular achievement that is moving and provocative. Only ninnies at the Kirkus Review would be bothered by such blatant honesty.
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 26, 1998
Format: Paperback
I'm not a literary person, I can't spell well, and I am not an infantryman. I was in the Army during the Viet Nam war, and I have a broad range on interests. I didn't choose this book, it was a gift. But it is one of the most moving books I have ever read.
Fussell is a critic, and he indirectly claims that his experiences in WWII were "the making of a skeptic" - and maybe it was. It is fantastic to see him skewer all forms of phoneyness and cover-up - including his own. You also get the impression that he is an uncompromising and very interesting character - but not fun or easy to get along with.
A real career combat infantryman I know had glanced at the book and claimed that Fussell just didn't understand Sherman's quote, "War is hell" and whined too much. I agreed that there was some truth to the criticism, but I got him to read the whole thing. His opinion changed dramatically for the better.
O.K., it is pretty much negative, but you can see underneath all that, he loves life, infantrymen, and people who try their very best and have honor. One of the few heros in the book is Gen. Eisenhower - but he is critical of President Eisenhower. It's a complex book, and he's a complex man. Get a glimpse inside him by reading this book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Peters on December 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
Doing Battle is an excellent book for these troubling times. Though obviously a prickly sort, Fussell his kept his critical faculties intact and properly skewers ineptitude, careerists, rationalizers, martinets, and soft-headedness. The center-piece of this autobiography is Fussell's experience as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army in France and Germany in WWII. Fussell takes aim at the military - recounting the caprices and cruel arbitrariness of his own service with a scalpel-like pen.
Fussell also has little use for the beer-fueled sports culture that now dominates the American cultural landscape. He is first and foremost a defender of elitism - not an elitism based on social or economic class, but based on what and how one thinks and comports oneself in doing the tasks of daily life. Doing Battle is about honor and integrity, with Fussell having been lucky enough, or bright enough, to have had a series of teaching jobs that allowed his convictions and sense of honor and self to survive largely intact.
Fussell writes beautifully and movingly. He also lays himself bare in Doing Battle. It is a rare book in that it is scholarly as well as a good, quick read. The influence of Mencken is clearly felt. You put the book down at the end regretfully. You then begin the processs of recommending it to your special friends - the ones that you think will "understand."
I recommend the book highly.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
Since "Class" and "The Dumbing of America" are the only two of Fussell's books I've ever read, I was expecting more cranky musings of the "Catch-22" variety. This book both delighted and surprised me. It takes to task the revisionist history that American soldiers in WWII were intrinsically noble and motivated only by ideals. While this is a comforting notion, it is also an unlikely one. It may cause discomfort that Fussell refuses to deify the American vet of the second world war, since the "goodness" of that conflict is an idea embraced by our culture. The fact that incompetence and cowardice were also part of the story may not be palatable, but I'm impressed by the author's honesty in presenting his own experience. To those who take exception to some of the "facts" in this book, it is important to point out that this is a memoir not a history. In whatever way the author chooses to remember "his" war is entirely legitimate.
My only objection to "Doing Battle" is that it seemed to be two books. I would have preferred that it end with his release from the army. While the last chapters were engaging, they were to me somewhat gratuitous. The author's adventures in academia could be a book in itself.
I read it in one sitting and was sad to finish it.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Product Images from Customers

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search
ARRAY(0xa0ac8be8)