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On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society Paperback – June 22, 2009
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Lt. Col. 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.
Col. Grossman is a former 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 has been termed "killology." In this new field Col. 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, 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 and numerous other academies and colleges. Col. Grossman co-authored Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie and Video Game Violence, which has been translated into Norwegian and German, and has received international acclaim. Col. Grossman's most recent book, On Combat, has also placed on the U.S. Marine Corps Commandant's Required Reading List and has been translated into Japanese and Korean.
Col. 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 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 100 different colleges and universities worldwide, and has trained educators and law enforcement professionals, in the field of school safety, at the state and regional level, in all 50 states and over a dozen foreign nations.
He helped train mental health professionals after the Jonesboro school shootings, and he was also involved in counseling or court cases in the aftermath of the Paducah, Springfield, Littleton, Virginia Tech, and Nickel Mines Amish school shootings.
He has been an expert witness and consultant in state and Federal courts, to include serving on the prosecution team in UNITED STATES vs. TIMOTHY MCVEIGH.
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 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.
Top Customer Reviews
The underlying thesis of "On Killing" is that mankind is instinctively hard wired Not To Kill. How I wish that was true, and yet our bloody record across recorded history and plenty of evidence even prior to recorded history shows the exact opposite. We are, by instinct "killer angels." Read "War Before Civilization" as but one counter argument. But directly to my concern about the author's sources. "SLAM" Marshall's reputation was built on alleged interviews, hundreds of them, immediately after combat during WWII in which he asserts that at least 75% of combat infantry never fired their weapons, thereby proving that soldiers, at least American soldiers abhor killing and try to avoid doing so even at the risk of their lives.Read more ›
The author was unconvincing in his arguments. It is clear from his cherry-picking of statistics that he wants us to believe that we live in a society of ever-increasing violence. Unfortunately for Grossman, US Department of Justice statistics contradict this assertion. According to DOJ numbers easily found through a Google search, violent crime rates (including homicide)in America skyrocketed from about 1960 to the early 1990s, but have been falling steadily since then. Would anyone argue that the use of violent video games in the US is falling steadily as well? He also fails to mention that certain societies with arguably even more violent video games than the US have much lower rates of violent crime than we do, for example Japan.
The author seems to rely heavily on a few secondary sources, particularly John Keegan's Face of Battle and Richard Holmes' Acts of War. His few primary sources include articles from Soldier of Fortune magazine; he appears to take them at face value that they are true, accurate first-person accounts of combat experiences. He claims that he himself conducted several hundred interviews of combat veterans, but didn't seem to use their accounts as sources.
His personal bias in on display here, but he seems unaware of it. He lionizes the American soldier. I served as an American soldier for two decades before retiring in 2001. I came to view my fellow soldiers as ordinary fallen beings sometimes performing unpleasant tasks in unpleasant places.Read more ›
He further talks about the distance involved making killing easier the farther away and less humanized a target is which i guess has makes some sense however, to use a hypothetical example. A trained soldier underneith an enemy at knife range is going to clearly go into condition red, revert to the lowest level of training (and survival) instinct and react to that situation in kind.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Most insightful description of the affect of war and combat on the psyche of the warrior. I would recommend to anyone who has not experienced the affects of combat. Read morePublished 4 days ago by MrWizard
This is an excellent read for people from all walks of life. Should be required reading for all friends and family of military members to help understand some of the difficulties... Read morePublished 6 days ago by Chuck Blair
This book takes you through the history of killing and explains modern military methods of increasing kill ratios but perhaps the most significant contribution of the research is... Read morePublished 24 days ago by Baybedl
This is required reading in military leadership courses and extremely insightful. I would strongly recommend this book for any service members (I'm a retired Soldier), law... Read morePublished 27 days ago by joshua b.
There are worthy sections and interesting ideas but overall it's a terribly sloppy book that lacks objectivity. Read morePublished 28 days ago by LittleBee