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The Warriors: Reflections on Men in Battle

23 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0803270763
ISBN-10: 0803270763
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[A] classic."—Philip Caputo, Washington Post
(Philip Caputo Washington Post 2010-05-09)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Bison Books (October 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803270763
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803270763
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
Gray served in the intelligence service in the American army in Italy in WWII, after receiving his doctorate from Columbia. He saw many things he despised, yet was surprised to note that war also had its delights. On reflection, he realized that was logical. Without positives why would we war? This book details the seductive elements of war, explaining some of the feelings many of us have in viewing and studying combat of all sorts. Without understanding those feelings, we are more likely to dismiss them as only shameful and deceptive. Understanding them will help us, Gray hoped, to avoid the terrible cost of seeking them by warring again. This is probably the best book on why we war and the surprising things war teaches us about ourselves ever written. And its style is neither pedantic nor abstract but engaging and enriched by memorable stories and wisdom.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Ward Wilson (ward@hayesgroup.net) on October 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
I haven't read this book for twenty years but it still sparkles in my memory. It is one of the two or three best books on war. Grey has a marvelous writing style, a penchant for thought-provoking observation, and the discipline that allows a philosopher to see, but not pre-judge. You will be challenged by his fairness, surprised by the things he saw (that few others have described), and stimulated to think again about one of the most important of recurring human events: War. Excellent, engaging, intelligent.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By James Versluys on August 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
To begin praises of this book is hard, because as a man who has never been in combat, I hesitate to speak on matters so foreign to my experience.
But J. Glenn Gary leaves me stunned and humbled. The amount of pure excellent reflection in this book was utterly wonderful, and I left with a real sense of understanding nothing else has accomplished. It is clear Gary has created a book that is more complete a discussion of battle as any man alive.
Rarely is a book worthy of cult status. This one is.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Raymond H. Mullen VINE VOICE on September 27, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the reviewers stated it was one of the worse war books. That's not surprising, because this is not a 'war book.' You will not read of battles, etc. Instead, you will read an excellant account of the mind and emotional spirit of the fighting man. This is not an easy read, but is well worth your effort to read it. Never before has an author described the conflicts of mind and conscience (or lack of) of the warrior, the combat veteran. I gave 4 stars only because J. Glenn Gray writes in a manner that surpasses my reading ability. This is a great book.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
Gray's book gives us a chance for a better understanding of what men face in the battle with themselves while in war. A very different view as oppposed to movies and text book history, where all the American soldiers were hero's with little or no fear. Gray does an outstanding job of making someone who has never been in the hell of war, understand why soldiers act the ways they do. An excellent read for any war student or historian.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth C. Larter on April 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a deeply personal and thoughtful reflection on the subject of men in battle. While its style displays the academic training of the author, it is really the story of his own search for a philosophical understanding of his experience as a soldier in World War II. While not insistently theological, the author seems to believe that war is included in God's providence and redemptive activity. The strength of the book is the writer's passionate investment in the subject, and his willingness to struggle honestly with the questions facing every warrior.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jon Morris on December 2, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is all too easy to understand why a book this good is ignored today; post-modernists cannot even agree that there is such a thing as an objective world, let alone establish that it is inhabited by human beings or justify claims that they engage in a violent practice known as warfare. What is less easily fathomed is the fact that the book has never really garnered much attention, something that Hannah Arendt comments on in her rather disappointing introduction to this fine book.

Gray's "Warriors" is that rare combination of lucid intellectualism and poignancy that ought to be an immediate success with readers, yet the book remains obscure (indeed, I had to order it since my local seller didn't stock it). Ironically, it addresses many topics that should be of interest to contemporary scholars: trauma and what we now call PTSD, memory and forgetfulness, objectification, guilt.... Gray also ruminates on what he calls the appeal of battle. At various points I was reminded of the psychological insights of Robert Jay Lifton, whose The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide introduced the idea of "Doubling" (as Lifton calls it). And there is plenty of evidence for Lifton's psychological theory in this book, though Gray doesn't refer to it as such.

What makes Gray's book so impressive is his ability to remain critically aloof and emotionally close to his topic at the same time--a very tricky proposition that he pulls off marvelously. He very smoothly juxtaposes passages from Plato and Shakespeare to those from his own personal letters or war journal, the latter of which is moving without ever being maudlin or depressing.
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