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➿ On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society Free ➶ Author Dave Grossman – Heartforum.co.uk The good news is that most soldiers are loath to kill But armies have developed sophisticated ways of overcoming this instinctive aversion And contemporary civilian society, particularly the media, re The good news is that most soldiers The Psychological PDF/EPUB ¿ are loath to kill But armies have developed sophisticated ways of overcoming this instinctive aversion And contemporary civilian society, particularly the On Killing: eBook Ê media, replicates the army s conditioning techniques, and, according to Lt Col Dave Grossman s thesis, is responsible for our rising rate of murder among the youngUpon its initial Killing: The Psychological PDF ↠ publication, On Killing was hailed as a landmark study of the techniques the military uses to overcome the powerful reluctance to kill, of how killing affects soldiers, and of the societal implications of escalating violence Now, Grossman has updated this classic work to include information on st century military conflicts, recent trends in crime, suicide bombings, school shootings, and The result is a work certain to be relevant and important for decades to come.

Lt Col Dave Grossman is the author The Psychological PDF/EPUB ¿ of On Killing and On Combat as well as several science fiction booksIn Lt Colonel Grossman retired from the military On Killing: eBook Ê as Professor of Military Science at Arkansas State University His career includes service in the United States Army as a sergeant in the US nd Airborne Division, a platoon Killing: The Psychological PDF ↠ leader in the th Infantry Division United States , a general staff officer, a company commander in the th Infantry Division United States as well as the US Army Rangers and a teacher of psychology at West PointGrossman s first book, On Killing The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society is an analysis of the physiological processes involved with killing another human being In it, he reveals evidence that most people have a phobic level response to violence, and that soldiers need to be specifically trained to kill In addition, he details the physical effects that violent stresses produce on humans, ranging from tunnel vision, changes in sonic perception, and post traumatic stress disorderGrossman argues that the techniques used by armies to train soldiers to kill are mirrored in certain types of video games The conclusion he draws is that playing violent video games, particularly Light gun shooters of the First person shooter variety where the player holds a weapon like game controller , train children in the use of weapons and,importantly, harden them emotionally to the task of murder by simulating the killing of hundreds or thousands of opponents in a single typical video gameHis second book, On Combat The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace , is an extension of the first, intended to provide coping strategies for dealing with the physiological and psychological effects of violence for people forced to kill in their line of work soldiers and police officersGrossman uses blunt language that draws the ire of gamers during the heights of video game controversy, he was interviewed on the content of his books, and repeatedly used the term murder simulator to describe first person shooter gamesSince his retirement from the Army, Grossman has founded the Killology Research Group and continues to educate law enforcement officers and soldiers in the techniques he has studied for improving outcomes in lethal encounters He also speaks at civilian events on ways to reduce violence in society and deal with the aftermath of violent events such as school shootings.

On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in
    On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in the societal implications of escalating violence Now, Grossman has updated this classic work to include information on st century military conflicts, recent trends in crime, suicide bombings, school shootings, and The result is a work certain to be relevant and important for decades to come."/>
  • Paperback
  • 367 pages
  • On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society
  • Dave Grossman
  • 14 November 2018
  • 0316191442

10 thoughts on “On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society

  1. Quinnp1 says:

    As a combat vet myself, I can t say I learned anything new from this book as I have lived it all myself, Yet I strongly suggest you all read it carefully.It will enlighten you to a very important aspect of humanity and the survival instinct that few understand There is a price for killing and there is a very effective military machine to teach the acceptance and support of killing that is a thousand years orold.That mind altering thousand year plus mind forming machine is set against a As a combat vet myself, I can t say I learned anything new from this book as I have lived it all myself, Yet I strongly suggest you all read it carefully.It will enlighten you to a very important aspect of humanity and the survival instinct that few understand There is a price for killing and there is a very effective military machine to teach the acceptance and support of killing that is a thousand years orold.That mind altering thousand year plus mind forming machine is set against a person who has often only been alive about 19 years.The machine thus almost always wins The author is not a killer himself, yet he explains it all quite well as I have been there and done that.He is a trifle naive in hiws apparent belief that man is not a natural killer, and he does tend to exaggerate the truma of killing for most soldiers The reality is that the average soldier is farconcerned with saving his own life than any guilt or PTSD residue of killing even a thousand of the enemy That is a natural reality that escapes him, but on the whole this is definitely a must read, most especially for those out of touch or expereince with death and killing.You need not have any intrest in the military at all to gain a lot of rare and valuable insights from this book.You only neede an intrest in the human mind, and the male mind itslef to get a great deal indeed out of this academic work.On the whole, and even though he has never been there himself, he is on the mark with this best selling work

  2. Marcus says:

    Funny how a littlethan 10 years can change one s perspective When I read Grossman s On Killing for first time, I found it deep and profound Upon second reading a decade later, I find his conclusions sometimes unfounded, sometimes rather badly argued I ve also noticed that he also likes to hammer home same points over and over again frankly, those repetitions became increasingly annoying the further I ve got into the book Most importantly however, several of Grossman s points just do Funny how a littlethan 10 years can change one s perspective When I read Grossman s On Killing for first time, I found it deep and profound Upon second reading a decade later, I find his conclusions sometimes unfounded, sometimes rather badly argued I ve also noticed that he also likes to hammer home same points over and over again frankly, those repetitions became increasingly annoying the further I ve got into the book Most importantly however, several of Grossman s points just don t ring true to me any.Let s start with the fact that Grossman bases his thesis almost solely on Marshall s Men against fire This alone should be cause for the author to tread carefully Neither Marshall s numbers nor conclusions are by any means uncontested The fact is that Men against fire remains to this day to be a very controversial document Indeed, there are those who claim that the entire study is nothing but a sham Yet, Grossman expects us to accept this study without any reservation In my opinion, therein lies the greatest and perhaps fatal flaw of principal idea presented in On Killing.Grossman s use of works of Noseworthy and Griffith in regard of American Civil War combatants is another thing that awakened my suspicion True, effectiveness of rifle musket fire, or rather lack thereof, is discussed extensively by both of those authors But both of them give a multitude of reasons for that seemingly surprising fact Noseworthy spends several chapters on that topic , while Grossman makes it into factual proof for his thesis almost in a blink of an eye Perhaps evenimportantly, in several ACW engagements musket fire was indeed murderously effective, while in Franco Prussian War that followed shortly thereafter the Chassepot rifle was used to absolutely horrifying effect by well trained French infantry in battles such as that of Gravelotte St Privat The simple truth is that for every example author uses to question an individual s willingness to aim a firearm and fire at another human being, anyone with knowledge of military history of 19th century can easily point to an engagement where well aimed rifled musket bolt action rifle fire was shockingly effective.Another thing that made me raise an eyebrow are his multiple references to snipers and fighter aces The first is his prime example of killers enabled by distance and barrier of technical aids between themselves and their victims telescope and thermal sights But I have read several memoirs of snipers of various nationalities and if there is one commonality between them, then it s the sensation of the kill being extremely personal experience for the shooter It is often described as deliberate act of taking someone s life, sometimes after observing the victim for extended period of time thus making the victim muchhuman for the sniper than for a common grunt taking potshots at fleeing shadows It is worth observing that it is this unique intimacy of sniper s kill that makes the sniper loathed by the enemy to such degree that it is common knowledge that no sniper survives capture Dislike for snipers is so intense that it is even displayed by soldiers on his own side As for the fighter pilot aces with multiple digit kills, Grossman puts them into the 2 percent that are natural killers people who don t exhibit hesitation for killing other human being who may actually derive pleasure from the act What he doesn t take into consideration is the fact that shooting down an airplane during WWI and WII was no easy task by any means and doing it repeatedly required a combination of many rare skills That in itself limit the pool of possible fighter aces to a very small group of people As for enjoyment of the kill, I invite both readers of this review and Mr Grossman himself to study films and images of pilots made immediately after their return from successful sortie My impression is always that as they demonstrate with their hands the maneuvers they and their opponents made during the dogfight, their joy seems to derive from outwitting a skilled foe and proving that they were better than the opponent, not from the fact that they possibly killed another human being The last gripe of historical nature that I have with this book is this there are several occasions where Grossman refers to Greek and Roman military organizations As a student of military history sincethan twenty years ago, I found those references uniformly suspect or just plain wrong His conclusions in regard of Vegetius lack any credibility the comment makes perfect sense, when considering the fact that it was made during the period when spatha was replacing gladius hispaniensis and Grossman s comment about Roman soldier s unwillingness to thrust his sword into an opponent is pure speculation Supposition that centurions were equivalent of modern officers, controlling and motivating common soldiers from the rear lacks, to our best knowledge, any factual foundation In fact, if one is to draw any conclusions from primary sources that on several occasions mention disproportionately high casualty rates among centurions and optios, it is easy to come to the conclusion that Roman commissioned officers led by example and from the front Grossman s references to Greek warfare are equally incorrect it was common praxis as proved by contemporary military manuals that survived to our days to place file leaders i.e officers at the front and the rear of the phalanx It is also incorrect that Greeks refused to use missiles Rhodian archers and Cretan slingers were regarded as professionals of highest quality, while every Greek city states fielded significant numbers of peltasts, light infantry missile troops equipped with javelins.Last part of On Killing , where Grossman dooms all of western civilization and USA in particular to the fate similar to that of Lebanon or former Yugoslavia, all because of violent movies and video games needs to be mentioned, but not analyzed Fourteen years have passed since this book has been published teenagers that grew up with Freddie Krueger and Doom are now grownups and in key places of our societies Violent videogames sharing commonality with military training have become evenrealistic, evenengaging and are evenpopular than ever before And yet, the armageddon of violence failed to occur I feel that in itself is proof enough that Grossman was incorrect in his assumptions on that specific point.After this massive critique it may come as a surprise that I think that On Killing is very valuable book My reason for reading this book was on both occasions to try to gain better understanding about why men fight in armed conflicts To my best knowledge, this book together with Keegan s Face of Battle is the sole attempt to answer that question in layman terms So while I remain unconvinced by many of author s arguments, I recognize uniqueness of his book It manages to a certain degree to make a very difficult topic a little bitunderstandable to common audience For that fact alone it needs to be recommended for anyone with the interest in the topic.Additional note prior to reading On Killing , I ve read one of the books about American Civil War that Grossman refers to Crucible of courage by Nosworthy Now I have also read Paddy Griffiths Tactics of American Civil War and I must say that Mr Grossman must have read a very different book than I did, if he on basis of its contents makes claim that ACW soldier was one of the most well drilled and trained of his times If anything, Griffith states quite emphatically that this was anything but the case

  3. BlackOxford says:

    Unmaking CivilisationGrossman s thesis is that we should take better care of those whom we prepare for war This was unexpected My presumption had been that the book would be about the permanent psychological damage done to soldiers through their training and experience in combat and consequently pacifist Instead the book makes what is primarily a political point if a society makes men killers, it has a responsibility to provide the necessary therapy to undo the inevitable psychopathic conseq Unmaking CivilisationGrossman s thesis is that we should take better care of those whom we prepare for war This was unexpected My presumption had been that the book would be about the permanent psychological damage done to soldiers through their training and experience in combat and consequently pacifist Instead the book makes what is primarily a political point if a society makes men killers, it has a responsibility to provide the necessary therapy to undo the inevitable psychopathic consequences While this point is difficult to disagree with, I suspect Grossman s agenda is actually somewhat darker.The American war in Vietnam, according to Grossman, had one undeniable success it taught the American military how to train its members to accept and execute the act of killing as normal, responsible behaviour The techniques which the military developed during that period added to the environment of growing media violence to which recruits had already been subjected This directed indoctrination and diffuse influence created the perfect storm of what is effectively brainwashing The effects are visible not only in the soldiers involved but also in the increasing level of gang violence and international terrorism, phenomena that depend on the same training techniques.The maladies of combat for soldiers in Vietnam were, therefore, bothdiverse andintense than in previous wars Despite the political and strategic incompetence of their leaders, these men did what they were meant to do, namely kill other human beings Body count was not merely some arbitrary measure of success imposed by senior officers, it was an accurate expression of the function of a soldier So, for example, while something less than 20% of front line troops in World War II ever fired their weapons at the enemy even at the risk of their own lives , upwards of 95% did so in Vietnam A great triumph, one supposes, for the Training Command.It is difficult to train men Grossman s data are all from men to kill efficiently and consistently The inhibitions to murder seem to be not just culturally generated but also genetic in most people Breaking those inhibitions demands traumatic psychological and sociological adaptation as anyone who has seen films like Oliver Stone sPlatoonor Stanley Kubrick sFull Metal Jacketwill have already guessed Effectively, recruits are taught to hate, to mistrust everything around them except direct orders, and to exclude moral considerations from consciousness They are trained as psychopaths.And yet they are expected to reintegrate into society as if their psychological rewiring were an incidental event in their lives This it is clearly not the case given the levels of suicide, mental illness, and criminality among soldiers who have been in combat The experience of being the object of murderous aggression by an enemy is understandably agonising But it is the training for this experience which createsor less permanent damage Grossman makes the case that historically soldiers were subject to ritual purification before they re entered civilian life He suggests a modernised version of this for today s soldiers The paradox of course is that the effectiveness of military training is such that any therapeutic purification would have to be equally intense The expense of such a de programming effort would be immense So it s a political non starter In the meantime, society undermines its own well being by purposely creating maladaptive human beings.Postscript Another GR reader alerted me to the latest on Grossman He is indeed much darker than he appears in this book Apparently he has gone completely over to the idea of a warrior culture among the police as well as the military, making society evenviolent than it already is postscript on the individuality of the gross statistics

  4. Dee Arr says:

    This is my second reading of On Killing, and I came away with a slightly different perspective.Overall, I still agree with many of Lt Col Grossman s thoughts He presents his opinions on killing and backs them up with quotes from soldiers and authors of similar books I was beginning to be swayed with his final arguments on how violent media trains our children to become anesthetized to killing.The downside, however, is that too few other authors are mentioned in the text we see the same na This is my second reading of On Killing, and I came away with a slightly different perspective.Overall, I still agree with many of Lt Col Grossman s thoughts He presents his opinions on killing and backs them up with quotes from soldiers and authors of similar books I was beginning to be swayed with his final arguments on how violent media trains our children to become anesthetized to killing.The downside, however, is that too few other authors are mentioned in the text we see the same names over and over , and some of the book is based upon data that has since been questioned S.L.A Marshall For me, there are not enough direct references to scientific studies to back up some of the statements.On the other hand, the author provides hundreds of references to books and magazine articles, as well as his personal conversations with soldiers who have experienced the emotions detailed in the book What my seesaw thoughts represent is that the book has been well researched and presents ideas that may or may not resonate with your current perceptions Those who choose to read it should approach with an open mind, and if you strongly disagree with some aspects of this book, leave them behind when you are through I found much of the book to be fascinating and informative, though I can see both sides of the violence in the media debate Be aware that there is repetition of some of the data throughout the book not enough to become nauseating, but just enough to cause you to notice Last note Writers who dream up stories about killers and their actions and reactions might find this book to be an eye opener, or at least a good reference when creating characters Not every person in law enforcement is an indiscriminate killer who can calmly kill the bad guys and then immediately sit down to dinner Four stars for On Killing

  5. Ethan says:

    On Killing has a great book hidden away some where inside, but it is a marred by a lack of rigor, inaccuracies, constant repetition, and chapters that have no relevance to the book but are instead a chance for the author to rant The book is full of things that Grossman made up to support his beliefs and which Grossman refers to as if they are historical fact for instance Centurions were known for leading their men by example, fighting in the front lines Yet, Grossman claims that Centurions, l On Killing has a great book hidden away some where inside, but it is a marred by a lack of rigor, inaccuracies, constant repetition, and chapters that have no relevance to the book but are instead a chance for the author to rant The book is full of things that Grossman made up to support his beliefs and which Grossman refers to as if they are historical fact for instance Centurions were known for leading their men by example, fighting in the front lines Yet, Grossman claims that Centurions, like modern officers, led but didn t kill, giving the Romans a tactical advantage His claim completely contradicts all historical accounts At one point in the book Grossman has a multi page rant about how the US really won the Vietnam war because the Berlin wall fell Even if he was right, which he clearly isn t, his rant has no purpose in this book it adds nothing While he is willing to talk about war crimes in an objective, unemotional state, he has only vile things to say about the left and hippies He also calls violent video games and rap music a genocide against black people Where was his editor This book is less of an academic work on killology his term, he even owns the domain name killology.com andof the philosophic musings of a intelligent military psychologist For instance Grossman makes the absurd claim that soldiers are repulsed by bayoneting other soldiers because it similar to the act of sex

  6. Brooke says:

    Ok I loved and hated this book I guess you could say I hated it because the truth hurts. but I loved it because It REALLY opened my eyes to how my hubby feels everyday It really helped me understand him and the thoughts that he hasclearly I was let down though, the reason I was really hoping that it would tell me how to handle all of this and it doesn t it only explains the effects, not how to deal So in some ways fantastic others a let down I do recommend others read it though i Ok I loved and hated this book I guess you could say I hated it because the truth hurts. but I loved it because It REALLY opened my eyes to how my hubby feels everyday It really helped me understand him and the thoughts that he hasclearly I was let down though, the reason I was really hoping that it would tell me how to handle all of this and it doesn t it only explains the effects, not how to deal So in some ways fantastic others a let down I do recommend others read it though it will let you into the mind of all of the men and women back from combat AND I TRULY BELIEVE ALL OF US SHOULD UNDERSTAND THEM BETTER

  7. Dino says:

    The book should not be taken as absolute, peer reviewed fact While it starts out in an academic fashion and explains the basis for its theories, it later derails into chapter long rants and moans about how American society is to blame for its treatment of returning veterans of the Vietnam war Exaggerating and making very emotional, biased arguments.And if that was not enough Grossman, decides to squander his credentials by attempting to perpetuate the disproved myth that violent video games an The book should not be taken as absolute, peer reviewed fact While it starts out in an academic fashion and explains the basis for its theories, it later derails into chapter long rants and moans about how American society is to blame for its treatment of returning veterans of the Vietnam war Exaggerating and making very emotional, biased arguments.And if that was not enough Grossman, decides to squander his credentials by attempting to perpetuate the disproved myth that violent video games and movies condition kids to become killers, or somehow makes the groups that take part in violent cultural expressionsliable to commit acts of murder and cruelty The nonsensical notion that violent media makes violent media consumers has been buried and forgotten in academic circles ever since the 90s And to beat that dead horse serves no purpose but to flaunt the ignorance of the person doing the beating Same goes with the entire sheepdog concept.All and all I would recommend reading the first half of the book about the psychological mechanics and factors in killing, skip the rants about Vietnam vets and ravings about media violence

  8. Nick Marsh says:

    By turns fascinating and overly moralising amazing insights into how normal people can be made to commit atrocites, the average soldier s reassuring reluctance to kill at least, up close and personally are mixed with poor research and referencing, repetition and generally uninspiring writing.Throughout the book we are repeatedly told of the massive increase in violent crime throughout America but this isn t referenced When I finally tracked down one reference to crime studies in the fur By turns fascinating and overly moralising amazing insights into how normal people can be made to commit atrocites, the average soldier s reassuring reluctance to kill at least, up close and personally are mixed with poor research and referencing, repetition and generally uninspiring writing.Throughout the book we are repeatedly told of the massive increase in violent crime throughout America but this isn t referenced When I finally tracked down one reference to crime studies in the further notes section, it only talks about two statistics the FBI violent crime statistics which shows that violent crime is actually reducing and the crime survey.It s a shame because the author is clearly a passionate man, and I m very prepared to believe that violent videogames may cause an increase in violence but there s no evidence for this presented in the book, despite the author repeatedly telling us that there is.A fascinating book but would be muchsatisfying with better research or, at least, a clearer division between fact and the author s personal opinion

  9. Kelly B says:

    People don t like to kill each other But they might start changing their minds.No but seriously, this is a great read I mean, if you re interested in how people are conditioned to kill, and how they actually behave after they are conditioned to kill Honestely, I have a hard time believing some of the stuff he asserts, but I think there s a lot of valuable information in there that you wouldn t find anywhere else The part I love is when he examines the history of using bayonets in warfare, People don t like to kill each other But they might start changing their minds.No but seriously, this is a great read I mean, if you re interested in how people are conditioned to kill, and how they actually behave after they are conditioned to kill Honestely, I have a hard time believing some of the stuff he asserts, but I think there s a lot of valuable information in there that you wouldn t find anywhere else The part I love is when he examines the history of using bayonets in warfare, and that really, there are hardly any examples of it actually happening, because guess what Humans HATE the idea of piercing another human s body with a long sharp object We are muchlikely to slash and cut each other than we are to actually stab someone, to run someone through with a spear Apparently and I swear I m not a violent person the most effective way to kill someone quietly is to stab them in the kidney from behind, because it s so paralyzingly painful, a person cannot make any noise This is what they teach those special forces guys, and yet still they arelikely to go up behind someone, put their hand over the person s mouth, and cut their throat Even though this is noisier, less effective, and in all liklihood a good way to cut one s own hand, this is somehownatural than stabbing someone in the back People are also less likely to kill people the closer in proximity they are to each other Bombing towns from a plane 20,000 feet in the air is much easier than shooting a long range rocket from the ground, which is much easier than shooting someone who is only a hundred yards away with a machine gun, which is much easier than throwing a grenade into a building and running away, which is much easier than using an edged weapon in a hand to hand fight, which is much easier than killing someone with one s bare hands Makes sense intuitively, but is truly gruesome to read about which makes another important point most of us haven t experienced this, thus it is not fair to judge those who have had to In my opinion

  10. Samantha says:

    I would have given this bookstars but Grossman s own blind patriotism and anti communism got in the way of his scientific theory I thought the first half of this book was great I learned so much on the act of killing and how extraordinarily hard it is for people to kill one another.The problems I had with this book Grossman only goes into detail about gruesome atrocities that are committed by communists or non white people He never gives examples of US soldiers committing atrocities G I would have given this bookstars but Grossman s own blind patriotism and anti communism got in the way of his scientific theory I thought the first half of this book was great I learned so much on the act of killing and how extraordinarily hard it is for people to kill one another.The problems I had with this book Grossman only goes into detail about gruesome atrocities that are committed by communists or non white people He never gives examples of US soldiers committing atrocities Grossman feels that Vietnam veterans have PTSD worse than other wars because we, as a nation, didn t approve of the war Grossman doesn t even discuss Fragging Grossman says the Vietnam War was just and ultimately we were right in entering it First off, it was not a just war In 1954 86% of the Vietnamese people before the country was divided by the colonists would have voted for Ho Chi Minh It would have been a socialist republic We should have never been in that war The US and CIA during the cold war toppled so many democratically elected governments and replaced them with brutal capitalist dictatorial regimes This created a blowback we are feeling today in places like Afghanistan I am getting off topic.I am just so extremely frustrated with the short sightedness of this book I realize Grossman is an ex Ranger and maybe all that indoctrination makes it hard for him to come to terms with the US committing horrendous atrocities in other nations I thought the point of this book was the study of killing in war Period Not some flag waving we are better than you tome This book could have been great if he stuck to the topic and didn t interject his right wing beliefs

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