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War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaningby Chris Hedges
Nominated for the 2002 National Book Critics Circle Award, General Nonfiction
Synopses & Reviews
General George S. Patton famously said, "Compared to war all other forms of human endeavor shrink to insignificance. God, I do love it so!" Though Patton was a notoriously single-minded general, it is nonetheless a sad fact that war gives meaning to many lives, a fact with which we have become familiar now that America is once again engaged in a military conflict. War is an enticing elixir. It gives us purpose, resolve, a cause. It allows us to be noble.
Chris Hedges of The New York Times has seen war up close — in the Balkans, the Middle East, and Central America — and he has been troubled by what he has seen: friends, enemies, colleagues, and strangers intoxicated and even addicted to war's heady brew. In War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, he tackles the ugly truths about humanity's love affair with war, offering a sophisticated, nuanced, intelligent meditation on the subject that is also gritty, powerful, and unforgettable.
"If...I thought Bush and Blair would give it time I would happily send them a copy to read." Jonathan Power, Toronto Star
"I highly recommend Chris Hedges' splendid little book....His understanding is profound and was earned on the ground." Molly Ivins, author of Bushwhacked
"As the 'war on terror' continues on its...potentially catastrophic course, America would do well to heed Hedges'...warning." Salon.com
"Hedges' account of the horrors of war follows a confession of rare and frightening honesty." Slate.com
Book News Annotation:
Hedges, a long-time foreign correspondent for The New York Times, draws on his own experiences in Latin America, Bosnia, and elsewhere; treatments of war in literature; and historical events to examine the way human beings experience war and to suggest that war gives rise to dangerous myths of the nobility of the cause. He argues that there are very few people who are not susceptible to the allure of war, but that, in the end, war becomes a contest between eros and thanatos, in which thanatos comes out on top all too often.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A veteran New York Times war correspondent presents a thought-provoking reflection on how life is lived during times of war, and tackles the ugly truths about humanity's love affair with war, offering a sophisticated, intelligent meditation on the subject that is also gritty, powerful, and unforgettable.
A veteran New York Times war correspondent's complex, moving, and thought-provoking reflection on how life is lived most intensely in times of war
About the Author
Chris Hedges has been a foreign correspondent for fifteen years. He joined the staff of The New York Times in 1990 and previously worked for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor, and National Public Radio. He lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
1 The Myth of War 19
2 The Plague of Nationalism 43
3 The Destruction of Culture 62
4 The Seduction of Battle and the Perversion of War 83
5 The Hijacking and Recovery of Memory 122
6 The Cause 142
7 Eros and Thanatos 157
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History and Social Science » American Studies » Culture Wars