Chris Hedges is one of our most incisive, trenchant thinkers and writers. In his now-classic first book, War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, the former war correspondent (and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist) offers an unflinching portrait of armed conflict’s seductive — and ultimately destructive — allure to soldier and society alike. Blending history, reportage, philosophy, personal accounts, and literary allusions, Hedges makes a compelling case for the narcotic-like rush (and subsequent addiction) war offers nations and their citizenries. War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning convincingly debunks the many myths that enable and celebrate war, painting a sobering picture of its pernicious and pervasive consequences. Recommended By Jeremy G., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
As a veteran war correspondent, Chris Hedges has survived ambushes in Central America, imprisonment in Sudan, and a beating by Saudi military police. He has seen children murdered for sport in Gaza and petty thugs elevated into war heroes in the Balkans. Hedges, who is also a former divinity student, has seen war at its worst and knows too well that to those who pass through it, war can be exhilarating and even addictive: It gives us purpose, meaning, a reason for living.”
Drawing on his own experience and on the literature of combat from Homer to Michael Herr, Hedges shows how war seduces not just those on the front lines but entire societiescorrupting politics, destroying culture, and perverting basic human desires. Mixing hard-nosed realism with profound moral and philosophical insight, War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning is a work of terrible power and redemptive clarity whose truths have never been more necessary.
“An angry, articulate book....A compelling read and a valuable counterweight to the more antiseptic discussions common among strategic analysts.” Foreign Affairs
“A profound meditation on the dangers of mindless jingoism and patriotic overkill which too often constitute policy in the Modern World. Written with extreme thoughtfulness and grace.” Douglas Brinkley, Director of the Eisenhower Center and Professor of History at the University of New Orleans
“Chris Hedges knows the classics as well as he knows war firsthand. And while one may disagree with him along the way, his basic message is irrefutable.” Robert D. Kaplan, author of Balkan Ghosts
“The book succeeds in its primary goal: It reminds us that war is dreadful beyond all imagining, and demolishes the myths we and our leaders embrace about war....As the ‘war on terror’ continues...America would do well to heed Hedges.” Salon
“[Hedges] escorts us through the streets made slick with the blood and guts of innocents.” Dallas Morning News
“A pained, personal testament and a prophetic warning.... Crucially important.”
The New Leader
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.
About the Author
Chris Hedges is a cultural critic and author who was a foreign correspondent for nearly two decades for The New York Times
, The Dallas Morning News
, The Christian Science Monitor
and National Public Radio
. He reported from Latin American, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He was a member of the team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for The New York Times
coverage of global terrorism, and he received the 2002 Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism. Hedges, who holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School, is the author of the bestsellers Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt
(with Joe Sacco), American Fascists: The Christian Right
and the War on America, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle
and was a National Book Critics Circle finalist for his book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning
. He is a Senior Fellow at The Nation Institute and writes an online column for the web site Truthdig. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University and the University of Toronto. He lives in Princeton, N.J.