Peregrine 12's Reviews > On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society

On Killing by Dave Grossman
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's review
Dec 23, 2010

really liked it
Read in January, 2002

Four stars - I didn't 'like' this book, but I think it's an important read. The first part, about human psychology and warfare, was fascinating. I couldn't finish the latter part of the book about human atrocities, however. Just didn't have the stomach for it.

My only complaint: I wish the author would have included citations for his many statements about human nature. Specifically, on page 6-7 he describes the 'Soldier's Options' to fight, flight, posture, or submit. I had never heard of these FOUR options, and really wanted to learn more about them. Grossman gives many historical (i.e., anecdotal) examples of these options, but for someone interested in further reading, it was frustrating. Where did he get this information? There is a bibliography, but again he doesn't cite sources specifically.

Why is this such a big deal? you may ask. Because, having been a scientific/psychological researcher myself, it is important to understand verifiable research, anecdotal examples (history, firsthand observations), and authors' interpretations. Grossman's book has been cited in other places as a de-facto authority on many things, and I'm not sure it always is.
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