Mark'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
Jul 25, 11

bookshelves: history, science
Read in February, 2010

What an excellent take on the human disease of war. It takes a military man to present a pacifist message in no uncertain terms.
Lt Cl Grossman analyses "firing rates" from modern wars and concludes that basically, rather than a primitive "Killer Instinct" residing in us all, the human race actually would have been unable to evolve to its present size without some sort of genetic predisposition, to the contrary, of altruism and disgust at the thought of harming a fellow human being. The Vietnam war was different, because the methods of training new recruits involved a different process- now recruits were told the business of war IS killing, and drilled accordingly. He has not got a lot of hope for our current world, though, what with suicide bombers in the East, and a socio-psychopathic media ideal we see reinforced in dozens of movies and television "action dramas" daily. But he has hope we can (one day) outgrow "our childish ways."
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