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

On Killing by Dave Grossman
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Aug 14, 2014

it was amazing
bookshelves: psychology-psychotherapy, ptsd, other-wars, vietnam-war, favorites
Read from September 16 to December 09, 2011

My own experiences in Vietnam 1970-71 and in Cambodia 1972 left me a person changed in ways it is difficult to describe to anyone. The guilt, the shame and remorse...the fears, the terror, the nightmares; all inexplicable, things which marked me in my own mind as different and flawed in some way. I couldn't understand why I responded to the events I experienced in the ways I did as I saw others who did not suffer in the same ways. This book has given me answers, I am not different than most, any who do what I did and saw what I saw respond in the same way unless they are part of the 2% who are unaffected, as Grossman puts it "psychopaths who have found their niche". I understand this, I knew some of them, strangely I wanted to be like them, to remain unaffected. I saw my suffering as weakness, I now know it to be humanity. I am grateful for this study, it is as it should be prescribed reading for training officers at West Point, it should be so for all leaders who have or will see frontline service. A great contribution; for me to my peace of mind,for anyone involved in treating veterans to their understanding, for serving soldiers to their professionalism.
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