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

On Killing by Dave Grossman
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M 50x66
's review
May 31, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011-completed, military-history

The majority of this book was absolutely fascinating, and I really enjoyed the commentary and analysis of the pyschological forces and barriers involved in getting the average person to be able to kill in combat. The discussion on the pyschological costs of doing so were similarly well-done.

Unfortunately, the author concludes his book by drawing comparisons from the military's psychological training to the graphic video games, TV and music in the civilian world. There may be a case to be made for that, but the author did not strongly support this premise, and after 300+ pages of strictly dealing with the military world, the sudden left turn showing that kids are now becoming killing machines felt awkward and forced.

I felt that the book should have focused on the military aspects, and left the "rap caused Columbine" argument to a future study.

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