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War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning by…

War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (original 2002; edition 2002)

by Chris Hedges

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Title:War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning
Authors:Chris Hedges
Info:PublicAffairs (2002), Paperback, 192 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:@office, nonfiction, war

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War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges (2002)


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» See also 43 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
The Goodreads description says it all. Not a book of platitudes. ( )
  badube | Mar 6, 2019 |
OK, I have tried to write this several times but I just keep coming up with reviewbabble. This book is hard to approach. Some points:

- The book is intelligent and well-structured, I for one thought his merging of anecdotes of multiple conflicts, from casualties of all sides, really worked. It highlighted his underlying point about eliminating the arbitrary boundaries we draw between the suffering of those who we're supposed to sympathize with and those of the "enemy".

- Hedges is not a pacifist, he acknowledges the necessity for war in certain situations but he is trying to make a point about how people think about war and the collective amnesia that develops in a society when the war machine starts cranking.

- This book is not about any particular conflict or an overview of Hedges career, but it is a book about the idea of War that Hedges unifies with comparisons to classical literature, Shakespeare and even George Orwell. For a philosophical book its very readable and, ten years later, still very relevant. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
"Drawing on his own experience and on the literature of combat from Homer to
Michael Herr, Hedges shows how ward seduces not just those on the front lines
but entire societies, corrupting 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." --back cover
  collectionmcc | Mar 6, 2018 |
The intro is amazing. You can check it out here: http://www.coldtype.net/Assets.06/Essays.06/0906.Hedges.Haunted.pdf
The rest of the book has its high points, but overall suffers from a lack of focus.
But man, is Chris Hedges a badass or what? I know that's the whole point of this book, not to see war or war correspondents like this... But I can't help but be impressed with his courage to report from these places. ( )
  weberam2 | Nov 24, 2017 |
War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning has been one of the most influential books on war that I have ever read. After reading the Hedges book, to me, the title is somewhat misleading because while war does give meaning, in the process of that meaning, Hedges chronicles why it mostly destroys humanity in more ways than one.

Unfortunately, when Hedges delves into polemical politics, even though it is necessary, his own personal political preferences may turn readers with an opposing political viewpoint away from being able to capture his deeper meanings within the book.

Highly recommended.....

( )
  EricEllis | Sep 2, 2017 |
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Sarajevo in the summer of 1995 came close to Dante's inner circle of hell.
The enduring attraction of war is this: Even with its destruction and carnage it can give us what we long for in life. It can give us purpose, meaning, a reason for living. Only when we are in the midst of conflict does the shallowness and vapidness of much of our lives become apparent.
When I finally did leave, my last act was, in a frenzy of rage and anguish, to leap over the KLM counter in the airport in Costa Rica because of a perceived slight by a hapless airline clerk. I beat him to the floor as his bewildered colleagues locked themselves in the room behind the counter. Blood streamed down his face and mine. I refused to wipe the dried stains off my cheeks on the flight to Madrid, and I carry a scar on my face from where he thrust his pen into my cheek. War's sickness had become mine.
In wartime the state seeks to destroy its own culture. It is only when this destruction has been completed that the state can begin to exterminate the culture of its opponents. In times of conflict authentic culture is subversive.
The Gulf War made war fashionable again. It was a cause the nation willingly embraced. It gave us media-manufactured heroes and a heady pride in our military superiority and technology. It made war fun. And the blame, as in many conflicts, lay not with the military but the press.
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Drawing on the literature of combat, from Homer and Shakespeare to Erich Maria Remarque and Michael Herr, Hedges argues that human beings are conditioned to embrace what he calls "the myth of war"--The idea that combat is noble, selfless, and glorious, and yet, if human history is any guide, nations and imperiums have stumbled and even fallen when they believed the myths peddled about war and about themselves. The reality of war, asserts Hedges, with first-hand experience, is about the destruction of culture, the perversion of human desire, and the embrace, ultimately, of death over life.… (more)

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Tantor Media

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