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On Combat looks at what happens to the human body under the stresses of deadly battle ? the impact on the nervous system, heart, breathing, visual and auditory perception, memory - then discusses new research findings as to what measures warriors can take to prevent such debilitations so they can stay in the fight, survive, and win. A brief, but insightful look at history On Combat looks at what happens to the human body under the stresses of deadly battle ? the impact on the nervous system, heart, breathing, visual and auditory perception, memory - then discusses new research findings as to what measures warriors can take to prevent such debilitations so they can stay in the fight, survive, and win. A brief, but insightful look at history shows the evolution of combat, the development of the physical and psychological leverage that enables humans to kill other humans, followed by an objective examination of domestic violence in America. The authors reveal the nature of the warrior, brave men and women who train their minds and bodies to go to that place from which others flee. After examining the incredible impact of a few true warriors in battle, On Combat presents new and exciting research as to how to train the mind to become inoculated to stress, fear and even pain.


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On Combat looks at what happens to the human body under the stresses of deadly battle ? the impact on the nervous system, heart, breathing, visual and auditory perception, memory - then discusses new research findings as to what measures warriors can take to prevent such debilitations so they can stay in the fight, survive, and win. A brief, but insightful look at history On Combat looks at what happens to the human body under the stresses of deadly battle ? the impact on the nervous system, heart, breathing, visual and auditory perception, memory - then discusses new research findings as to what measures warriors can take to prevent such debilitations so they can stay in the fight, survive, and win. A brief, but insightful look at history shows the evolution of combat, the development of the physical and psychological leverage that enables humans to kill other humans, followed by an objective examination of domestic violence in America. The authors reveal the nature of the warrior, brave men and women who train their minds and bodies to go to that place from which others flee. After examining the incredible impact of a few true warriors in battle, On Combat presents new and exciting research as to how to train the mind to become inoculated to stress, fear and even pain.

30 review for On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace

  1. 4 out of 5

    Charlie

    I doubt that anyone really reads or cares about the Tags we label our good books within (you know fiction or non fiction etc) so I mention that I placed this work in "pop-academic" even though technically it may be found in your University library and not at your local library. But it is to me a good example of bad research writing. The author states his credentials within the text and he does so in bad taste. His text lacks notations where they might really be supportive, maybe even needed to m I doubt that anyone really reads or cares about the Tags we label our good books within (you know fiction or non fiction etc) so I mention that I placed this work in "pop-academic" even though technically it may be found in your University library and not at your local library. But it is to me a good example of bad research writing. The author states his credentials within the text and he does so in bad taste. His text lacks notations where they might really be supportive, maybe even needed to make several statements credible but there are none. There are many facts, studies, and even personal anecdotes based on insider-military experiences none of which carry a courtesy notation of evidence. This guy goes on to let the reader know he has zero combat experience, but anyone who is seasoned with academic literature can see that Lt. Grossman has not spent much time in serious literature reviews or exchanges with people outside perhaps the military. This book is frequently cited in solid examples of literature on PTSD and for that I feel sorry for the lack of alternatives. It is poorly written and difficult to trust as a result of its source and its execution

  2. 4 out of 5

    A.C. Thompson

    Yet another book that has been relegated to the DNF file. If I had wanted to read On Killing again, I would have picked up a copy of On Killing and read it again. I made it 75 pages in, and none of the information in On Combat was anything new. Also, I'm fairly certain Shakespeare (you know, the guy who wrote all those great tragic plays in the late 16th and early 17th century?) wasn't exactly a warrior, so what's with all the quotes from him to start chapters and sub chapters? I also take offens Yet another book that has been relegated to the DNF file. If I had wanted to read On Killing again, I would have picked up a copy of On Killing and read it again. I made it 75 pages in, and none of the information in On Combat was anything new. Also, I'm fairly certain Shakespeare (you know, the guy who wrote all those great tragic plays in the late 16th and early 17th century?) wasn't exactly a warrior, so what's with all the quotes from him to start chapters and sub chapters? I also take offense at all the anecdotes and "testimonial stories" (a term I use VERY loosely here) with absolutely no footnotes or references for where the information may have come from, or who told the story. This kind of writing makes the skeptic in me ask, "Is this actually a factual story, or is it just made up to manufacture "evidence" of the point the author is trying to make at this particular point in the book?" I read On Killing several years ago, enjoyed it, and actually felt somewhat enlightened by much of the information contained therein. Sadly, On Combat just flat out doesn't make the grade. I have entirely too many other books I would like to read to either entertain myself or to integrate my brain with new and useful information to force myself to slog through something this poorly written that is just a rehash of another work that came out long before this book was published.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Scott Sigler

    As I have never served in the armed forces, as a police officer, or had to use lethal force in self-defense in any encounter, I'm probably missing the real benefit of this book. Col. Grossman is exhaustive in his approach to helping those to protect us. I would guess that any cop/vet/serviceperson would get more benefit from this book than I did, and I got quite a lot. For fiction writers, this is a wonderful book that helps get into the mind of people who use lethal force. The reality of combat As I have never served in the armed forces, as a police officer, or had to use lethal force in self-defense in any encounter, I'm probably missing the real benefit of this book. Col. Grossman is exhaustive in his approach to helping those to protect us. I would guess that any cop/vet/serviceperson would get more benefit from this book than I did, and I got quite a lot. For fiction writers, this is a wonderful book that helps get into the mind of people who use lethal force. The reality of combat is not the boom-dead-done approach of movies and most TV shows. Combat can change people (and characters) forever. I drew an enormous amount from this book that will go into my future stories. So why only three stars? The repetitiveness of the content. Grossman seems to treat this book the same way he would train people for active shooting situations, by repeating the same information over and over. Despite the stellar content, it started to feel like a college final essay where the author was ten pages short of the assigned length, and started pasting things already covered but rewording them so they at least looked like original content. The repetition was so dramatic it was difficult to finish the book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Gordon Alley

    A must-read book for everyone. The author categorizes each person as either a wolf, sheep, or sheepdog. The wolf preys on the sheep; the sheep are under the protection of the sheepdog and victimized by the wolf; the sheepdog protects the sheep from the wolf and keeps the predator behaving uprightly due to his presence. Most sheep have a hard time accepting the sheepdog but are thankful for them and will hide behind them when the wolf shows up. One easy way to find out whether or not you are a sh A must-read book for everyone. The author categorizes each person as either a wolf, sheep, or sheepdog. The wolf preys on the sheep; the sheep are under the protection of the sheepdog and victimized by the wolf; the sheepdog protects the sheep from the wolf and keeps the predator behaving uprightly due to his presence. Most sheep have a hard time accepting the sheepdog but are thankful for them and will hide behind them when the wolf shows up. One easy way to find out whether or not you are a sheep or a sheepdog is to ask yourself this question: "Do you run towards the bullets or away from them?" John 15:13 KJV [13] Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Jayne

    Excellent book on the psychology of war and combat. My husband is a police officer and heard Dave Grossman speak here in Indianapolis. He was very impressed, and purchased a CD of the lecture. I popped it in one day, and was riveted. My husband also purchased one of his books at the lecture, and I devoured that, as well, and went on to buy this book soon thereafter. I'm a Marine Corps veteran, and married to a cop, so a great deal of the subjects touched on things that hold a personal interest to Excellent book on the psychology of war and combat. My husband is a police officer and heard Dave Grossman speak here in Indianapolis. He was very impressed, and purchased a CD of the lecture. I popped it in one day, and was riveted. My husband also purchased one of his books at the lecture, and I devoured that, as well, and went on to buy this book soon thereafter. I'm a Marine Corps veteran, and married to a cop, so a great deal of the subjects touched on things that hold a personal interest to me, but you do not have to be in a law enforcement or military career to appreciate the subject matter. The books is written in a very direct style, and information is given in such a way that even a person like me, who has not experienced combat first-hand, can still understand the physical and psychological impact of such things. I have used this book as research material in my own writing, and I feel I have absolutely come away with a far better understanding of the dynamics involved in deadly conflicts. I have recommended this book, and others by Dave Grossman, to friends and family who are involved directly or indirectly with law enforcement or military. If you are considering this book, I might also recommend looking up the author and taking a peek at some of his online videos so you can get a feel for his style. I was very pleased to find that his speaking and writing style were very similar. Direct, concise, and very informative.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Maulucci

    WOW! in-depth. well-researched. now this is a book. not to mention the provocative subject matter. elegantly written. just the right amount of quotes. just the right amount of anecdotes. just the right amount of philosophy. just the right amount of instruction. just the right amount of heart. no lulls in book. masterfully written. thoroughly enjoyed losing myself in the genius of this excellent author. I recommend this book to men everywhere in every profession. I recommend this book to women wh WOW! in-depth. well-researched. now this is a book. not to mention the provocative subject matter. elegantly written. just the right amount of quotes. just the right amount of anecdotes. just the right amount of philosophy. just the right amount of instruction. just the right amount of heart. no lulls in book. masterfully written. thoroughly enjoyed losing myself in the genius of this excellent author. I recommend this book to men everywhere in every profession. I recommend this book to women who have had fathers in the military or in the police force. I recommend this book to mothers of men. two thumbs up. Thank you, Gordon, for recommending this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Patric

    Finished this book in just under a year. Quite the struggle. I read this because I thought I would find helpful information that was not covered in On Killing. However, what I found was a very similar book filled with a TON of filler. There are quotes for every heading and input from probably anyone who sent Col Grossman correspondence over the years. The random letters and articles are very brief and many lack the depth to leave impact on the message. Example of a filler was found in three cons Finished this book in just under a year. Quite the struggle. I read this because I thought I would find helpful information that was not covered in On Killing. However, what I found was a very similar book filled with a TON of filler. There are quotes for every heading and input from probably anyone who sent Col Grossman correspondence over the years. The random letters and articles are very brief and many lack the depth to leave impact on the message. Example of a filler was found in three consecutive paragraphs that I took note of when referencing a defense lawyer. In the first paragraph he references a lawyer in a thousand dollar suit; second, the lawyer is paid big bucks; third, slick lawyer in a shiny suit. Just say a defense lawyer...we get it! This book should be half the length, and maybe even shorter than that. Maybe I should've looked for the cliff notes. I forced myself to continue reading it hoping to find some helpful information after a critical incident just to find myself getting distracted and annoyed as the book continually pandered to people like me by constantly referring to them as warriors. Additionally, it was very apparent that the authors needed to do their best to blow smoke up anyone's butt when referencing them in the book. And it was repetitive in the manner of continuously saying great things about these doctors/researchers/experts. Once is enough. Multiple times either means you're trying to compensate for something, or you're looking for filler. This was even done when Col Grossman referred to his co-author. You don't need to do that! He's writing the book with you! Apart from that, this is not an action novel and therefore it does not need the abundance of adjectives. In an action novel, a cop may patrol a "mean street". In a book on the psychology of policing, a cop simply patrols. The reader is not a second grader. They know what a cop's job is. People watch the news and TV. I wish I would've taken notes from day one but then this review would be as long as the book. While I think this book is not written well, I don't doubt the writers' expertise in this field. I just feel this book was a painful read due to all the fluff surrounding almost every topic. If it was written well and all the extra stuff was cut out, this could be an informative short read that people might feel more positive about.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Aj Sterkel

    First, I have to say that I’m not the target audience for this book. In the language of the book, I am most definitely a “sheep.” When all hell breaks loose, I run the other way. Fast. I got this book for research purposes, and it wasn’t what I was expecting. I wish that the book had more citations and more balanced arguments. Some of the statistics are worded in misleading ways, and a few of the chapters come across as one-sided rants. The author didn’t always convince me that his arguments were First, I have to say that I’m not the target audience for this book. In the language of the book, I am most definitely a “sheep.” When all hell breaks loose, I run the other way. Fast. I got this book for research purposes, and it wasn’t what I was expecting. I wish that the book had more citations and more balanced arguments. Some of the statistics are worded in misleading ways, and a few of the chapters come across as one-sided rants. The author didn’t always convince me that his arguments were true. I also wish that the book had been less about the author and more about the things in the book’s description. Some of the chapters are interesting, and I’m sure that this book is a fabulous resource for warriors, but if you’re doing academic research, there are better books out there.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    Grossman once again takes his readers into the psychology and physiology of killing, combat and deadly force incidents. Why I started this book: Working my way thru the audio books that I have access to. This has been on my list for a while... that's the problem with long lists. Why I finished it: This book is very repetitive. Since it is focused on "warriors" and reassuring them that what they are experiencing is normal, the repetitive comments helped spread the author's message. (And frankly, it Grossman once again takes his readers into the psychology and physiology of killing, combat and deadly force incidents. Why I started this book: Working my way thru the audio books that I have access to. This has been on my list for a while... that's the problem with long lists. Why I finished it: This book is very repetitive. Since it is focused on "warriors" and reassuring them that what they are experiencing is normal, the repetitive comments helped spread the author's message. (And frankly, it did feel a little like proselytizing.) Good support for combat veterans and cops but very condescending to civilians.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jake

    Good book. Deceitful title. This book is not what it sounds like. Perhaps it is the case that there were times where the psychology and some elements of physiology of people in war were analyzed, it though is an insult to the sciences of both physiology and psychology to claim this book aptly presented information on the subjects. Overall though this book had some pretty high quality commentary on the psychology of what it is to be a warrior, how it is that these men and women must deal with the Good book. Deceitful title. This book is not what it sounds like. Perhaps it is the case that there were times where the psychology and some elements of physiology of people in war were analyzed, it though is an insult to the sciences of both physiology and psychology to claim this book aptly presented information on the subjects. Overall though this book had some pretty high quality commentary on the psychology of what it is to be a warrior, how it is that these men and women must deal with the horrifying experiences of combat, and some other fun topics. Grossman has some great commentary on mass shootings in America. Genuinely. His take on mass shooting has probably been the most sensible and useful I have thus seen. The parts of the book on this made the whole book worthwhile. Overall. It was a pretty decent and I advocate anyone interested war, combat and conflict to read it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kia

    I couldn't get past the first few chapters. Propagandist, bombastic, and not at all the clinical examination of combat stress I was expecting. A biased paean to military and police "warriors" and "white knights" as well as American democracy and "peacekeeping" without relevance to current worldwide events. Maybe it got better. I'm not wasting any more time on it, though. I couldn't get past the first few chapters. Propagandist, bombastic, and not at all the clinical examination of combat stress I was expecting. A biased paean to military and police "warriors" and "white knights" as well as American democracy and "peacekeeping" without relevance to current worldwide events. Maybe it got better. I'm not wasting any more time on it, though.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Craig Fiebig

    Invaluable and insightful book. A particularly important work for those of us sitting safely distant from the pointy end of any spear.

  13. 4 out of 5

    James

    As I mentioned before in my review of "On Killing", I think that Colonel Grossman is an excellent theorist. This book presents an interesting account of how combat stress develops and identifies a number of moderating and mediating variables. It also provides an excellent account of what it is actually like for a soldier or peace officer to engage in combat, including cognitive, emotional, and moral consequences. These accounts are based on what seem to be hundreds of hours of interviews and cor As I mentioned before in my review of "On Killing", I think that Colonel Grossman is an excellent theorist. This book presents an interesting account of how combat stress develops and identifies a number of moderating and mediating variables. It also provides an excellent account of what it is actually like for a soldier or peace officer to engage in combat, including cognitive, emotional, and moral consequences. These accounts are based on what seem to be hundreds of hours of interviews and correspondence with people who have actually experienced combat, and are probably the book's most valuable contribution. Since combat is something that most mental health providers will never experience, it helps to have a written account that can help them relate to their clients who have. The empirical contributions of this book, however, are not quite as impressive. Data is often glossed over, and in at least one instance (I believe), obviously misinterpreted. Often times Colonel Grossman quotes himself, his personal correspondence, and works of fiction that he authored as data to support his theories. Not surprisingly, he usually finds that he agrees with himself. So, my belief is that the theories presented in this book are only ideas, and that empirical evidence is lacking. This is not to say that Colonel Grossman is wrong. It simply means that I think it is time for him to develop his ideas a little more by supporting them with empirical data. Of course, we must consider the difficulty of collecting empirical data about combat performance and the fact that this book was written for a primarily lay audience. However, the fact that he does cite some empirical studies suggests that the task is not impossible. I noticed that another review of this book mentions Colonel Grossman's frequent citing of his own credentials, which is true. Given the fact that Colonel Grossman never mentions any academic credentials, it creates the feel that he has a sort of (unnecessary) academic small-man complex and constantly needs to remind the reader of what an expert he actually is. Ironically, removing such frequent references to his own credentials would actually make the work seem more credible. A sizeable portion of the book is also dedicated to speaking out about violence in video games, television and movies. While the topic is interesting, it seems less relevant to the topic of combat and more appropriate for a separate book. Overall a good read, and probably a must-read for anyone involved in providing mental health care to police officers, members of the military, or any other group that might be exposed to combat situations. However, the information presented should not be taken as scientific "fact," but rather considered a jumping-off point for scientific inquiry.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    All the information police, soldiers and other warriors have been missing for over fifty years is right here in this solid volume. Lt Col Grossman and Loren Christensen put it all together. They've created terms we did not know we needed, for things we didn't even know occurred. Grossman has a cute but very apt description of the function of the midbrain, fulfilled by 'the puppy,' as he calls it. He calls fear of human violence the 'universal phobia,' and tells you why it's universal. He gives a All the information police, soldiers and other warriors have been missing for over fifty years is right here in this solid volume. Lt Col Grossman and Loren Christensen put it all together. They've created terms we did not know we needed, for things we didn't even know occurred. Grossman has a cute but very apt description of the function of the midbrain, fulfilled by 'the puppy,' as he calls it. He calls fear of human violence the 'universal phobia,' and tells you why it's universal. He gives a brief overview of what happens to your body when 'fight-or-flight' kicks in, then delves deeply into sensory distortions experienced in life-or-death situations. This is only the beginning. The authors divulge the training a person needs to enter the 'toxic, corrosive realm of combat,' and why we need those who are willing to do so. Stress and fear innoculation, dealing with killing, being wounded, and cultural issues are dealt with in section three. Sometimes the aftermath is far more traumatic to a person than the 5 minute episode of all hell breaking loose. The authors use almost 100 pages to discuss what happens after the smoke clears: PTSD, debriefings, a full explanation of tactical breathing, guilt, and communicating with those who've been 'there.' Along with the guilt issue, the author also addresses the conflicts that can develop from within because of a person's religious beliefs after killing. I believe this book to be of immense value to all emergency responders, police, and military personnel. After borrowing it and reading it, I've ordered it and recommended it to just about everyone I know in those communities. I would have a hard time recommending this book to anyone on the outside, which is part of why I rated it a four. There is a large amount of insider jargon, and a cultural bias, in the warrior community. This will not translate well for those Lt Col Grossman refers to as 'the herd.' The second reason I gave it a four is the physical quality of the book. The binding seperated from the spine almost immediately, and I can see the cover coming off within a few readings.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Owen

    I found On Combat to be significantly more poorly written, and more reliant on personal anecdotes (to say nothing often inexplicable quotes from Shakespeare's histories) than On Killing. With that said, I found it to be more interesting (fascinating, in fact) and far more practical. Again, this isn't science yet, but LtCol Grossman is pushing the boundaries of what we know and understand about the human psyche and the human experience. All human experience will involve conflict- not necessarily I found On Combat to be significantly more poorly written, and more reliant on personal anecdotes (to say nothing often inexplicable quotes from Shakespeare's histories) than On Killing. With that said, I found it to be more interesting (fascinating, in fact) and far more practical. Again, this isn't science yet, but LtCol Grossman is pushing the boundaries of what we know and understand about the human psyche and the human experience. All human experience will involve conflict- not necessarily armed- but this book disusses how and why we respond to stress between people. Definitely worth working through

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kira

    Don't let the title fool you. This isn't a book encouraging people to be violent and it's written for everyone - not just our police and military (though it should be mandatory reading for them). It's mainly about the physiological response to violence so covered a lot of the same material as "The Boy who was raised as a dog", though you wouldn't think so to compare the titles. A really interesting and thought-provoking read. Don't let the title fool you. This isn't a book encouraging people to be violent and it's written for everyone - not just our police and military (though it should be mandatory reading for them). It's mainly about the physiological response to violence so covered a lot of the same material as "The Boy who was raised as a dog", though you wouldn't think so to compare the titles. A really interesting and thought-provoking read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jacob

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Written more for soldiers and others who end up in real combat situation. This book is important for people to understand what they have, are, or will experience when faced with violence and violent situations.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Blackledge

    I read Lt. Col. Dave Grossman's On Combat directly after reading Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk's Brilliant new book The Body Keeps Score and the juxtaposition of the two was marvelous. If I were a book DJ (Perhaps the dorkiest idea/fantasy I have ever had), I would definitely mix these two on my literary wheels of steel. Wow. No two ways about it. That was capital L lame. But you get the point right? The books were good together. Anyway. The Body Keeps Score is all about trauma. It's all about how psych I read Lt. Col. Dave Grossman's On Combat directly after reading Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk's Brilliant new book The Body Keeps Score and the juxtaposition of the two was marvelous. If I were a book DJ (Perhaps the dorkiest idea/fantasy I have ever had), I would definitely mix these two on my literary wheels of steel. Wow. No two ways about it. That was capital L lame. But you get the point right? The books were good together. Anyway. The Body Keeps Score is all about trauma. It's all about how psychologically damaging it can be to be subjected to certain kinds of distressing events and environments. On Combat is all about how to function and survive and even thrive in situations of extreme violence and danger. The Body Keeps Score is about how our bodies and nervous systems become trained over prolonged (or even brief) exposure to traumatizing events and environments. And how to re-train our nervous systems in the event of impairment. On Combat is all about how effective preventative training can prepare the individual to be exposed to danger and violence, day after day, and how to best inoculate these individuals from traumatization. These may seem like bookends on an either/or debate. But to me they are counterbalances in a both/and dialectic of healing and resilience. Masculine Values: I'm a therapist, and I'm a man, and I work with men. Although the field used to be dominated by men. It's now pretty much dominated by women with predominantly liberal sensibilities. While I personally am not complaining, mostly because I myself have some very liberal and feminine sensibilities. I also recognize that the typical therapeutic environment is very off putting to a good portion of the people who need mental health services. Unfortunately the attitude of a lot of therapists is that people with conservative and masculine sensibilities just need to "learn to be vulnerable and self disclosing". While this may be true, that's like asking the hippie chick from Berkeley to learn to be a trained killer. It could happen, but in order to get her there, we may be better off going with (validating) her strengths and cultural inclinations and redirecting (nudging) her in the desired direction over time. We may want to appeal to her sense of justice for the disenfranchised, and her need to protect and nurture the young and defenseless. Liberal ideologies turned peaceniks, poets and painters into bomb makers and street fighters in the mid 20th century. Think of the Spanish Civil War and the liberation politics of 1960's era activists like the Black Panthers and the Weather Underground. David Ayers and Bernadine Dorn didn't start out as militants. They began as peace activists. And slowly, incrementally they were drawn in to violent resistance based on their peace loving values. I wonder if we could somehow flip that equation and lure warriors over to the agenda of "feeling and healing" by appealing to their traditional conservative values. I realize that not every cop and service member is conservative or male. But I'm painting in broad strokes here. Anyway. The main point I'm trying to make is, if we as therapists are committed to assisting Individuals on their journey of healing and recovery from trauma, than we should be willing and able to meet our clients where they are at, and appeal to their values, rather than insisting that they adopt our values. If we want to make therapy palatable and accessible to cops and soldiers we could start by calling it "psychological training" and emphasizing that it makes you more effective and resilient. I think making "psychological training" palatable and accessible to people with traditional, conservative, masculine values is a big part of Grossman's agenda. And God bless him for it (even though I don't actually believe in all that God stuff). Once they (or anyone for that matter) feel safe, understood, joined in alliance and validated, then the business of "psychological training" becomes possible. I'm willing to bet that everyone can agree that police and military service members could benefit from effective "psychological training". Grossman is versed in the culture, speaks the lingo, shares the values and experiences, and is creating a kind of "psychological training" that operates effectively in this particular cultural milieu. And I personally think it's rad. The Conservative Arts: Although Grossman is very clearly not a liberal. He makes liberal use of the liberal arts. Only he rather masterfully and selectively uses literature, poetry and history to construct a heroic lore that supports and celebrates the warrior in a way that is minimally offensive to the target audience. Rather then referring to the cerebral ancient Greeks. Grossman refers to the Spartans. At one point he talks about the 300 Spartan warriors that defended Sparta and the battle is Thermopylae that were depicted in the (extremely Homoironic as hell) film 300. As legend has it, the Persians were trash talking and saying we've got so many dudes, that when we fire our arrows they darken in the sky. Supposedly the Spartans shot back with "good, then we will fight in the shade". I don't care who you are. That's good shit. Sensitive Big Guys: (WARNING - Spoiler Alert) Of course the book is packed with anecdotes of bighearted heroic acts of valor that make you cry a little bit. One of them was about a little girl who was sexually abused and who had to testify against the perpetrator in order to get a conviction. Apparently she was absolutely petrified and frozen on the stand. Neither her parents, lawer or psychologist could help her feel comfortable enough to testify. One of the cops involved in the case approached the little girl and said that he was frequently scared to do his job, but that one of the things that helped him do what needed was his badge. He took off the badge and gave it to the little girl and told her that if she got scared, she could squeeze the badge (safely of course) and maybe it would help her too. I guess it worked, because the little girl testified and the perv was convicted. Incidentally, the cop received the medal of honer for the service. The thing that I loved about the story was that the cop was able to do his duty and help the little girl by being vulnerable. Linking traditional, conservative values of duty and service with the therapeutic values of willingness to feel and be vulnerable. That's good shit. Another anecdote told of a rookie cop who was being trained by a revered veteran cop who told him "you aren't ready to graduate till you know what they taste like". This confused the rookie cop. He couldn't figure out what he was supposed to taste. Then he happened upon a domestic violence incident in which a little girl (again with the little girl image) witnessed her mother being killed by her father. The rookie cop cuffed the father and tried to save the mother but it was too late. She was already dead. In the eyes of the little girl the the rookie cop not only failed to resuscitate the mother, but he was also the bad guy who took daddy away. When he got to the station he broke down. The veteran cop asked the rookie "how do they taste" referring to the rookies own tears. After that the rookie was promoted. The rookie cop made it to the next level by being both strong and functional in the field, and vulnerable when it was safe and permissible. That's what I like to call "healing and dealing". Again, really good shit. And those are simply a few examples. Of course both stories sound vaguely suspicious, and we could file them in the "that shit didn't actually happen" bin. But I don't actually care if it actually happened, I view the stories as more or less parables that serve a function. And a laudable one at that. Which brings me to my final point. Intellectual Dishonesty? Another reviewer who I respect very much made the point about Grossman's work that it (to paraphrase) relies on the false assertion that violent crime and murder rates are higher than ever. The reviewer argued that according to reliable expert sources, the opposite is in fact the case i.e. violent crime and murder are way down. I actually think it depends on how you interpret the data. Superhuman intellectuals like Steven Pinker assert that violence is at an all time low and continuing to trend in the downward direction (see Pinker's spectacular book on the subject, Better Angeles Of Our Nature). Many others including Robert Write (Nonzero) and Matt Ridley (Rational Optimist) make similar points. Grossman posits that if you account for improvements in medical technology, the death rate would in fact be much higher than in previous ages. Making the point that attempted murder is actually at an all-time high and the statistics that show a decline in murder are deceptive. The better part of me (bad pun) is inclined to go with Pinker and friends. Mostly because they make such compelling arguments, but also because they all attribute the decline in violence to "civilizing" factors such as increased literacy and decreased discrimination. Part of the reason I tend to go with Pinker's story is because it validates my humanistic values and professional mission as an educator and therapist. I like the idea that education and social work work. But if I were a cop or military guy I think I'd like the story that "things are going to hell in a hand basket" and "we need cops and soldiers more that ever". Both versions of the story are remedial and protective against traumatization and burnt out, depending on your line of work. I'm a functional contextualist. I'm willing to forgo a debate about the capital T "truth" in favor of an examination of how each story serves a particular function in a particular context. I believe Grossman's interpretation of the data functions (in part) as a bulwark against burnout and traumatization in his target population. Since I am quite amenable to reducing burnout and traumatization by any means necessary, particularly in populations that (a) carry guns and (b) keep us safe. Then for now, I will pass on a capital T tug-of-war between "true or false" in favor of a both/and Yin/Yang, healing and dealing, solution focused truce. I'm willing to entertain the possibility that violence is on the rise in some regards. Particularly rampage style school shootings. I'm also willing to entertain the possibility that it takes both books and bombs to maintain a peaceful and functional society. I am personally going to keep promoting the books half of that equation. Who knows, maybe I'll even get behind my new avocation and become DJ bookworm (cringe). But ding dang, I sure am glad to have a nice, safe home and homeland to read my books in. And I am also a huge fan of Lieutenant Colonel Grossman's work. So I'm going to go ahead and highly recommend this book. WARNING: There's some really awkward passages in the book. I found the first chapter to be nearly unreadable. That's why I'm giving it 4 rather than 5 stars. If you get the book, hang in there through the dorky parts. Overall, it's a very useful interesting inspirational and rewarding read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kiemon

    I love the insight on the effects of combat and other high-stress/intense encounters. Breaking down the thought process and physical stimulus puts things into perspective from the act of taking a life to witnessing a traumatic event. I don't agree with Lt. Col Grossman on all things, such as the effects of video games on society but overall this is a must read. I love the insight on the effects of combat and other high-stress/intense encounters. Breaking down the thought process and physical stimulus puts things into perspective from the act of taking a life to witnessing a traumatic event. I don't agree with Lt. Col Grossman on all things, such as the effects of video games on society but overall this is a must read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Dambro

    Excellent book on the business of combat, both civilian and military. It goes through the process from start to finish with a clarity and thoughtfulness that only comes with experience and deep thought. The definition of wolves, sheep and sheepdogs is brilliant.

  21. 4 out of 5

    TEELOCK Mithilesh

    Using his repertoire of military experience, Grossman captures the visceral state of the human psyche during perceptions of extreme danger. With the assistance of Christensen, who is a retired police officer, this incredibly insightful book was published. The text delves into the complexity of deadly force. The publication definitively establishes the fundamental role of a security officer. Collectively, the thesis posits that these individual workers use their presence to ensure societal safety Using his repertoire of military experience, Grossman captures the visceral state of the human psyche during perceptions of extreme danger. With the assistance of Christensen, who is a retired police officer, this incredibly insightful book was published. The text delves into the complexity of deadly force. The publication definitively establishes the fundamental role of a security officer. Collectively, the thesis posits that these individual workers use their presence to ensure societal safety; according to the authors, this defines them as modern warriors. With more detail than any other researcher could muster on the topic, this thrilling study starkly carves out the innate place in culture that protection workers occupy.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Henry

    Don't expect a story. This is a one man's guide into the subject On Killing/On Combat. There is an online certificate course for this book that I recommend taking. Don't expect a story. This is a one man's guide into the subject On Killing/On Combat. There is an online certificate course for this book that I recommend taking.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Carly

    While the main audiance of this book might be designed to be police officers or those in the armed forces, it was a very interesting read from any perspective. A few of the chapters go into detail into the effect of video games on children (as well as TV and movies). This was really fascinating to read because talking to my students, I can see how much they love those games, and while I never thought highly of them, I may also have underminded their importance (or destructiveness, as it were) on While the main audiance of this book might be designed to be police officers or those in the armed forces, it was a very interesting read from any perspective. A few of the chapters go into detail into the effect of video games on children (as well as TV and movies). This was really fascinating to read because talking to my students, I can see how much they love those games, and while I never thought highly of them, I may also have underminded their importance (or destructiveness, as it were) on children. That is a portion of this book, but the main points of the book describe what it means to be a 'warrior'--and what a warrior might expect before, during and after combat. Combat can be described in many ways. Before it takes place, it's important to be prepared mentally and physically. Training is key, as our bodies literally shut down when we are stressed, and one sinks to the level of their training. Mentally and emotionally, we need to know what we are willing to do, so we are not cursed with indecision at the moment of crisis. During the crisis, it is important to try to keep our bodies within a healthy heart rate (breathing techniques help), because physiologically speaking, if our heart rate gets too high, we shut down. (Not desired!) After a crisis, we need to debrief. We need to talk with others to either share our pain, or share our joy. We made it, we are alive. The debriefing is only as important as your mental health after a crisis is to you. There is catharsis in talking about what happened. While I am not a police officer, or in any branch of the armed forces, this book gave me a lot to think about in relation to school safety and shootings, and how adults (myself included) should respond to such a threat or actual event. I think the message I am taking from the book is: whereas I would absolutely hate to be in a position to need the infomraiton in this book....I would much rather be prepared if I'm ever forced into such a situation!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    Very intense, but incredible book on the psychology and physiology of war. I became interested in this after talking with dozens of Afghan mujahadeen (freedom fighters) who described to me in detail what it was actually like to be in combat against the Russians or Taliban, and how even as warriors they long for peace. This book also goes into detail to help the healing process of veterans who have been involved in combat through breathing exercises, meditation and learn from others who have been Very intense, but incredible book on the psychology and physiology of war. I became interested in this after talking with dozens of Afghan mujahadeen (freedom fighters) who described to me in detail what it was actually like to be in combat against the Russians or Taliban, and how even as warriors they long for peace. This book also goes into detail to help the healing process of veterans who have been involved in combat through breathing exercises, meditation and learn from others who have been able to resolve their anguish and torment from the violence of war to a healing process. The psychological trauma inflicted on those who have been in war is perhaps one of the least supported areas of veterans, and this book is an excellent resource for the military and public. Thank you Dave for the prolific research, and insightful writing done to produce this excellent book!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    This book is a MUST read if you have any family members, friends or loved ones in the military. It treats the psychological aspect of what combat does to people. It discusses feelings during the episode, what happens to the physical body, what to espect, and even goes into detail on how to treat those who have been in combat or in a life and death situation. Towards the end of the book it teaches a breathing technique that can be used in any situation to calm yourself or someone else down, and d This book is a MUST read if you have any family members, friends or loved ones in the military. It treats the psychological aspect of what combat does to people. It discusses feelings during the episode, what happens to the physical body, what to espect, and even goes into detail on how to treat those who have been in combat or in a life and death situation. Towards the end of the book it teaches a breathing technique that can be used in any situation to calm yourself or someone else down, and diminish the effects of stress. It is funny, cause I have used the technique with my little girl, but didn't really realize the physics behind it. Amazing book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    At the recommendation of a friend, I started reading this book. The reason he recommended it was because I'm in a leadership position in my military unit. I didn't think it was so much about how to be a good leader more than it was a book that talks about why we need warriors, who should be warriors, what a warrior should expect during combat and what to expect when coming home. This book is under my skin right now and has me questioning so much about myself. What I'm thinking is rather personal At the recommendation of a friend, I started reading this book. The reason he recommended it was because I'm in a leadership position in my military unit. I didn't think it was so much about how to be a good leader more than it was a book that talks about why we need warriors, who should be warriors, what a warrior should expect during combat and what to expect when coming home. This book is under my skin right now and has me questioning so much about myself. What I'm thinking is rather personal, but it's making me think very hard. I would recommend this book to anyone who is really dedicated to the job in the military or law enforcement.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    Colonel Grossman looks at the psychology of combat and brings a completely new view of what happens in the mind of a man when he must kill. This book, along with its companion book, On Killing, are excellent resources for those in military or law enforcement who may some day have to fire on and possibly kill their fellow man. What ingrained mental processes may keep them from functioning as they need to to survive, how can they train to use their mind to the greatest advantage rather than have t Colonel Grossman looks at the psychology of combat and brings a completely new view of what happens in the mind of a man when he must kill. This book, along with its companion book, On Killing, are excellent resources for those in military or law enforcement who may some day have to fire on and possibly kill their fellow man. What ingrained mental processes may keep them from functioning as they need to to survive, how can they train to use their mind to the greatest advantage rather than have their mind get them killed, and how can they avoid becoming psychological casualty. An incredible book that every soldier should read!

  28. 4 out of 5

    John

    Awesome book, but not for you. Covers training, physiology, psychology and more related to killing. How to train those whose job it is to kill, soldiers, police etc. How the media and FPS video games train those we don't want to kill, Columbine,Jonesboro etc. How to deal with killing or its negative side effects. A must read for any warrior or anyone associated personally or professionally with one. Also excellent for first responders and others whose lives are touched by violent death. This book Awesome book, but not for you. Covers training, physiology, psychology and more related to killing. How to train those whose job it is to kill, soldiers, police etc. How the media and FPS video games train those we don't want to kill, Columbine,Jonesboro etc. How to deal with killing or its negative side effects. A must read for any warrior or anyone associated personally or professionally with one. Also excellent for first responders and others whose lives are touched by violent death. This book could save your life.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Andy Valadez

    Excellent book. For every sheep dog - law enforcement, military, martial artist or former military or law enforcement. Anyone who is interested in being a force for good. "On Combat" is designed to prepare the reader for "bullet proof" mind when it comes to understanding how conflict escalated saves lives. Colonel Grossman refuses interviews because the information he shares is the difference between life and death. Mistakes and misquotes in this regard can cost lives. Excellent analysis of comb Excellent book. For every sheep dog - law enforcement, military, martial artist or former military or law enforcement. Anyone who is interested in being a force for good. "On Combat" is designed to prepare the reader for "bullet proof" mind when it comes to understanding how conflict escalated saves lives. Colonel Grossman refuses interviews because the information he shares is the difference between life and death. Mistakes and misquotes in this regard can cost lives. Excellent analysis of combat situations and real threats in our society.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Steven van Doorn

    A very good discussion on the many psychological and physiological aspects of combat. This book talks about what a warrior can expect to experience and feel in a deadly fight, how to prepare for that fight and what to do afterward to maintain your health both physically and more importantly mentally. A good read for any warrior (someone who has or may have to kill as a lawful part of their job). I can also see this book being very helpful for someone who knows a warrior and wants to better under A very good discussion on the many psychological and physiological aspects of combat. This book talks about what a warrior can expect to experience and feel in a deadly fight, how to prepare for that fight and what to do afterward to maintain your health both physically and more importantly mentally. A good read for any warrior (someone who has or may have to kill as a lawful part of their job). I can also see this book being very helpful for someone who knows a warrior and wants to better understand what their life is like.

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