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War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning

Average Rating 4.5
( 20 )
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5 Star

(12)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2007

    A book from one of the only trustworthy political voices.

    Chris Hedges, in this book, reveals exactly what compels people to support the slaughter of their fellow humans. He takes us down a dark road of hypnotic, narcotic addiction to violence, the self-worship of the 'noble cause of war,' the necrophilia that is the 'culture of death' that surrounds war and the military, the cataclysmic destruction brought about by war, and the emptiness in the hearts of people that creates the need for violence and cruelty in the name of justice. At a time when the media predictably supports every war and every violent action, and depicts anybody who opposes the desires of the Bush administration as bloodthirsty terrorists and fanatics, Hedges aptly points out that the bloodthirstiness is in fact here, in America, and not out there in the desert of the Middle East. Moreover, I promise this is true: I saw Dick Cheney himself declare this as he lectured a live audience on C-SPAN: 'The war in Iraq is about America's economic interests, which need to be considered first so we remain a superpower.' That sums up what the Iraq war is really about, and Chris Hedges does a perfect job in proving it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2005

    Enticing and thought provoking

    Chris Hedges articulates that which is difficult to articulate: the brutal reality of war and of human nature. Referring to such people as Hannah Arendt, Simone Weil, and Shakespeare, Hedges looks at war from many different angles ¿ from theology to literature, from history to philosophy. In war morality is turned upside down, and the struggle is for life, not for a cause. Altruism and courage rarely exist in war, except as hypnotic rhetoric. Fear, the fight for survival, and visceral pleasure in sex, drink, and violence take over in war. He meditates on the chaos and insanity of war. The author exposes a dichotomy between the superficial pedestal on which war is often placed, such as in movies and stories like the Iliad, and the reality of war, which many of us fail to see or choose not to see. He contends that nations and the media build up the ¿myth of war¿; nations often build a national identity by creating an ¿us¿ and a ¿they,¿ a process which separates our humanity on a global scale. Love, or recognizing yourself in another, is an important step in dismantling the cycle of war. Hedges maintains that for reconciliation to occur, nations, such as Turkey, should not deny past atrocities they have committed (i.e. the Armenian genocide). Rather, a common language ¿ the truth of history and the humanity of love ¿ must be established if we are to coexist in the world. Or else destruction is imminent. Hedges concludes by saying that love, not war, provides real meaning in our lives. Overall, a worthwhile read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2003

    MUST READING FOR AMERICANS

    This book should be read by everyone, especially the current crop of average Americans who have suddenly found themselves proudly displaying their flag every time we issue a threat of war. It now seems fashionable for the USA to be the world's policeman. Mr. Hedges shows us how unfashionable and ugly war truly is.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2003

    Profound, Insightful and Disturbing

    Chris Hedges has written the quintessential anti-war novel. Unlike any previous narratives I read on the subject of war and combat, Hedges has beautifully weaved the mythical history and narcotic psychological effect with the realities and destructiveness of war upon combatants and non-combatants. This is a tough read - depressing and shocking but ever so enlightening - I have read it twice and am haunted by the imagery portrayed. This work is substantive, necessary and worthy of everyone's attention.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2003

    Hedges is a genius

    Hedges is a very deep thinker. His book is a masterful analysis of the war culture. His idea that war functions as a narcotic is an excellent analogy. He rightly points out how the mainstream media establishes a framework of thought, outside of which it is difficult to think (witness the reviewer who gave him two stars). Further, war destroys culture. Its gonna get us all killed, is one conclusion...if we let it. This is truly a timely volume to be reading and talking about now as the U.S. smashes Iraq, insulting legitimate world order, crushing human rights and living standards, and defying international law.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 26, 2012

    A BOOK EVERYONE SHOULD READ.

    CHRIS HEDGES GIVES THE READER A FULL ACCOUNT OF THE FUTILITY OF WAR.MR. HEDGES HAS BEEN A EYEWITNESS TO THE CARNAGE.THIS BOOK WILL OPEN THE READERS EYES.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2010

    A must read for every human being.

    Chris Hedges, a veteran correspondent, has reported on the front lines in the Balkans, the Middle East and Central America. In this book of the seductive and corrupting power of war for individuals and societies, Hedges draws upon his own experiences and events he has witnessed as a correspondent in far-off lands. Chris shows how war seduces not just those on the front lines but the entire societies, destroying culture and perverting basic human desires. A relentless litany of war's physicality, "War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning" looks hard at the non-physical engines of conflict and war's psychological detritus. Schooled in the literature of war, his journalism is studded with allusions to classical texts. War myths are created to provide the nation with illusion of clear chain of events that prove nobility of the cause and aggression of others. Moreover, war myths are necessary for making people follow leaders, fight and die for them. Culture is seen as the victim of war as war applies cultural peculiarities to its own purposes. Finally, the author assumes that religion is the only ultimate power that can resist war. Fear, the fight for survival, and visceral pleasure in sex, drink, and violence take over in war. He meditates on the chaos and insanity of war. The author exposes a dichotomy between the superficial pedestals on which war is often placed, such as in movies and stories like the Iliad, and the reality of war, which many of us fail to see or choose not to see. Hedges is not anti-war, he just exposes war for what it is. He shows how patriotism and nationalism are exaggerated to hide reality in the time of war and the myth takes over.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2007

    A Real Look Into War

    This book is one of the most interesting and fact filled books that i have ever read. It tells you more than you would ever dream about what realy happens during a war and how people feel and act. The stories he tells are so heart lifting and sad. It gives you so much detail on what war is all about and how it corrupts or changes peoples lives forever. This book will make you think about war and what its really all about.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2005

    Filled with reality

    This is a very good book that is filled with a lot of wisdom. It exposes the 'myth of war' and shows how we humans use war to satisfy a natural urge for meaning. There is a lot of refernces in this book to recent conflicts in the world. Hedges has covered many conflicts around the world such as the first Persian Gulf War and the war in Falklands. Hedges is not anti-war, he just exposes war for what it is. He shows how patriotism and nationalism are exagerrated to hide reality in the time of war and the myth takes over. A must read for every human being.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2005

    Sowing The Seeds

    This book changed the way I thought about war. It isn't glory or even manly. It's terrible and Hedges spelled it out for me. If we don't start to become more realistic about war and stop buying into the myth of it all, we are sowing the seeds of our own destruction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2004

    To the point, yet moving.

    Fascinating. Goes beyond a simple critique of war to delve into what it is about humans that makes them thrive on violence.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2003

    Everyone In America Should Read this Book

    Hedges book empowers the reader with true thought. The conclusion you come to is quite upsetting however.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2003

    A Citizen's Guide to Deciphering The Rhetoric of War

    This book articulates the reality of the hypocrisy of all society when dealing with people who are different. It can be used as a handbook to follow the Iraqi War. It has strengthened my convictions about the immorality and senselessness of war. Thank you Mr. Hedges for helping me come to grips with my own feelings of man's senseless cruelty. As a christian I am thankful to believe that God became man, it had to help him understand what cruelty we are all capable of and in that hopefully is our redemption. Listening to the ideological rhetoric coming from our government I fear we have not learned any lessons from history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2002

    Goodolcrapola

    This is some of the finest cliche work that has been written in quite some time. Meaning to what, for whom? Bravisimo!!!!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2009

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    Posted October 31, 2008

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    Posted October 4, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2011

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