War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning

War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning

by Chris Hedges
4.5 13

Paperback(First Trade Paper Edition)

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Overview

War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges


As a veteran war correspondent, Chris Hedges has survived ambushes in Central America, imprisonment in Sudan, and a beating by Saudi military police. He has seen children murdered for sport in Gaza and petty thugs elevated into war heroes in the Balkans. Hedges, who is also a former divinity student, has seen war at its worst and knows too well that to those who pass through it, war can be exhilarating and even addictive: “It gives us purpose, meaning, a reason for living.”

Drawing on his own experience and on the literature of combat from Homer to Michael Herr, Hedges shows how war 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781610393591
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 04/08/2014
Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 183,870
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author


Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist. He spent nearly two decades as a correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans, with fifteen years at the New York Times. A former fellow at The Nation Institute, he is the author of numerous bestselling books, including Empire of Illusion; Death of the Liberal Class; War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning; and Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, which he co-wrote with Joe Sacco. He writes a weekly column for the online magazine Truthdig. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

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War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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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Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fascinating. Goes beyond a simple critique of war to delve into what it is about humans that makes them thrive on violence.