The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society
The good news is that most soldiers are loath to kill. But armies have developed sophisticated ways of overcoming this instinctive aversion. And contemporary civilian society, particularly the media, replicates the army’s conditioning techniques, and, according to Lt. Col. Dave Grossman’s thesis, is responsible for our rising rate of murder among the young.
Upon its initial publication, On Killing was hailed as a landmark study of the techniques the military uses to overcome the powerful reluctance to kill, of how killing affects soldiers, and of the societal implications of escalating violence.
About the Author
A former Army Ranger and paratrooper, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman taught psychology at West Point and was the professor of Military Science at Arkansas State University.