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War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning [Paperback]

Chris Hedges
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: 9.04 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Jun 2003
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 the most 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.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor Books; Reprint edition (1 Jun 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400034639
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400034635
  • Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 13.4 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Chris Hedges is a cultural critic and author who was a foreign correspondent for nearly two decades for The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor and National Public Radio. He reported from Latin American, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He was a member of the team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for The New York Times coverage of global terrorism, and he received the 2002 Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism. Hedges, who holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School, is the author of the bestsellers Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt (with Joe Sacco), American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle and was a National Book Critics Circle finalist for his book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. He is a Senior Fellow at The Nation Institute and writes an online column for the web site Truthdig. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University and the University of Toronto. He lives in Princeton, N.J. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be required reading 5 Oct 2007
This book is a profound, thought-provoking and heart-rendingly honest exploration of war. Hedges does not hesitate to admit the lure of conflict, describing it as an 'addiction' which has affected him for much of his career. See this book through. If you ever spared a thought for anyone lost in conflict, or for those returning to 'normal' life after being caught up in a war, then take the time to read this.

Hedges explores the realities of conflict, of media reporting during a war, of divided communities and displaced ethic groups in societies that are torn apart. He manages to provide broad perspectives on many of these issues, whilst allowing individual's stories to be heard. Many of his illustrations are from the Balkans conflict, but he draws on his extensive experience as a reporter in the front line from dozens of conflicts around the globe.

Yes - much of this book is personal. But it is far from indulgent. This is an excellent piece of writing, and the personal experience is what gives it such credibility and gravity. His credentials are outstanding, and he deserves to be listened to. If you are in any doubt (especially after reading the other solitary review on this site), then just search for Hedges on Amazon's sister site in the USA (amazon.com) and see what over 100 reviewers have to say...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars War Can be Fun, Sort of 24 Mar 2010
Could you enjoy war? Could you even be addicted to it, and never want it to end? In reality, the answer is yes, but our current ideologies about war (random episodes of senseless violence) make it hard to understand why. Not only does war have a special political and economic interest for many, it can even seem fun and exciting. A veteran war correspondent, Hedges makes us understand why.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Provocative, insightful and human 15 Mar 2008
I can't say that I 'enjoyed' this book because the subject matter is so tough, but I did find this book enormously provocative, thoughtful and insightful. It made me think about war in new and expanded ways becasue it asks big questions and explores big issues. These issues and questions are illustrated by stories that come from Hedges' personal experience and so this is a very connected, alive and embodied book. Each story adds something to the bigger theme and brings a question or idea into sharper focus at the same time as humanising it.

Some of the issues that I was struck by include: The addictive nature of war; the was the myths that are created to drive war and how those myths differ so enormously from the reality; how the parties engaged in war destroy their own cultures before trying to destroy those of the 'enemy'; the importance of a victim in sanctifying war; the way that memory is hijacked and distorted; the relationship between love and war.

Moreover, all that Hedges describes about war can also be applied to wars between individuals (i.e. toxic relationships) and even to the conflicts that happen between different parts of our own psyches.

I found this to be a profound book. It enlarged my understanding at a variety of different levels.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 8 Mar 2004
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A writer to keep track of, he has good ideas and analyses, but this book is mainly a way for him to work things through, and since he hasn't finished working them through yet there are no actual conclusions drawn.
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2.0 out of 5 stars I don't like that. 1 Sep 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It had underlined passages! I don't like that.
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