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War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning [Kindle Edition]

Chris Hedges
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £10.99
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Book Description

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.

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Product Description


Looks at the appeal of war, arguing that the ideas of combat are noble and glorious, providing a purpose for living for some people.

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.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 360 KB
  • Print Length: 228 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1610393597
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; First Trade Paper Edition edition (8 April 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #375,751 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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 ( and see what over 100 reviewers have to say...
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5 of 5 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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7 of 8 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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