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What Every Person Should Know About War Paperback – 9 Jun 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 194 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1st Free Press Trade Paperback Ed edition (9 Jun. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743255127
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743255127
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 164,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Chris Hedges has been a foreign correspondent for fifteen years. He joined the staff of The New York Times in 1990 and previously worked for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor, and National Public Radio. He holds a B.A. in English literature from Colgate University and a master of divinity from Harvard University. He is lecturer in the Council of the Humanities and Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University. Hedges was a member of The New York Times team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for the paper's coverage of global terrorism, and he received the 2002 Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism. He is the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He lives in New York City.


Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The book may have some strong points, but one weakness can be found in the figures in Chapter 1, or at least the way in which they are contextualized.

A case in point is this paragraph on page 4:

«How deadly is the American military?
It is difficult to measure how many enemy deaths American armed forces have inflicted. Americans and their allies typically cause 10 to 20 times more combat casualties than American forces suffer. Estimates of Iraqi soldiers killed in the Gulf War range from 1,500 to 100,000. The lowest figure would still be 10 times the number of Americans killed in the war. Approximately 850,000 Vietcong died in the Vietnam War, 18 times the 47,000 U.S. dead. More than 600,000 North Korean and 1 million Chinese fighters died in the Korean War, almost 50 times the 33,000 American dead. In World War II, 3,250,000 German and 1,507,000 Japanese soldiers, sailors, and pilots were killed, 16 times the 291,000 American servicemen who were killed.»

The last two paragraphs are misleading, to say the least. The unwary and uninformed reader might be left with the impression that US forces killed 3,250,000 German and 1,507,000 Japanese soldiers, sailors, and pilots for a loss of 291,000 of their own, which of course is wrong.

The overwhelming majority of German soldiers who lost their lives in World War II (estimates go as high as 5,318,000 including deaths in captivity by German military historian Rüdiger Overmans in “Deutsche Militärische Verluste im Zweiten Weltkrieg”) died fighting the Soviets on the Eastern Front or in Soviet captivity.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just the facts. Backed up with stats.
Maybe slightly out-of-date but I think war had only got worse not better...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This books gives a civilian extremely useful background information about what happens on a front line (with american bias but still generally relevant).
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Book is exactly as described. An excellent well thought out read with no 'slant'.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars 62 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of What Every Person Should Know About War 27 April 2015
By SuperReader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Review of What Every Person Should Know About War
(Chris Hedges)

By: Taylor Fielstra

I was first introduced to Chris Hedges’s book What Every Person Should Know About War by my Intro to World Civilizations professor at Bethel College. We were asked to read the book and complete a project discussing the affairs covered within the pages. If my professor had not necessitated reading the book, I do not believe I would have ever thought twice about opening it up. Although I have a lot of respect for those who have served our country, I have never been strongly inclined to research the topic of war. However, I am glad that I engaged in reading What Every Person Should Know About War.

The book contains nine chapters where each one describes a different aspect of war. It emphasizes the stark contrast between life before, life during the war, and life afterwards. Hedges also reveals many of the shocking realities military personnel face on a day-to-day basis in combat. By doing without fancy wordplay, the concise question and answer format gives readers only factual information. Statistics and detailed descriptions shatter the misguided and dreamily heroic depictions of war. The book addresses questions regarding the heinous horrors of war such as torture, imprisonment, rape, and the intense psychological battles that follow.

What Every Person Should Know About War thoroughly accomplishes its purpose. By exposing the naked truth of wartime, Hedges sheds some light on a subject that many have not experienced. Hedges states only factual information without the frequent frills of writing that are custom to our culture today. Regardless of prior knowledge, all people can learn more about wartime. Hedges thoroughly explains and attempts to answer all questions that the public may have concerning warfare.

I would definitely recommend this book to a wide audience. If you have an extensive knowledge of modern warfare, this book is still for you. It is a great reminder about what all war entails. If you are like me and have barely any knowledge of modern warfare, I would definitely recommend this book to you as well. I was blown away by the many horrific truths of war. Hedges presents the information in an interesting format, keeping the attention of readers. This is a book the public needs to read.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars REad it. 8 Feb. 2015
By Miroku Nemeth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very informative work, primarily useful as a reference tool or for an introduction or overview of some basic issues pertaining to war, primarily from the viewpoint of an American soldier. It will be shocking to the uninitiated, but there is nothing unfamiliar to anyone who has either experienced or studied war in its reality. I do wish that many of the statistics were up-to-date, and find that his body counts are generally much lower or much more conservative for many wars than most scholarship (though it is a very inexact "science" anyway). If you are used to reading Chris Hedges' other works, this will be a bit of a different experience for you, as it does not have the same tone or contain the same withering jeremiads against corporate abuse and collusion with the state that you will expect. It was written and reviewed in coordination with many former soldiers and military officials, and while it gained much from this, it also seems to have lost something as well.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short, honest answers about random war related questions 14 Aug. 2016
By Sarah W. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author asks and answers very realistic, interesting questions about war. There are a variety of questions on varying topics and when there are different answers from the different services (Army, Air Force, etc.) the answers reflect those differences. Facts/statistics are divided at times between the wars for context/clarity.

The book is from 2007, so there will be less on the war in Afghanistan. The book is shorter than I thought it would be; a good portion is dedicated to citing the source material (not a criticism, just an observation).

I think the part of the review that says that it is a "ringing indictment of the glorification of war and the concealment of its barbarity" isn't completely accurate. I didn't see it that way. If you are giving this book to a young person in an attempt to dissuade them from joining the military, I'd caution you to think twice. The book in honest and raw, but to the type of person who would consider enlisting is probably the type of person who it would appeal to.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and very important publication for those considering military service. 12 Nov. 2015
By MountaineerRadical - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very concise review of topics that will face those entering the armed forces that many individuals don't think to consider before signing the contract. It also provides essential information for those facing combat situations. It will need revised in a new edition to reflect the many changes that have occurred in the military since the book was first published. It covers primarily Department of Defense services, active, reserve and guard. I would recommend that a newer edition cover more of the Coast Guard and it's role in armed conflict. A newer edition may want to look more at veterans' issues as well.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This balances the usual stories of valor and galantry on the battlefield. 5 Jan. 2015
By Rose Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Chris Hedges never pulls his punches. I value his reporting of, in my opinion, how war is invariably a lose/lose activity. I regret that we place our young men and women in the midst of such terror and gore beginning at age 18 which is at least seven years before they normally have fully developed mental judgment, according to recent studies of the brain.
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