|On Combat, The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace
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On Combat looks at what happens to the human body under the stresses of deadly battle the impact on the nervous system, heart, breathing, visual and auditory perception, memory - then discusses new research findings as to what measures warriors can take to prevent such debilitations so they can stay in the fight, survive, and win. A brief, but insightful look at history shows the evolution of combat, the development of the physical and psychological leverage that enables humans to kill other humans, followed by an objective examination of domestic violence in America. The authors reveal the nature of the warrior, brave men and women who train their minds and bodies to go to that place from which others flee. After examining the incredible impact of a few true warriors in battle, On Combat presents new and exciting research as to how to train the mind to become inoculated to stress, fear and even pain. Expanding on Lt. Col. Grossman s popular "Bulletproof mind" presentation, the book explores what really happens to the warrior after the battle, and shows how emotions, such as relief and self-blame, are natural and healthy ways to feel about having survived combat. A fresh and highly informative look at post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) details how to prevent it, how to survive it should it happen, how to come out of it stronger, and how to help others who are experiencing it. On Combat looks at the critical importance of the debriefing, when warriors gather after the battle to share what happened, critique, learn from each other and, for some, begin to heal from the horror. The reader will learn a highly effective breathing technique that not only steadies the warrior s mind and body before and during the battle, but can also be used afterwards as a powerful healing device to help separate the emotion from the memory. Concluding chapters discuss the Christian/Judeo view of killing in combat and offers powerful insight that Lt. Col. Grossman has imparted over the years to help thousands of warriors understand and come to terms with their actions in battle. A final chapter encourages warriors to always fight for justice, not vengeance, so that their remaining days will be healthy ones filled with pride for having performed their duty morally and ethically. This information-packed book ploughs new ground in its vision, in its extensive new research and startling findings, and in its powerful, revealing quotes and anecdotes from top people in the warrior community, people who have faced the toxic environment of deadly combat and now share their wisdom to help others. On Combat is easy to read and powerful in scope. It is a true classic that will be read by new and veteran warriors for years to come.
- No Combat
An amazing read on what happens to us in high stress situations. As a soldier in the US Army nothing better prepared me for the battle field than this. Highly recommended to everyone. Lt. Col. Grossman clearly paints the picture of what really happens during combat, why it happens, and what to do about it. On Combat does not delve quite as deep into what enables people to kill as a society, as he does in On Killing, but still gives a fascinating picture of what enables us to kill personally. On Combat also address what is happening to our society and how we can help the future and ourselves have a better world, even in the mist of so much violence. His advice on preparing for "combat" and how to handle it afterwards should be required teaching in all grade schools. Again I can't praise it high enough, nor recommend it to strongly, a must read for everyone still breathing....more info
- Must Read for Military and Law Enforcement
Grossman takes you deep into the many fears, hesitations and simply the unknowns that are faced by many that serve within the military and law enforcement. His studies are simply to understand and the many examples make the read hit home that much better. I would consider this a must read for anyone already serving or intending on serving in either the military or law enforcement field. ...more info
- A Non Warrior's Review
Many of the prior reviews were from those who go into danger to protect our nation and our neighborhoods. Their universal acclaim speaks volumes about the quality and integrity of Grossman's work in providing the tools to perform, sruvive and return.
On another level the book provides the average citizen the start of an understanding of how much different combat ( in Iraq and the liquor store holdup gone wrong) is different from what we see on TV, read in the papers and hear from those "professionals" who regularly review the performance of those who were engaged in combat. The book is a true eyeopener. On a personal level the book helped me understand what happened, how through chance I survived an armed robbery /kidnaping gone wrong.
For the concerned citizen the book serves another purpose and that is to validate Grossman's credentials to have written Stop Teaching Our Children To Kill. Sadly Grossman was not called upon to appear on TV during the non-stop coverage of the Virginia Tech killings. Perhaps the reason the book does not get the coverage it deserves is the direct and indirect threat it poses to much of the media.
Both On Combat and Stop Killing Our Children are great contributions and highly recommended....more info
- A book for warriors
This book is another must read for all going into military, law enforcement, or any other "sheep dog" activity (read the book for the reference!). I didn't think it quite as amazing as "On Killing", but still well worth reading. ...more info
- on combat: the psychology and physiology of deadly conflict
this is a very well written book. i recommend it to be read by anyone whom has served in life or death combat or may be faced with life or death combat in their job duties. a lot of the information could be useful on the streets for the adverage joe or jane who may become a victim of violence and in search of that edge that could mean the difference between living and dying. I hope that any warrior in todays modern military service will study this book and add its information to their mental arsenal. ...more info
- good read
I liked the book, I found too much redundancy and repetition through out the book, I would read a sentence and go hey, didn't I just read that?
He needs a new editor. I did learn quite a bit, did not find the answers in which I was hoping to find, but still gained insight and knowledge that I did not have before reading the book. I would have like to have read more about the Troop aspect as opposed to firemen and cops....more info
- A Compendium of Wisdom and Practical Advice - Part I of a Review of "On Combat" by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman with Loren W. Christen
With this review of "On Combat," I am departing from past practices in The White Rhino Report. This is the first review of a book that I will offer as a multi-part discussion of the book. The reason is simple. There is simply so much meat in "On Combat" that I cannot adequately respond to it all within the confines of one Blog posting.
Last week, when I review Lt. Col. Grossman's first book, "On Killing," I mentioned my friend, Kevin, who flies helicopters as part of the Army's elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. In an e-mail conversation I had earlier today with Kevin, he talked about his anticipation of reading my reaction to the book he told me I must read next - "On Combat":
"It will be interesting to see what you think about `On Combat' (my personal Bible)."
Kevin is a West Point graduate who is the veteran of two deployments to Iraq. He knows a great deal about combat - from a historical, theoretical and experiential perspective. For someone like Kevin to call "On Combat" his "Bible" speaks to the fact that there is a mother lode of gold-plated wisdom and practical guidance for warriors contained within the almost 400 pages of this book.
The full title of this sequel to "On Killing" is: "On Combat - The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace." Collaborating with Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman on the writing of this book is Loren W. Christensen, a veteran of 29 years in law enforcement, including time served as a military police officer in Vietnam. In this book, Grossman has expanded his focus from a study of killing to the broader study of combat. The expansion takes on additional dimension, because he now addresses a broader audience of warriors. In this book, the term "combat" refers not only to armed conflict on traditional fields of battle, but also to the deadly force situation that police officers often find themselves confronting. As further expansion of the concept of "combat," the book also offers chilling evidence that hyper-realistic violent video games and certain other violence-filled entertainment vehicles are turning our children into pseudo-warriors - yet without the discipline and restraints that true warriors learn as part of their training and socialization.
In a sense, "On Combat" is really four books in one. It is a handbook for warriors to use on the battlefield and upon their return home. It offers a cornucopia of insights into how best to think about and process in a healthy way the complex experiences and emotions of being in combat. At a second level, it serves as a similar kind of manual for police officers faced with the need to use deadly force, or to respond to assailants who use deadly force. At a third level, the book serves as a briefing tool for those who would aspire to be what Grossman calls "Peace Warriors" - those dedicated to making the world as safe and healthy a place as possible for ourselves and our children. Finally, in its emphasis on the deleterious effects of violent media on the minds of children and teenagers, it serves as a manual for parents and educators who need to understand the depth of the problem and the seriousness of the danger.
What makes Grossman's writing so compelling for me is the fact that he constructs his arguments and offers his case studies laid upon a solid foundation of experience, education and erudition. He quotes liberally - or, perhaps I should say "judiciously" - from the received wisdom of those who have gone before us. There are dozens of quotations from the Greek classics, from Scripture, from Shakespeare, from traditional hymnody and from a wide variety of wide writers and thinkers from the past. Such attributions add validity and texture to the contemporary examples that the authors offer to tell their stories and make their well-considered points.
Let me offer an excerpts from the fourth "handbook" I mentioned above - the guidebook for parents and educators in addressing issues of children's exposure to violent media:
"Until children are six or seven years old, they have great difficulty differentiating between fantasy and reality. That is why we do not use them as witnesses in court. We do not send people to prison on the word of a five-ear-old, since kids at that age are so malleable and suggestible. When children between two and six years of age see someone on television getting shot, stabbed, brutalized, degraded, and murdered, those images are real to them, as real as anything in their young lives." (Page 230)
In further explaining the impact of violent media upon children, the author invokes Socrates' words in Plato's "The Republic." As I read these words - first penned over 2,000 years ago - I was struck by their immediate relevance to the issues we struggle with today in dealing with violence in our media:
"What is this education to be then? Perhaps we shall hardly invent a system better than the one which long experience has worked out, with its two branches for the cultivation of the mind and the body. And I suppose we shall begin with the mind, before we start physical training.
And the beginning, as you know, is always the most important part, especially in dealing with anything young and tender. That is the time when character is being molded and easily takes any impression one may wish to stamp on it.
Then shall we simply allow our children to listen to any stories that anyone happens to make up, and so receive into their minds ideas often the very opposite of those we shall think they ought to have when they grow up?
No, certainly not.
It seems, then, our first business will be to supervise the making of fables and legends, rejecting all which are unsatisfactory; and we shall induce nurses and mothers to tell their children only those which we have approved, and to think more of molding their souls with these stories . . . Most of the stories now is use must be discarded.
The worst of all faults, especially if the story is ugly and immoral as well as false - misrepresenting the nature of gods and heroes.
A child cannot distinguish between the allegorical sense from the literal, and the ideas he takes in at that age are likely to become indelibly fixed; hence the great importance of seeing that the first stories he hears shall be designed to produce the best possible effect on his character." (Page 230)
Grossman takes this cogent argument into the 21st century with these follow-up comments:
"Think of the impact of violent media as a boot camp for kids, their own little basic training. As they sit before the tube, hour after hour, they learn that violence is good and violence is needed. They see it, experience it - and they believe it. The are inundated with the violence factor, but they never get the discipline. Now, if it troubles you that young soldiers have to go through a process of traumatization and brutalization, you should be infinitely more troubled that we are doing the same thing indiscriminately to our children without the safeguard of discipline . . . Our job is to protect our children, not rape their innocence when they are six. We can no more share our favorite violent movie (or TV show or video game) with our kids than we can share sex with them" (Pages 231)
My four sons range in age from 25 to 33. When they were being raised, we tried to be careful about these issues, but that was before the dramatic escalation in the level of realistic violence now available in high definition. As I read Grossman's words, I found myself saying a silent prayer of thanksgiving that my son and daughter-in-law show great wisdom, vigilance and restraint in monitoring the content of the media that their young daughter and son are exposed to.
In Part II of my review, I will discuss the author's tripartite depiction of the kinds of people that inhabit our world: sheep, wolves and sheepdogs.
- On Combat
I have read two books written by this author. Both are excelent and tells it like it is. Very clear to understand, explains in detail some of the emotions I experienced. Wish I would have known about this before....more info
- A Goldmine of Information
Although it is targeted primarily to warriors, 'On Combat' is a very valuable book that should be read by a much wider audience. It certainly has a wealth of information for soldiers and police officers, but it has much more besides.
I'll try to address some of the areas where it is particularly useful for military and law enforcement types (warriors) and also parts that are great for everyone.
First, the warriors:
1. Innoculation against fear and stress. By preparing psychologically for combat, one can be much better equipped to deal with it. This preparation also includes making the decision in advance if one is capable of killing another person in defense of oneself and others. (Hint: Those who cannot make that decision should not get into or stay in these fields.) As the authors state: 'When you are truly prepared to kill someone, you are less likely to have to do it.'
2. Debriefing - By talking through the events that have transpired, warriors are much better able to decompress. The authors even show the history of this and why PTSD and other psychological factors have been so much more problematic starting about the time of WWI.
3. Physical reactions - This includes the importance of such things as loss of bladder/bowel control, auditory exclusion, and tunnel vision.
4. Sleep deprivation and its toxic affect on performance.
Now, for everyone:
1. The powerful link between media and teen violence. A couple of the statistics cited in the book include these: A Canadian study showed a 90% reduction in teen violence when video games were removed. Also, there is a causal link between media and one-half of murders (AMA).
2. Tactical breathing - Although this powerful technique has a particular benefit for the military and law enforcement, its application can be of great help to those in accidents, undergoing medical procedures, etc. This one tool alone is well worth the price of the book.
Everyone can profit from the information in this book. I would recommend it for anyone....more info
- Good book, even for law enforcement
This is a good book for law enforcement that have had to or will face combat here on the streets. It is very enlightening to the mids response to what we face....more info
- On Combat provides insights, but marred by sloppy writing.
David Grossman continues his analysis of the warrior mind and consciousness, and provides valuable insights and advice to those
on the front lines of war abroad and police work at home.
However, the strength of the book is serious diluted by largely unedited inclusions of Grossman's training presentations. The excessively colloquial and informal language of oral presentations to "insider audiences" of police officers and soldiers does not make for an effective
book. Much is lost in the transition, which Grossman does not handle in a professional manner. On Combat needed a good, honest editor whose strong hand on the keyboard would have vastly improved the tone and style....more info
- Great Gift for a Returning Soldier
I first read this book over a decade after my own combat experiences during the first gulf war, and it was a great help to me.
Now I gift a copy of this book to my buddies as they prepare for their own deployment.
A must read for a citizen-soldier....more info
- At least my mind is prepared...
As a future Navy Riverine, I found the book compelling, entertaining, and most importantly, believably informative. Grossman's use of real peoples' encounters and afterthoughts made quite an impact on my outlook as I prepare for a mission terribly foriegn to most "fleet" sailors. veils were lifted and the truth has help me to become more confident in my ability to accept the task at hand. My only hope now is to somehow convince him to come and speak to our command as a whole so the other "non-book readers" I work with can share in his wisdom. Outstanding reads, both On Combat and On Killing. No Warrior should deploy not having read these books....more info
- Excellent read
Excellent read with very interesting facts. Could not put the book down....more info
- Criminal Prosecutor
As a deputy district attorney who prosecutes people who murder and attempt to murder police officers, I have a vested interest in understanding what officers go through during a deadly force encounter. Without a doubt, of all the books and articles I've read, this is the best book on the subject. The discussion of a person's reaction to a deadly force encounter is right on point. From auditory excluson, to visual distortion. For example, I did not understand in one of my cases why one police detective had temporary hearing loss during a shooting with a suspect, but the other person in the car who shot did not. Both were in an unmarked police car when the defendant turned his gun on them. The answer I learned is that the first law enforcement shooter in the car had momentary auditory shut-off (similar to the eye blinking when something comes close) because his body knew he was about to shoot back at the suspect who was outside the car. It's just a little thing, but I headed off a bigger issue in trial by knowing this.
By reading this book, I've had more effective interviews with victim officers, and have been equally effective is confronting arguments by defense attorneys regarding an officer's visual or auditory distortions. This book is a must read for anyone who helps protect the protectors, and especially for those on the front lines of protecting all of us. By knowing what is happening to the victim officer, he or she will be in a better position to explain it to investigators, prosecutors and juries.
My only complaint, is that I think Col. Grossman went off the deep-end when he gets to the chapter on video games, kids and T.V. That's not what I bought the book for, nor do I necessarily agree that he has sufficient support for his conclusions. You can skip those chapters near the end of the book, and still I would give it a 5 star rating.
Read this book before you buy anything else. The subsequent books I've purchased, including those from the co-author have fallen quite short.
- Fills the physiological gap left in On Killing.
On Killing read more like a study of a subject in need of research, but On Combat is much more developed and geared towards preparing the reader for how his mind and body will react to a combat environment both during and after the crucible of battle. This book should be required reading for law enforcement and the armed services....more info
- Grossman Hits Another Home Run
Anyone who has read "On Killing" knows that Col. Grossman knows his stuff on this topic. "On Combat" is a new look at this topic with many updates and some new ideas, including more original research into the mental processes that take place in the mind of a warrior during combat situations. The authors also look at the mental processes of 'recovery', why recovery sometimes goes wrong, and compare the homecoming of the veterans of the various 20th century wars to look at the results of Vietnam vs the other conflicts.
Combat stress and ways to minimize it are discussed, as well as the etymology of psychological casualties in combat. And as always, the trainer comes out in Col. Grossman throughout the book.
I was able to attend a conference recently and hear Col. Grossman speak. If you ever have the opportunity to go to one of these, DO NOT pass it up. He is one of the best speakers I've ever heard, and he'll completely engage you on this topic. In my opinion, EVERY cop, school administrator, teacher, and other LE personnel in America should be required to attend one of his seminars. If this were to happen, it could almost eliminate the threat of another major terrorist attack in this country.
We need more sheepdogs! Hooah!...more info
- Great book
This is a great follow up to On Killing. It is well written and very informitive...more info
- Must Read
This book is a must read for anyone even thinking about joining the Law enforcement community. I think that it should be a required read for cadets in every police academy ...more info
- An excellent resource for those who are sheepdogs guarding the sheep
After having been recommended this book by a friend I purchased and read it. Since that time I have purchased this book for my son in the Army, bought new copies for subordinates and given my copy to others to share. It clarifys the emotions, joys and fears that those of us in the combat arms professions never dared speak. Simply put (Ret.) Col. Grossman has written a book that can save current and future "sheepdogs" from the wolves....more info
- A must read for all military and law enforcement personnel
This book captures the emotions and physical processes of both combat and law enforcement stressors. It makes sense of the thoughts and feelings one goes through during difficult times in our lives such as combat and police shootings. Lt.Col. Dave Grossman writes an excellent book without the scientific jargon. This book is a must read for all military and law enforcement personnel!!! I am a combat veteran who is just beginning my career in law enforcement, and I will be going back to Iraq for a second time, after being called back up to active duty, so this book covers all aspects for me: both military and law enforcement situations and the thoughts and feelings these situations evoke within us. One of the best books I have ever read!!!...more info
I would recommend this book to any combat vet. I had the opportunity to hear him speak as well, great man, great book....more info
- On Combat
WOW, this is a must read for anyone in the military or Law Enforcement. They cover things I had never before been told but should have. This will change the way you think and prepare for your daily task. A must read for everyone from a recruit to seasoned veteran....more info
- Highly disappointing
I was excited to purchase this book after reading many positive reviews.
I imagined that the book would contain techniques, lessons, and drills pertaining to mitigation of the stress effects of combat.
Fifteen minutes after I opened the cover, I began to suspect the book contained a very small quantity of useful content, and a great deal of
More than 90% of the book is filled with non-information which is
annoying and repetative. Certain phrases and paragraphs are cut
and pasted again and again throughout the text. Certain analogies (such as "sheepdog") are repeated over and over and over.
For example, I cannot count the number of times (hundreds?) the author iterates that law enforcement officers and other combat participants are the indispensible glue that hold society together. This may or may not be true, but it is irrelevant to the topic of the book and is distracting to the reader who is beat over the head with this concept twice on every single page of the book.
The author goes on (ad nauseum) to lecture the reader of the moral character of all "good guy" combat participants. Furthermore, he finds
time to lecture us on his pet agenda, the evils of video game playing.
Much more print is dedicated to the author bragging about his contribution to the invention of "combatology", than providing useful factual information.
The author also rehashes some of his concepts from "On Killing". For example, he claims that humans have an innate abhorrance of killing.
After publication of "On Killing", the US Special Forces Community spoke with a unified voice to say that these concepts are untrue.
In conclusion, I would advise that you save yourself $20 and read the brief review written by G.S. Winchell. The review contains all the factual information from the book in just two pages and eliminates all the irrelevent rambling. I commend Mr. Winchell for being able to suffer through reading the book and to succinctly distill all the pertinent information.
But then I've always been a big fan of Grossman's writings. Very well researched, documented and very informative. His writings will save lives if you apply them-...more info
- Excellent Book About The Psychology Of Combat.
The title says it all. This is a good second book after Grossman's "On Killing" as not everyone that's been through combat may have killed someone, but they may still be having problems with their time in the service, as a cop or some other profession that requires that they be around death or extremely stressful situations.
If you know someone that's having problems with that kind of thing, this book may help them out and it may get them to seek the help they need if they read it. Then again it may be a waste of their time and your money as not everyone wants help, but it's worth a shot. Even if they don't want help after something traumatic, maybe you'll read it and kind of understand what they're going through....more info
- Foundation to Psychological Survival in the 21st Century
A "warrior" friend recently attended one of Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman's seminars. He summarized all that he learned from Lt. Colonel Grossman in just a day long seminar. I was impressed and figured that I could get a good sense of what Dave Grossman had to offer in his books (as I did not locate any upcoming seminars in my area).
I opted to pick up ON COMBAT first rather than ON KILLING (though I have since purchased ON KILLING, but have not yet read it) as COMBAT was a more recent release. The information that I gained from ON COMBAT is priceless. I cannot help but share tidbits of information from COMBAT with my colleagues on a regular basis.
Much of the information contained in ON COMBAT is rarely shared with individuals entering law enforcement. I truly hope that in order to keep up with the "bad guys" who infect some of our streets, training administrators of today's LEOs have begun integrating much of the topics discussed in ON COMBAT into their academies/training programs.
This book is a must read for anyone with the "warrior" attitude/spirit/calling. However, this book will serve anyone well regardless of their occupation or life calling. Dave Grossman dispels many of the myths that Hollywood loves to exploit for high profits. Sadly, many of the things the we know and/or believe about fighting and killing come from Hollywood. Anyone who reads this book will become much wiser for it.
This book truly enhances my personal toolbox for psychological street survival. Buy it, read it, then reread it over and over again. ...more info
- A review of "On Combat"- On Point, On Target.
Colonel Grossman has the rare ability to define and articulate what others can't. His companion book, "On Killing" has to be read alongside "On Combat". They should be considered the same work, Volumes 1 & 2.
For anyone who considers themself a warrior, blooded or not, you have to read both of these books. There is no BS here. It's real world and real time.
GMCS(SW) A. J. McLean, USN ...more info
- Excellent Read
The author does an excellent job of describing the physical and psychologic effects of stress on the human body, and how to understand and manage these effects. This book is a must read for any person who may have to risk their life in the course of their duties, or has already done so. This is also very helpful insight for anybody who must do public speaking, competitive athletes or others who have to manage their performance under difficult circumstances...more info
This book is a goldmine on combat and killing psychology . A must read for everybody interested in physical and mental mechanism involved in the process....more info
- A layman's eyes are openned
I am not in the miltary, nor am I in law enforcement. My grandfather, my father, and my brother served in the Army; therefore, as a layman, I've been sympathetic towards the harsh life of the warrior. This book adds greater understanding to men who are hard to understand, unless you live in the toxic world they do.
I'll start with the only negative I could think of in my review of On Combat. I read, on average, twelve books a year; therefore, I like efficiency. On combat can be a little redundant, at times. It seems the book was created by a collection of essays Lt. Col. Grossman wrote. Now, the problem is minor and its the ONLY thing negative I found with the book.
I purchased the book because I am increasing my home protection methods. I learned that the book deals both in the psychology and the physiology of what happens in combat. Both prongs of the book add new information that goes well beyond to what pop culture or basic college coursework has taught on the subject. If you've found yourself in a combat situation. You'll know why you responded the way you did. You'll also be privelaged in reading many other accounts from men and women in either law enforcement or the military and the experiences they had.
For me, the most facsinating part of the book was the history lesson on the psychology of training soldiers to kill. Lt. Col. Grossman gives much detail here in a classic historic perspective but also adds great stories written by individuals to echo his points. Then, Lt. Col. Grossman compares how soldiers are trained to psychologically overcome killing a human to how video games (whether by design or accident) psychologically train children in the same way. In my strong opinion, this is the reason the media is silent on this very good book. Because, not only is Lt. Col. Grossman critical of violent video games but also violent movies.
If you've waxed and waned about getting this book, please let me persuade you to make the commitment. In light of VT shootings, I think you owe it to yourself to understand all of the roles we can potentially play in society. Are we sheep, are we the wolf that kills the sheep, or are we the sheepdog?
I hope this is someway helpful....more info
- Great Read!
Another great book from Lt Col Grossman (Ret). This book is a little different from his first one (On Killing), which was an over view of stress in combat soldiers over our history. This book is perfect for law enforcement officers and those alike who deal with more violent people then the public on a daily basis. I have been a State Trooper for 6yrs now and this helps me under stand the different feelings I have had during my different encounters while on the Patrol. Just A Really Great Book!...more info
- Not as good as the ratings
While the book is interesting (lots of storys and actual accounts) [...] It does not go in to the psychology as much as you would hope. [...]
If you are a police officer or military you will enjoy the book. If your background is in psychology you will be slightly dissapointed....more info
- Must read for warriors
I think my review's title pretty much makes my statement. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was out of fairness to my friend Sherman Fleek. I gave his book 4 stars because of loose editing, and this book could have also used some tighter editing.
That said, my son is very seriously considering becoming a combat arms officer, so I have had him read this. He is learning a lot that I wish I'd known when I was in his shoes. If I had my way, this book would be required reading in American public schools. ...more info
- Excellent book
This is a very good read, the author does repeat himself a bit, but this is just to reemphasize the points and probably for the benefit of the ADD generation. If you know anyone who has or will be deploying in support of the Global War on Terror, a law enforcement officer, firefighter, paramedic, etc this is a fantastic book for them to read. The author keeps it pretty light and it's a quick read with a lot of powerful information. Now if you are a statistician looking for a book providing hard facts and the raw numbers of combat stress casualties and reactions, then this book is definitely not for you. The author includes a lot of second hand data that he uses to stress or prove his points, while it detracts slightly that it is not sited, he weaves a compelling look of the psyche of the warrior....more info
- An outstanding read, recommended for all warriors.
This is one of those must read titles! Lt. Col Grossman is a brilliant writer, with a narrative style that is so detailed and descriptive the reader can easily picture the scenarios and situations described. This book reminds us of how crucial the warrior mindset really is. Combat is not only a physical condition, but mental as well. The book contains numerous accounts of people who have faced combat not only on distant battlefields, but also in the streets of American cities. Soldiers, police officers and other first responders should all read and understand the concepts and ideas presented in this book and apply it to their official duties. Outstanding! ...more info
- On Combat - The INside of the Warrior
This is a wonderfully engaging book that captures the mind of a warrior. This look at takes place in the mind and heart of person engaged in battle is, in my opinion, a must read for every warrior (Police Officer, Fire Fighter, Military personnel, Martial Artist, etc.). We can spend hours developing the techniques, only to have them collapse in heat of the fight. This book not only explains why that happens, but gives sound, well researched techniques to over come these barriers to being victorious.
In accomplishing the above, the authors also help the warrior to understand himself. From tunnel vision to the loss of bladder control, this book explains it all. Have you been in a confrontation, only to find you hands shaking afterwards, making you feel like a wimp? Not only is it explained, but there is great advice on what to do about it both during the confrontation and following.
If you are looking for a book on physically how to fight, this is not the one to purchase. If, however, you are looking for the mental part of the battle then you'll devour this valuable contribution. It is, as the quote following puts it, a "look inside" that will benefit all warriors.
Some say that my teaching is nonsense.
Others call it lofty but impractical.
But to those who have looked inside themselves,
this nonsense makes perfect sense.
And to those who put it into practice,
this loftiness has roots that go deep.
I have just three things to teach:
simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.
-- Tao Te Ching
- Critical Primer for the Citizen Soldier
This extraordinary book details the reactions and responses of the human body under battle conditions. During such an event, our physical systems transform for greater efficiency and effectiveness. The book is quite fascinating in its details on the nervous system, the heart, eyesight, hearing, breathe, etc., The author, Lt. Colonel Grossman, has considerable experience in the field as an expert in psychology. He has taught at West Point and is a Professor of Military Science.
The point of the book is to acquaint the warrior (including soldiers, police, citizen soldiers, etc., ) with the effects of combat to understand their own physical responses - and better perform in the field. This knowledge is critical. The warrior will begin to understand his own physical transformation in combat and perform better. Grossman examines the nature of combat and violence including its evolution and also the requirements both physically and psychologically which are necessary for the warrior. Grossman details research how to buttress the mind against stress and fear. He even explores the body's response in the post-combat arena.
Overall, this book is essential for combat training for the Police Officer, the soldier or America's Citizen Soldier.
Michael Mandaville, Author of the upcoming, "Citizen Soldier Handbook: 101 Ways for Every American To Fight Terrorism"
- Required Reading for all Warriors
I am very greatful that I have gotten to read such an amazing book at the start of my career instead of at the end. This book has put many pieces of the COMBAT puzzle together for me. It offers great insight into what goes on inside a warrior when crap hits the fan. It is most important piece in my collection and I guarantee it will be at the top of yours.
I highly recommend this piece to anyone who runs to a battle instead of away from one or anyone who is in the support system of our modern day warriors. I can understand why this is required reading material for several law enforcement groups.
The real life stories make the book very interesting and well worth the price and time. Thanks to all who made this book possible. It will be read several more times.
I am a Sniper in a special STRIKE team in the British Army on my second tour of Iraq. This book is one of the best books I have had the privilege to read. It gave me the tools I needed to go from shooting at great distances under pressure and then picking up my hart-rate to go into a hostile house to arrest the target. It has done more than just that, it has helped me understand who I am and why I am....more info
- Excellent Book
I found this to be a great book overall. I bought it to occupy myself during a week long field training exercise which involved a good deal of down time, and learned quite a lot about my job that I never realized in the past. It was well worth the price.
The only problem I found with it is that Grossman's occasional use of hyperbole (referring to children who play video games as "mass murderers") or oversimplification (reducing some very nuanced and legitimate points of contention to "sheep" and "warriors") has the tendency to undercut his otherwise valid points.
As a source of information about the psychological and physiological effects of combat both during and after such an event, as well as the benefits of the right training and conditioning, this book is invaluable and very accessible....more info
- Okay, but it makes me want to kick a puppy, burn Shakespeare.
I started reading this and was pretty immersed for a while, but eventually set it down for a month or so. A couple weeks ago I picked it up again and tried to resume reading, but it's going really slowly and I find myself more critical.
I've found some really interesting and-- given that I'm an applicant to join law enforcement-- hopefully someday useful information in its pages, but I'm starting to get sick of quotation after quotation, metaphor after metapher, and repetition ad nauseum. Sometimes I think "he wrote this basically so that he could compile all of his favourite (or 'cool-sounding') quotations-- no matter how cliched-- about conflict and aggression from literature and history in one place," and at least once I've thought "if I read about 'the puppy' one more time, I'm going to scream inside my head," and within three minutes I was screaming inside my head. Maybe as an English major in university I'm just used to reading things written by authors who are *authors* first, but jeez... I really want to like this book. To an extent, I do really like this book. But anyone thinking of reading it really should know up-front: this was written by a warrior who decided to try and write about it-- not a writer who knows anything about combat. If you do a lot of reading, it's a distinction you'll want to know about in advance....more info
- Excellent Book
LCol Dave Grossman provides provides lots of useful information into how the human body reacts and performs under the stressful conditions of combat. As well, he provides many intelligent ideas on how to properly train soldiers to function more effectively when exposed to this type of stress. As a soldier, although I've never been combat, I would recommend this book to all who are training, especially senior NCOs and officers, so that they can more effectively train themselves and their men to perform better....more info
This book was recommended to me by a fellow police officer after I was involved in a shooting. I did not read it until a month after my incident. Everything in the book seem to relate to what I was going through. I then realized what I was going through was normal, and that I was going to be alright. This book truely helped me get over a difficult time in my life. ...more info
- A Warrior's Almanac
All the information police, soldiers and other warriors have been missing for over fifty years is right here in this solid volume.
Lt Col Grossman and Loren Christensen put it all together. They've created terms we did not know we needed, for things we didn't even know occurred. Grossman has a cute but very apt description of the function of the midbrain, fulfilled by 'the puppy,' as he calls it. He calls fear of human violence the 'universal phobia,' and tells you why it's universal. He gives a brief overview of what happens to your body when 'fight-or-flight' kicks in, then delves deeply into sensory distortions experienced in life-or-death situations. This is only the beginning.
The authors divulge the training a person needs to enter the 'toxic, corrosive realm of combat,' and why we need those who are willing to do so. Stress and fear innoculation, dealing with killing, being wounded, and cultural issues are dealt with in section three.
Sometimes the aftermath is far more traumatic to a person than the 5 minute episode of all hell breaking loose. The authors use almost 100 pages to discuss what happens after the smoke clears: PTSD, debriefings, a full explanation of tactical breathing, guilt, and communicating with those who've been 'there.' Along with the guilt issue, the author also addresses the conflicts that can develop from within because of a person's religious beliefs after killing.
I believe this book to be of immense value to all emergency responders, police, and military personnel. After borrowing it and reading it, I've ordered it and recommended it to just about everyone I know in those communities.
I would have a hard time recommending this book to anyone on the outside, which is part of why I rated it a four. There is a large amount of insider jargon, and a cultural bias, in the warrior community. This will not translate well for those Lt Col Grossman refers to as 'the herd.'
The second reason I gave it a four is the physical quality of the book. The binding seperated from the spine almost immediately, and I can see the cover coming off within a few readings....more info
- On Combat!
Great book, answered a lot of questions and smoothed a lot of instruction I recieved from training. Must read for anyone entering LE training....more info
- Life changing information
A must read for any first responder or "tip of the sword" soldier....more info
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