An unflinching indictment of the horror and obscenity of war by one of our finest war correspondents.
Drawn from experience and interviews by Pulitzer-prize-winner Chris Hedges, this book looks at the hidden costs of war, what it does to individuals, families, communities and nations.
In fifteen short chapters, Chris Hedges astonishes us with his clear and cogent argument against war, not on philosophical grounds or through moral arguments, but in an irrefutable stream of personal encounters with the victims of war, from veterans and parents to gravely wounded American serviceman who served in the Iraq War, to survivors of the Holocaust, to soldiers in the Falklands War, among others. Hedges reported from Sarajevo, and was in the Balkans to witness the collapse of the Soviet Union.
In 2002 he published War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, which the Los Angeles Times described as “the best kind of war journalism… bitterly poetic and ruthlessly philosophical” and the New York Times called “a brilliant, thoughtful, timely, and unsettling book.” In the twenty years since, Hedges has not wanted to write another book on the subject of war—until now, with the outbreak of war in Ukraine. It is important again to be reminded who are the victors of the spoils of war and of other unerring truths, not only in this war but in all modern wars, where civilians are always the main victims, and the tools and methods of war are capable of so much destruction it boggles the mind. This book is an unflinching indictment of the horror and obscenity of war by one of our finest war correspondents.
Journalist Hedges (Our Class) delivers a blistering condemnation of war in all forms and for all reasons. Opening the book with a forceful condemnation of the U.S. government's role in provoking the Russian invasion of Ukraine by breaking its promise not to expand NATO into Central and Eastern Europe, Hedges draws on his experiences as a war correspondent in Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, and elsewhere to paint a visceral portrait of the horrors of combat and its physical and psychological aftereffects. Throughout, he fiercely condemns the "war industry" for prolonging conflicts and U.S. politicians and journalists for using "bellicose rhetoric" to demonize enemies and elevate allies into "demigods." Some of the book's most powerful pieces draw on the firsthand testimonies of soldiers and their loved ones, including a former U.S. Army Ranger who speaks eloquently of how indoctrination into military culture made him "want to deliver death," and the father of a Marine killed by a sniper in Iraq. Elsewhere, Hedges lets personal grievances distract from his larger points, as when he complains that the Kremlin-funded news channel RT America, where he had a show, was shut down in response to the invasion of Ukraine. Though not all its provocations land, this spiky treatise deserves to be reckoned with.