War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges.
Paperback 212 pages. Anchor Books Random House June 2003
This is a great book telling how war is. IS.
Not was. Not a soldier's or a general's account of some battle, battles. Not a historians account or a politician's account.
Though written by a journalist not even a journalist's account.
For here he's speaking a kind of meta language. He's telling how it is without trying to tell how it is. Like painting by drawing only the shadows or something.
He says no, not like this, not like that and that way we learn how it is.
His message is very simple I think. War is madness and it is rabidly infectious and we're all susceptible.
But like so many simple powerful messages they just can't effectively be passed on, be communicated, by just saying them.
It takes a book
Sometimes hundreds of books.
Sometimes I guess no matter how many books it still won't be communicated. How can we describe a colour to a blind man? No amount of books will do it.
Well many truths are like that I suppose.
You need an unblinkered understanding of yourself and your fellows to see this truth I think, maybe.
In the midst of war human beings become less than dogs, less than cockroaches, to be wiped out, destroyed, damaged at will by anyone for any reason at any time.
And any one of us is capable of being someone who will do that. More: I think he's even showing that every one of us will become like that when subjected to the whole influence of war.
He has much more to say than I'm suggesting though. I mean his story is much broader, encompasses more. For instance he talks about the lies, the mythology - all wars produce their own necessary mythology. Before during and after. And so on.
I haven't absorbed it all so how could I tell it? I just want to state unequivocally that this is a greatly important 'truth' book, a 'realism' book that we all need to be exposed to.
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