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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.
Explores the political ambitions of the Christian right, discussing how their agenda gained momentum through alternative networks, schools, and publishers, and warns that another national crisis may enable the Christian right to seize political power.
America, one of the most religious countries in the world, is also the most violent. Do God and war define the American spirit as much as apple pie and baseball? This unsettling book illustrates how bellicose, war-like language is used to explain the spiritual quest. It explores the violence of God tradition as it exists in all religions (including Buddhism), and then examines how this dynamic is flipped, with political leaders using spiritual and religious language to sell war to the general public. Although God and religion have often been used to sell war in the United States, this has been especially true since 9/11. After surveying the relationship of war and the spiritual quest in the major world religions, this study concludes with an overview of how that dynamic has affected the contemporary American public discourse on war. Does this intermingling of war and spirituality prepare the population for the coming of war? The institutional blending of the sacred and human aggression appear to be fundamental to human society. The second section of the book concentrates on the political language and speeches of American politicians since 2002, following the run-up to the Iraq war and its continuation over the past decade, showing how this mystical/war conflation permeates American society.
An esteemed theologian examines how American identity and America's presence in the world are shaped by war.
Acclaimed New York Times journalist and author Chris Hedges offers a critical -- and fascinating -- lesson in the dangerous realities of our age: a stark look at the effects of war on combatants. Utterly lacking in rhetoric or dogma, this manual relies instead on bare fact, frank description, and a spare question-and-answer format. Hedges allows U.S. military documentation of the brutalizing physical and psychological consequences of combat to speak for itself. Hedges poses dozens of questions that young soldiers might ask about combat, and then answers them by quoting from medical and psychological studies. • What are my chances of being wounded or killed if we go to war? • What does it feel like to get shot? • What do artillery shells do to you? • What is the most painful way to get wounded? • Will I be afraid? • What could happen to me in a nuclear attack? • What does it feel like to kill someone? • Can I withstand torture? • What are the long-term consequences of combat stress? • What will happen to my body after I die? This profound and devastating portrayal of the horrors to which we subject our armed forces stands as a ringing indictment of the glorification of war and the concealment of its barbarity.
Named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon.com and the Washington Post Three years ago, Pulitzer Prize–winner Chris Hedges and award-winning cartoonist and journalist Joe Sacco set out to take a look at the sacrifice zones, those areas in America that have been offered up for exploitation in the name of profit, progress, and technological advancement. They wanted to show in words and drawings what life looks like in places where the marketplace rules without constraints, where human beings and the natural world are used and then discarded to maximize profit. Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt is the searing account of their travels.

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