On Killing Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Dave Grossman (author)
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. In Chapter 2, what is significant about the Civil War muskets examined by Grossman?

2. In terms of effective leadership, what disadvantage do mercenaries and gang leaders have?

3. According to the DSM, when is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder most severe?

4. According to Grossman in Chapter 1, what is the primary duty of the leader of a Greek phalanx?

5. In Chapter 2, what tactic does Grossman describe as key to training soldiers to fire in combat?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does the Yale electroshock study connect with Grossman's thesis in Chapter 1?

2. What options are open to soldiers in combat?

3. Describe the metaphor Grossman uses for fortitude in Chapter 6?

4. What is surprising about the study cited in Chapter 1 regarding what compels soldiers to shoot?

5. In Chapter 4, what philosophical and literary justifications for killing does Grossman cite?

6. What surprising fact regarding soldier's fears in combat is revealed in Chapter 2?

7. What are the primary components of Exhaustion as outlined in Chapter 3?

8. How does Grossman use his distance-guilt corollary to explain the oppression of the poor in Chapter 1?

9. What societal and moral tenets cause guilt in an individual who has killed in a war?

10. What is a crew-served weapon?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In the first half of the book, Grossman discusses the gap in psychiatric casualties between combatants and noncombatants. Write an essay about this gap. What did the military predict regarding psychiatric casualties among the civilian population affected by bombing in World War II? Why does Grossman expect that these estimates proved to be wrong? Why did psychiatric casualties prove higher among civilians in concentration camps? What does all of this say about proximity and killing as factors in psychiatric casualties?

Essay Topic 2

Throughout the book, Grossman has argues that conditioning has been the key to increasing shooting rates in combat zones. It bypasses the conscious mind's inclination to avoid killing. Write a three-part essay analyzing the types of conditioning used in a military context:

Part 1) What is standard conditioning, and how is it connected to Pavlov's work with dogs? How does this type of conditioning manifest itself in military training? What specific defenses is it trying to overcome? What is its goal?

Part 2) What is operant conditioning, and how is it connected to Skinner's work with rats? To what extent is military operant training more subtly employed than traditional conditioning? How does this conditioning alter soldier behavior in chaotic combat?

Part 3) In military emulation of a role model, who is the standard soldier's role model? What does this role model represent to the soldier, and how does he wish to emulate him? What aspects of aggression and manhood does this affect?

Essay Topic 3

Write an essay about the root causes and addressing of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the American military? What step of the killing process is interrupted, leading to PTSD, and what factors are involved in this stunting of emotional processing? How does PTSD manifest itself? In what conflict did numbers of soldiers suffering from PTSD skyrocket? How long did it take the American military to address this concern, and what has been done?

(see the answer keys)

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