What It Is Like to Go to War - Numbness and Violence Summary & Analysis

Karl Marlantes
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Numbness and Violence Summary and Analysis

One of the least acknowledged aspects of war, Marlantes explains in Chapter 4, is how exhilarating it is. Being in charge of a group of 40 men in Vietnam, all of whom were armed and ready to do whatever he told them to do, was a very powerful feeling. Added to this was his capability to call in air and artillery strikes from far away to bring enormous destructive power.

Marlantes struggled with this after leaving combat. He thought of himself as a good and moral person but was troubled that he found the violence of war so enjoyable. He traces his feelings to the concept that there is a natural human desire for destruction just as there is a desire for creation. Recognizing this tendency within oneself is crucial for a fighter, Marlantes argues. Those who do not...

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This section contains 421 words
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Buy the What It Is Like to Go to War Study Guide
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