2006 War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (Christopher Hedges)

Excerpts from the letter of transmittal written by the students who chose the text:

We chose this book after carefully considering eight texts themselves selected from seventeen nominations.  We were looking for a well-written book that had universal appeal, relevance to the Honors curriculum, and was important in the current global context.   War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning met these criteria, and in addition, it engendered lively discussion.  We trust that it will do the same in your Honors preceptorials.

We hope, as you read this book over the summer, it will provide an engaging and provocative introduction to the Civilizations sequence, the first-two years of Honors classes.  Hedges provides an alternative perspective on one of the most pervasive phenomena in the history of civilization, war.  Bringing together a philosophical education and personal journalistic experience, he is able to examine war in human terms.  While some of the accounts in War Is a Force are unsettling, we found this book to be compelling in that it addresses questions just as important now as in the four thousand years spanned by the Civilizations sequence.

Much of Hedges’ narrative focuses on the conflicts in the Balkan region.  This period of history is somewhat complex.  Information can be found on the internet as well as in the references found in the text.  Of course, the ideas discussed in War Is a Force are relevant in a broader context as can be seen from his discussion of the Middle East and Central America along with other events happening worldwide.