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Publisher's Summary

On Combat looks at what happens to the human body under the stresses of deadly battle and the impact on the nervous system, heart, breathing, visual and auditory perception, memory - then discusses new research findings as to what measure warriors can take to prevent such debilitations, so they can stay in the fight, survive, and win. A brief but insightful look at history shows the evolution of combat, the development of the physical and psychological leverage that enables humans to kill other humans, followed by an objective examination of domestic violence in America. The authors reveal the nature of the warrior, brave men and women who train their minds and bodies to go to that place from which others flee.

After examining the incredible impact of a few true warriors in battle, On Combat presents new and exciting research as to how to train the mind to become inoculated to stress, fear, and even pain. Expanding on Lt. Col. Grossman's popular "bulletproof mind" presentation, the audiobook explores what really happens to the warrior after the battle, and shows how emotions, such as relief and self-blame, are natural and healthy ways to feel about having survived combat. A fresh and highly informative look at post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) details how to prevent it, how to survive it should it happen, how to come out of it stronger, and how to help others who are experiencing it.

On Combat is easy to understand and powerful in scope. It is a true classic that will be listened to by new and veteran warriors for years to come.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2013 Dave Grossman and Loren W. Christensen (P)2013 Hachette Audio

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What listeners say about On Combat

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Just what I needed.

I'm a police officer in the United States, and this book was recommended to me by my SGT after I had just gotten out of a shooting while on duty.

I listened to this while I waited on administrative leave as my department determined my fate. I've never before had someone point a gun in my face with the intent to kill me, nor have I had to discharge my duty weapon at another living person. I was and am still dealing with the complex emotions of that experience.

I just want to say thank you so much for this book, as the knowledge contained in it helped me to process my experience. I know I am better off because of your words.

Sincerely, a grateful patrol officer.

132 people found this helpful

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One Readers Opinion

I’m a veteran. I thought this book had a lot of extremely valuable and timely information in it. I’m also a health care provider and take care of marginalized, underserved, and often victimized people and much of this book was applicable, fresh, and presented in a very useful and memorable way. Very practical information. I loved all of that.

What caused me to not fully embrace the entire book and even shook my ability, at times, to allow for any credibility in the book is the authors black and white absolutism that is pervasive in the book. The world I’ve seen both deployed in the Army and while serving those who are doing the suffering and causing the suffering in marginalized people groups is anything but black and white. The worshipping of the warrior also pervasive in this book was too much for my liking. Weaving in the authors views of Judeo-Christian perspectives was also almost more than I could bear. Quoting scripture to defend killing was a bit much.

When the author stuck to the science of trauma and combat and reflexes and research and physiology I felt like it was a good and worthy read. When he deviated into his opinions I felt his book lost value for me and those perspectives would do better to be in a separate, supporting book.

I will recommend this book with lots of caveats and reservations.

76 people found this helpful

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Warning: Far-Right hit piece on Hollywood!!

First off, this book is GREAT when it actually sticks to the content associated with its title (and synopsis on Audible). When it talks about the physiology and psychological affects of combat on our soldiers, it is top notch.

However, this book is a wolf in sheep's clothing for the far right wing. About 2/3 of the way through the book, it decides to become a hit piece against pretty much EVERYTHING that pisses off the far right wing in this country. It squarely sets its sights mostly on Hollywood.

Now, don't get me wrong, I agree there is a debate that needs to take place here, and in fact I actually agree with some of Grossman's opinions on media violence. HOWEVER, I did not get this book to be lectured on (what I consider to be) a far right wing agenda. Had I wanted a book like that, I would have PURCHASED a book like that. The author (Grossman) isn't even remotely objective about it, seemingly failing to recognize that the far right could actually be wrong about anything. He even goes so far as to give religious advice, which I found to be ridiculous, and uncalled for, especially considering the fact that his tone was preachy enough without it.

I'm not going to list point-by-poiint where Grossman is wrong, because I'm not being paid to write this review or debate him. Bottom line is, the book's title and synopsis (on Audible) is VERY misleading. This is a far-right wing propaganda piece, for a large section of it, and had I been warned of this in either the synopsis or title, I would have NEVER purchased it.

If you are a far right winger, and you're interested in this subject, this book is for you. I mean that sincerely. You will actually enjoy it quite a bit. However, if you are a free-thinking, rational minded moderate, that doesn't feel like being lectured on things like; why we should take Draconian measures in censoring our country's art, why ALL drugs should be illegal (even harmless ones like marijuana), and why YOU should believe in and worship the Christian God, then my advice is to stay as far away from this book as possible.

I feel it necessary to add this postscript - the anecdotes in his book, referring to the BRAVE men and women that serve this country's military are outstanding. This review IN NO WAY is meant to take away from or disparage the sacrifices they have made in serving our great country. I give thanks for them every day I am alive. This includes the author, who has served this country for many years. This review should only reflect the fact that I am incredibly disappointed with how misleading the title and synopsis of the book are.

47 people found this helpful

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Self-aggrandizing, weak on evidence

After listening to 'On Kiling', this followup was an enormous disappointment. With the caveat that I only made it about three quarters of the way through, my complaints:

Constant self-aggrandizement: Grossman repeatedly refers to soldiers/police as 'sheepdogs' and the general nonviolent public as 'sheep'. He at one point makes a ridiculous, half-hearted apology and says he means no insult by the term 'sheep,' an apology completely at odds with the way he actually speaks. Further, his gushing praise of police and solders is superfluous, probably even to readers who belong to those groups.

Bad science: Several of Grossman's major theses are either irrelevant, uncertain, or outright wrong. For example, he claims that violent crime has been increasing since the 1950s, and he implies that our streets today are as dangerous as they have ever been. (In reality, violent crime today, while still above 1950s levels, has been on a steady decline since the late '80s/early '90s). He makes causal claims that are insufficiently supported by the available evidence, the largest of which is that violent video games are the major player in our "increasing" violent crime rate.

Repetition/slow pace: It takes Grossman so very, very long to get to his points. There are literally hours of unnecessary anecdotes. He repeats himself constantly. This audiobook could have been about one quarter its length without a major impact on its meaningful content.

Glaringly missing topics: As I said, I didn't listen to the final quarter, so perhaps one or more of these is finally addressed at the end. If so, it's still his fault for losing my attention before then. He hasn't talked enough about abuse of power. He has a few inadequate one-liners about when a single 'sheepdog' misuses his power, fires without permission or such. But he does not address institutional abuse of power, or those times when the boss turns a blind eye to the sheepdog's abuse of the sheep. Also, in a book mostly about police, I have yet to hear a word about the deliberate use of nonlethal force. It almost seems as if Grossman isn't familiar with the concept.

Last, I think the poems he quotes are cheesy.


The good: A nice discussion on how to train properly for high-stress situations. Some interesting anecdotes about when people trained improperly. That's really about it.

30 people found this helpful

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DAT ENDING

If you could sum up On Combat in three words, what would they be?

Insightful, helpful, applicable.

What does Dave Grossman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Dave Grossman brings THAT ENDING.
I won't spoil it, but in the last few seconds of the book the tone of the book goes from 55 mph to Mach freakin' 12 as the patriotism literally EXPLODES into your ears, music even starts playing! I didn't know whether to laugh or gag it was so comical.

Honestly, GREAT BOOK, but there's something to be said about that ending.
If you recommend this book to a friend you will DEFINITELY know when he or she has finished it when they jump up and yell "AMERICAAAAAAA!!!"

The seriousness and somber tone of the rest the book is almost overshadowed by the ending of this book, it just doesn't fit to me.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Every part of this book is important and I found myself rewinding a lot.

Any additional comments?

Be prepared for that ending.

25 people found this helpful

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Best book on combat of all time!

As a veteran this book helped me understand my experience and know how to help myself heal and heal others. My calling to be a warrior was also affirmed and strengthened.

23 people found this helpful

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Slow and fluffy

There's a lot of useful information here, but it is slow in coming. At times it seems every paragraph is prefaced by a quote; most of these add little and they get very distracting.

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  • GP
  • 11-06-16

An insightful and compelling look at a difficult topic

This is an exceptional book. Col. Grossman's insights on the bulletproof mind and the effects of combat are exceptional - this is not just a look at combat from a soldier's perspective but looks at soldiers, law enforcement, and society in general. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.

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A Warrior Family read...

A must read for any Warrior, Warrior Family, or Warrior Spouse.

Just read this with my teenage son who is about to enlist to the United States Marine Corps.

What insight regarding every component to battle. The prior, during and following affects to the warrior, and everyone that loves him! The emotional, physiological, and even the spiritual components of combat. The reiteration of the 'Sheepdog' ideology alone makes the book worth every penny!

About to read again, but this time along with my wife... a Marine Wife, and soon to be (God willing), a Marine Mom.

10 people found this helpful

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if you carry a gun - you must listen to this

A bit of a scholarly work but well worth it.

This is a must listen if you have a carry permit or have firearms in the home for defense.

BZ Col Grossman

10 people found this helpful

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  • Ed
  • 08-18-17

Disappointed, aimed at law enforcement

Some of the content is quite interesting, however the book seems to be aimed at the "self improvement" market. Lots of uncited anecdotes, lots of inspiring language and reference to "warriors".

I personally found it got in the way of the serious research underneath. I was also annoyed by the lack of citations and proof, you had to take the author's word on it.

Lastly the author narrates the book and he's clearly not a professional. The flow and delivery just lacks polish.

Shame too, there are some really interesting claims and arguments in the book, but they're too sparsely packed within trivia.

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  • Michael H
  • 08-07-20

Changes your mindset

Alot of case study evidence and when you know these are individuals that have lived and breathed in the gauntlet of danger- it influences your mindset and changes how you prepare for conflict.

As the ancient Greek Archilochus stated, "we don't rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training". That quote I've selected, I think sums up the basic of this book's hypothesis.

1 person found this helpful

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  • ken
  • 11-03-21

A must read.

A must read for anyone in the armed forces, police or a frontline job. A must read for any civilian who has experienced, or is likely to experience, a traumatic or stressful encounter when the wolf came to your door. For those who don't feel i've included you in any of the above, this is a must read for you too.

It saddens me to think how many lives could have been saved if we were all taught this during basic training.

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  • Jos Tector
  • 12-30-20

Great insight

I’m joining the British Military, it offer a fantastic insight into how soldiers face their own mental hurdles before direct combat. Colonel Grossman shows the failings in the previous military teaching methodologies and the recent corrections that have revolutionised combat training.

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  • Phillip
  • 09-27-20

Totally Brilliant From Start To Finish

Amazing, Amazing book, a must listen for everyone, beautifully written and narrated by Dave Grossman :)

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  • Rich
  • 02-26-20

Educationally a must for all who professionally deal with conflict

Educationally a must for all who professionally deal with conflict and those who live with, work with or support those who do.

The fact this audiobook is delivered by the author LT. Col. Grossman is priceless it is delivered in the way in which it was truly intended. Reading is fine, having it read to you is also fine, but having the author deliver his message direct to your ears is as good as it gets.

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  • Clive Sherwood
  • 01-23-20

Highly recommended

Insights into the before, during and after of combat - read by the author, so no nuance is lost. As close to perfection as a book on this growing and developing field can be.

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  • Adam Sergeant
  • 08-01-17

Extremely useful and informative.

Where does On Combat rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The best factual book I have listened to thus far.

What did you like best about this story?

There is so much detail. Most other books skirt round some of the 'harder' topics, but not this one. Col Grossman leaves nothing out and if you are the sort of person that enjoys analysis, then this book is for you.

What does Dave Grossman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

I listen on the way to and from work. You cannot do that with a book (legally, anyway).

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

I think it would be too long for a film - generic review question?!

Any additional comments?

After finishing this audiobook, I felt compelled to e-mail Lt Col Grossman to congratulate him. Fantastic. His reading of 'Into Battle' at the start makes the hairs stand on the back of your neck.

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  • Dean Pattinson
  • 06-06-15

excellent

very informative and eye opening. arguably essential information for every one not just our warriors.

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  • Andrew
  • 01-29-17

A must read for anyone dealing with "warriors"

This is by far the best way to start understanding the mind of the warrior, soldier, police officer, fire, ambulance, social worker or anyone dealing with the issue of human on human violence (physical, mental, social or emotional).

Colonel Grossman has covered a lot of issues I had previously not fully understood, however his analogies make it easy for even a layman to grasp.

Definitely recommending to all of my friends who are still in the army, and their families and friends to help them understand why we do what we do every day.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-17-21

Life changing

This maybe the best book I have read on this subject. I can’t recommend it highly enough. If you work in the military or law enforcement fields do yourself a favour and read this book.

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  • Navin
  • 04-21-21

Very insightful

A very insightful book with a very straight to the point approach to the teachings.

There were a number of times he refers to another book, Deadly Force Encounters, which in part made me think maybe I should listen to that book instead of/or after this.

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  • James
  • 09-06-20

A beautiful and enlightening book

As a former soldier with no operational experience, I learnt a lot about what some of my mates experienced. Thanks for a fantastic book.

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  • From Curious to Fulfilled
  • 08-28-20

Read it!!

Thank you to all who have made this book possible, may your efforts now and forever lift the hearts and minds of those wearing the breastplate of righteousness!!

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  • C Johnson
  • 12-21-19

A must read

This book is one of the most important out there to help create an understanding of mindset and actions both in and out of combat. Recommended reading for all in this often turbulent world. Topics range from warrior mindset, physiological responses to combat and stress, cultural influences, methods to deal with combat stress, PTSD causes and techniques to reduce its occurrence and ways to move forward with it. All given with extensive broad experience examples from across society. I recommend this book to all, but find it absolutely essential to all in the profession of arms or law enforcement and their families as a minimum.

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  • Nicholas O'Halloran
  • 11-21-19

Brilliant and must read for anyone.

This book has opened my mind and eyes to the experiences I've had. Just Brilliant.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-03-18

Essential for service men/woman

If you are currently serving, or intend to serve in the police force or military this is a must read. Ditto for the family of these people.

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  • Mike
  • 11-02-18

Answers

One of the best books I ever had. Not saying I read a tone of books but from ale the books I read this one left a very big impression. I found answers to some of my behaviours and have now a different perspective. Eye opening.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-27-18

The Warriors Bible

Insightful and uplifting. The life of a warriror is torubling, damming, and necessary. This book is a must read for all emergency services and military personnel, whether you have experienced a high stress scenario or not. Preparation is key, and this book will arm the warrior with the knowledge neesed to not lose more than their life when faced with life or death situations. For the non-warrior, this book is and opportunity to achieve greater appreciation and understanding of what your warriors go through and enable you to best support them in their time of need.

The narrator is clear and emotive, giving character to the audio book that makes it entertaining. I listen at 1.5x speed and that is easy for me to keep up and not let my mimd wander.