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A Terrible Love of War
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About the Author

A world-renowned lecturer, teacher, author, Jungian analyst, and former director of the C. G. Jung Institute, James Hillman (1926-2011) was born in New Jersey and spent much of his life in Europe. He is the author of more than twenty books, translated into ten languages, including The Myth of Analysis and Reinventing Psychiatry, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1975.

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Why do we love war? asks Jungian psychoanalyst Hillman, author of the bestselling The Soul's Code. One might ask in reply, Do we, in fact, love war? Hillman answers unequivocally in the affirmative, skewering modern pretension to prefer the Prince of Peace to the god of war. Mars is the central character in Hillman's exploration of war as an archetypal impulse. "The whole bloody business," he writes, "reveals a god, therewith placing war among the authentic phenomena of religion. And that is why it is so terrible, so loved, and so hard to understand." His portrayal of war as an implacable force, a primary element of the human condition, is unsettling, as is his description of war as a "beautiful horror"-but he cites enough memoirs and letters written by those in the heat of battle to convince that it can have a kind of beauty for combatants. Hillman also effectively evokes the transcendent, Mars-like fury that overtakes soldiers in battle ("I felt like a god... I was untouchable," writes one). Throughout, Hillman offers other disturbing insights: readers may feel a shock of recognition when he compares our addiction to viewing war (whether real or cinematic) to the viewing of pornography, noting that we are all voyeurs. But Hillman's mesmerizing prose loses its impact when he launches a sneering attack on Christianity (and the U.S., where "we are all Christians") for being a warrior religion. And perhaps only Jungians will understand his baffling assertion that aesthetic passion (or, in archetypal terms, devotion to Venus) can slow our ceaseless rush to war. Agent, Melanie Jackson. (Apr. 27) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

"Important reading for our time, as we try to make sense of our terrors." --San Francisco Chronicle"[Hillman's] portrayal of war as an implacable force, a primary element of the human condition, is unsettling." --Publishers Weekly

In his latest offering, prolific psychologist, lecturer, teacher, and author Hillman (The Soul's Code) focuses his archetypal psychological lens on the topic of war, specifically "the myths, philosophy, and theology of war's deepest mind." The text, which is laced with classical references ranging from the Greek gods to Western philosophy and literature, delves into the meaning of war beyond its political or societal framework, challenging the reader to confront the psyche of war. Chapters explore war as a sublime mixture of loathing and loving, showing how it is grounded in the same beliefs that govern religious devotion and seeing it as inherently inhuman "since war's autonomy generates its own momentum." "Excursions" of personal or historical significance act as tangents from the main text. For example, Hillman's discussion of our fascination with weapons and the "profound psychological resistance to disarmament" veers off into a story of effective gun control in Japan (1543-1879). Soundly argued but not very concise or well structured, this book is too demanding for lay readers and undergraduates and will appeal to graduate students and faculty; recommended for academic collections. Heather O'Brien, Acadia Univ. Lib., Wolfville, N.S. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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