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Lethality in Combat

A Study of the True Nature of Battle

Authors: Tom Lewis
Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 11 customer ratings
(11 customer reviews)

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Lethality in Combat shines a blazing light on the three most controversial aspects of military combat: the necessity of killing; the taking, or not, of prisoners; and the targeting of civilians.

Author Tom Lewis controversial new book shatters our preconceptions regarding the rules of engagement and the realities of combat. The truth of warfare is little understood by those who haven’t endured it. It’s romanticised and simplified in many fictional books and movies, and even sanitised in so-called “real” accounts

This book argues that when a nation-state sends its soldiers to fight, the state must accept the full implications of this, uncomfortable as they may be. Lewis affirms that he ISN’T saying that all such behaviours are ethically correct. However as society members who commission others to carry out violence on our behalf, we should understand these behaviours, and not be too quick to instantly condemn

Drawing on seven conflicts – the Boer War, World Wars I and II, and the wars in Korea, Vietnam, the Falklands and Iraq – the author considers these ethical issues. Lethality in Combat lifts the veil on the much-misunderstood but very real and secret world of unsanitised war.

What Readers are saying… “Makes his case forcefully, showing that warfare is an ongoing part of the human condition, in which seeking maximum effectiveness is the task of the soldier…well worth reading.” (Defence Force Journal)

”The sanitized version of warfare in books and films omits the bloody and ferocious encounters at the sharp end of war, this book explains.” (Review – Newcastle Herald)

“Thought provoking and disturbing…well researched and written.” (Reader “Eve”)

“…an impressive book. Your points seem to be accurate and balanced, and your citations are really impressive.” (Ray – Patrick O’Brian online fan club)

Tom Lewis

Tom Lewis

Dr Tom Lewis Originally working as a High School teacher, Dr Tom Lewis OAM served as an officer of the Royal Australian Navy where he saw active service in the Middle East. Tom has written nine other history books, with his most recent being Zero Hour in Broome, and Darwin’s Submarine I-124. In 2003 Tom […]

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11 reviews for Lethality in Combat

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Got this recently and it’s going hand to hand at the Military College coz we are all poor! A book that tells it like it is for the soldier. Better than the crap we have on many courses, which show war as a sort of hugging contents with lawyers at 50 paces!

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    Radio National Life Matters Interview aired in March 2012 The letter of the week is from Aina in response to Life Matters segment on lethality in combat. Your interview with Tom Lewis hit a profound nerve with me. My Father was forced, under a gun, to fight with the Germans in WWII. He was part of the Latvian army. I can recall as a child his desire to march with other returned service men and women on Anzac Day, but I hold a deeper memory of the disappointment and sadness he carried due to being ostracised because of who he was forced to fight with. This attitude of exclusion softened over time, but without psychological support and an empathic ear, he continued to have difficulty with reconciling his war life with his civilian life and, as a result, I know virtually nothing about my Dad because of his silence about his life and his experiences. He hid his story in alcohol and a militaristic attitude in running the family home. Thank you for the interview with Tom Lewis, it is causing me to think about a deeper level of forgiveness that I need to consider towards my Dad.

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    An enlightening and enjoyable read. (Stephen Becket – British Army combat veteran of Northern Ireland; three tours)

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    The sanitized version of warfare in books and films omits the bloody and ferocious encounters at the sharp end of war, this book explains. (Review – Newcastle Herald)

  5. Rated 5 out of 5

    War operates according to its own rules, not the laws governing civilian life.

  6. Rated 5 out of 5

    Thought provoking and disturbing…well researched and written.

  7. Rated 5 out of 5

    …an impressive book. Your points seem to be accurate and balanced, and your citations are really impressive.

  8. Rated 5 out of 5

    Another great discussion on this morning’s programme.?I agree…It is absurd to expect civilian, peacetime standards of gracious behaviour from them in all circumstances.

  9. Rated 5 out of 5

    Will interest military buffs, but also relevant to more general readers, who will find it assists them in gaining an understanding of the true nature of war.

  10. Rated 5 out of 5

    Liked the logical progression of the subjects, the fair handling of the subject matter, and the realistic look of why soldiers kill. It should be read by everyone who deals as a professional or volunteer counsellor with veterans or as a journalist or commentator writes on the subject of war, war “crimes” or the ethics of a country’s involvement in any military action. This should be read by those interested in the various charges laid against Allied servicemen fighting insurgents who do not fight by the Geneva code.

  11. Rated 5 out of 5

    Yes a warts and all look at what goes on in a soldiers mind, and immediately thereafter, when they have a split second to decide and to determine whether to kill or be killed. The stories will shock you but then War is like that, why would it be any different? If every politician were sent to the front line for a month there would be an end to all this madness.

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