A foreign correspondent for nearly two decades, Hedges offers a lucid, insightful study of the nature of war and its hold on the human psyche. The author has covered conflicts in the Balkans and the Middle East, and he draws on those experiences here, as he examines the historical and modern-day perceptions of war, as well as its repercussions on society. As Hedges concedes, war may be equated with the pursuit of a noble political cause, and it can inspire feelings of national pride, but its drawbacks more often than not outweigh its virtues. His exploration of how war became a cultural institution is timely and illuminating invaluable in helping readers understand our country's compulsion to engage in combat. A reading group guide is available in print and online at www.anchorbooks.com.