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img207img220img337Here is something to reflect upon in black and white. Three books, three authors, three “helmets”, and only one theme and it is WAR!

2014 marks the 100th anniversary of World War I. When that disastrous war was over in 1918, people all over the globe said no more!

Today we say the same thing again everywhere and most of the time. The governing MATRIX of our very lives compels us back into war again. I am not a blind pacifist mind you.

The authors of these books are Germans (two), an American and a German Jewish great philosopher of the Twentieth Century. All were embroiled one way or another in a tragic Twentieth Century event.

Bertold Brecht (1898-1956) was a poet, playwright, theater director and a Marxist devotee. Events forced him into exile before World War II. The cover photo is by Hainer Hill showing Helene Weigel as Mother Courage. This is a Grove Press edition of the play. No designer credit is given for the cover, but it could be Roy Kuhlman.

img209Heinrich Boll (1917-1985) was a Nobel Prize Literature Prize winner in 1972 who served as a conscripted soldier on the Eastern Front (Russia) during World War II and one of Germany’s finest post war writers. This McGraw Hill paperback gives no credit to the cover designer.

img221Jesse Glenn Gray (1913-1977) was an American author, philosopher and Professor of Philosophy at Colorado College. Gray saw active duty in Europe as an Intelligence Officer. He worked as an editor for Harper Row Publishers where he became friends with Germany’s philosopher Martin Heidegger and supervised translations of Heidegger’s works.

img338In his book The Warriors the author describes what warfare does to men and he examines the reasons soldiers act as they do. In simple terms he explains the attractions of a battle, the resulting adrenaline rush from going into battle, the soldiers fraternal attitudes, but he also analyzes the rationalizations often used by combat troops to justify their actions in battle.

War according to the writer reveals sides and expectations of human nature above and below the acceptable standards set by society for humanity. The experience is entirely written from a philosophical point of view and so important that we will post the foreword by Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) below.The great illustration for the frightening cover design is by the icon of American graphic design Milton Glaser, who in my opinion emphasizes perfectly the nature of the “beast“. More on Hannah Arendt here from Australia.

img339img340img341img342Aimg342Bimg343Aimg343Bimg344Aimg344Bimg345On the 100th anniversary of WWI this year in 2014 and in light of the many crises we are faced with, in this early part of the millennium, I hope some political leaders (we the people) take notice, read and learn from the experiences of others so society as a whole will not face the burdens of a poor decision making process. Very much in vain, I believe!