The Painful Field: The Psychiatric Dimension of Modern War

Hardcover | May 1, 1988

byRichard A. Gabriel

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Colored by the popular and official mythologies of heroism, the accepted view of mental collapse during combat is that it is a fairly rare occurrence that can be attributed to psychological "weakness" or simple "cowardice." With the advent of each new generation of weapons, however, this view becomes less tenable. The increasingly lethal battlefields of conventional warfare have sharply escalated the numbers of psychiatric casualties, which reached staggering proportions worldwide by the early 1980s. Professor Gabriel, a leading authority on military psychiatry, provides the first systematic examination of the problem, its history and current dimension, the systems developed by the superpowers to counter it, and the far-reaching implications of our continued acceptance of warfare under radically altered conditions.

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Colored by the popular and official mythologies of heroism, the accepted view of mental collapse during combat is that it is a fairly rare occurrence that can be attributed to psychological "weakness" or simple "cowardice." With the advent of each new generation of weapons, however, this view becomes less tenable. The increasingly leth...

Format:HardcoverDimensions:207 pages, 9.46 × 6.34 × 0.87 inPublished:May 1, 1988Publisher:GREENWOOD PRESS INC.

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0313247188

ISBN - 13:9780313247187

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?Gabriel (Saint Anselm College) has written extensively in the field of contemporary military affairs. This volume examines the psychiatric impact of the increasingly lethal conventional battlefield on the participants. Gabriel looks at the historical and current psychiatric dimensions of warfare along with systems developed by the US and the USSR in recognition of them. He reminds us that human beings are very fragile and that historically they have suffered psychiatric collapse in combat no matter how well trained the individual or how cohesive the unit. Several approaches are explored ranging from the more traditional realistic training, unit rotation, and better unit cohesion, to chemical means. Both the US and the USSR are, reportedly, studying ways of overcoming fear and preventing psychiatric collapse by opening up the Pandora's box of the prescribed use of drugs to alter the human mental processes. Gabriel does not provide answers; rather, he paints a frightening picture. A thoughtful book written from the perspective of the social scientist rather than the psychiatrist. The policy implications are tremendous. For upper-level students.?-Choice