Spectacle, Reality, Resistance: Confronting a culture of militarism

By David Gee, published by ForcesWatch, 2014

At a comfortable distance from warfare, our culture easily passes over its horrific reality in favour of an appealing, even romantic, spectacle of war. Militarism, past and present, attempts to control public opinion by aligning it with its own worldview. Yet, over the last decade, most Britons have opposed Western military ventures abroad, and some veterans - once recruited, controlled and partly dehumanised to prepare them for war - now challenge militarism and our own participation in its controlling dynamic.  

In his new book, Spectacle, Reality, Resistance: Confronting a culture of militarism, published by ForcesWatch (www.forceswatch.net), David Gee takes a fresh look at a culture of militarism in Britain, exploring these dynamics – distance, romance, control – in three essays, accompanied by three shorter pieces about the cultural treatment of war and resistance to the government's increasingly prodigious efforts to regain control of the story we tell ourselves about war.

David Gee is a writer and campaigner on the ethics of military recruitment, mental health of veterans, and the role of citizens in building peace and resisting war. He is a co-founder of ForcesWatch and former director of Alternatives to Violence Project.

ISBN: 978 0 9930955 0 4, 148pp

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Reviews

The beauty of this inspiring book lies partly in Gee's holistic vision. He combines a visceral antipathy to militarism with an acute sensibility to the living world, a deep knowledge of history with a concise analysis of the impact of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is not just superb writing. It should also be essential reading for anyone who cheers for wars fought at a distance, and in their name. Vron Ware, Kingston University, UK

Mr Gee takes a long hard look at how the military and warfare are presented within our society. He shows how our collective misunderstanding of both prevents a rational public discussion. This important book should initiate a broader debate about the effects of militarism on our society and foreign policy. Ben Griffin, former SAS soldier and Iraq War veteran

'Spectacle, Reality, Resistance' is inspiring and piercing in its analysis of the effects ofwar on the world and of militarism on our social culture. This is a highly readable tour de force of the unspoken realities behind the patriotic rhetoric and military interventionism of our élites, and a challenge to all of us. Simon Fisher, Founder, Responding to Conflict