Stoic Warriors: The Ancient Philosophy Behind the Military Mind

Nancy Sherman, Author . Oxford Univ. $26 (242p) ISBN 978-0-19-515216-6

You don't need a working knowledge of the writings of Cicero, Aristotle, Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius to appreciate this well-researched, in-depth treatise on the history of stoicism in the military—but it wouldn't hurt. Sherman, who taught military ethics in a pioneering program at the U.S. Naval Academy, delves deeply into ancient Stoic theory to shine light on the moral and psychological aspects of stoicism among today's military men and women. Or, as she puts it, the book is about "sucking it up." Sherman at times plunges into dense and arcane areas, devoting, for example, many pages to an in-depth analysis of comportment, manners and emotional bearing in the military, including the psychology of facial expressions and the "ritualized aesthetics of garments." First-person accounts, derived from extensive interviews Sherman conducted, vividly illustrate her points. Retired Adm. James Stockdale, a student of philosophy, used stoic tenets to keep himself from breaking during seven years as a POW (and was awarded the Medal of Honor). During the My Lai massacre, helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson landed between American troops and Vietnamese civilians and ordered his crew, at gunpoint, to rescue women and children who were about to be slaughtered because it was the right thing to do, even though it meant bearing his men's extreme hatred. (July)

Reviewed on: 05/16/2005
Release date: 07/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Show other formats
FORMATS
Discover what to read next
TIP SHEET
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X
X