cover image Warrior Dreams: Paramilitary Culture in Post-Vietnam America

Warrior Dreams: Paramilitary Culture in Post-Vietnam America

James William Gibson. Hill & Wang, $25 (357pp) ISBN 978-0-8090-9666-4

In this impressive study, Gibson ( The Perfect War ) explores what he defines as the emerging paramilitary culture exemplified by the Rambo movies, the Matt Bolan Executioner series, combat games like paintball and combat shooting schools, plus the testosterone-saturated antics at the annual Soldier of Fortune convention in Las Vegas. He views these as expressions of the increasing fascination with weapons and the sinister sport of pretend slaughter. Gibson argues that racist groups, quasi-religous sects, inner-city gangs, mercenaries and lone-wolf psychotics in greater numbers are acting out in reality their murderous impulses as America turns into a new kind of war zone. He questions the measures proposed by the gun-control Brady Bill as inadequate and suggests that masculinity itself needs to be redefined, especially the notion gaining currency that killing one's own designated ``scumbags'' is the highest expression of manhood. The book makes a major statement on America's growing obsession with violence. (Feb.)