DIGGING DEEPER meets every Monday from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Mandolin Café, 3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma, WA.[1] ...


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October 4, 2010: DIGGING DEEPER CXXXVIII: The agricultural revolution as Pandora's box

Spencer Wells, Pandora's Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization (Random House, 2010). — "Wells (The Journey of Man) . . . voices misgivings about the breakthrough to farming 10,000 years ago, spurred by climate change.  The food supply . . . caused populations to explode; epidemics flourished because of overcrowding and proximity to farm animals; despotic governments emerged to organize agricultural production; and warfare erupted over farming settlements.  Then came urbanism and modernity, which clashed even more intensely with our nomadic hunter-gatherer nature. . . . [H]is solution is unconvincingly simple:  Want less."  —Publishers Weekly.  Discussion led by Dr. Ron Boothe.

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October 13, 2010: DIGGING DEEPER CXXXix: The history of neoconservatism

Len Colodny and Tom Shachtman, The Forty Years War: The Rise and Fall of the Neocons, from Nixon to Obama (Harper, 2009). — "Neoconservative ideologues battle pragmatists by fair means and foul in this scattershot history of American foreign policy. Colodny (Silent Coup) and Schachtman (Decade) hang their study on the figure of Fritz Kraemer, an obscure Pentagon analyst, whose championing of a militarized, moralistic foreign policy allegedly inspired two generations of neoconservatives . . . [A] serviceable but mundane account of the conflict between hawks and doves."  —Publishers Weekly.  Discussion led by Dave Dittemore.

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October 18 & 25, 2010: DIGGING DEEPER CXL: David Grossman on the stress of combat and killing

Dave Grossman, On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society (Little, Brown, 1995; Back Bay Books paperback, 2009). — "Drawing on interviews, published personal accounts and academic studies, Grossman investigates the psychology of killing in combat.  Stressing that human beings have a powerful, innate resistance to the taking of life, he examines the techniques developed by the military to overcome that aversion.  His provocative study focuses in particular on the Vietnam war, revealing how the American soldier was 'enabled to kill to a far greater degree than any other soldier in history.'  Grossman argues that the breakdown of American society, combined with the pervasive violence in the media and interactive video games, is conditioning our children to kill in a manner siimilar to the army's conditioning of soldiers."  —Publishers Weekly.

Dave Grossman and Loren W. Christensen, On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War, 3rd ed. (Warrior Science Publications, 2008). — Originally published in 2004. "On Combat looks at what happens to the human body under the stresses of deadly battle . . . then discusses new research findings as to what measures warriors can take to prevent such debilitations so they can stay in the fight, survive, and win.  A brief, but insightful look at history shows the evolution of combat, the development of the physical and psychological leverage that enables humans to kill other humans, followed by an objective examination of domestic violence in America. . . . On Combat presents new and exciting research as to how to train the mind to become inoculated to stress, fear and even pain. . . . [T]he book explores what really happens to the warrior after the battle . . . A fresh and highly informative look at post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) . . . A final chapter encourages warriors to always fight for justice, not vengeance . . . On Combat is easy to read and powerful in scope.  It is a true classic that will be read by new and veteran warriors for years to come."  —Book description.


Since July 2004, United for Peace of Pierce County’s “Digging Deeper,” a Monday-evening book discussion group, has examined more than 300 books. (Summaries of about 200 of them have been posted online on the website Scribd.) Topics discussed have included the Iraq war, Peak Oil, climate change, torture, the corporation, Islam, Iran, U.S.-Iran relations, Barack Obama and the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., the writings of Robert Baer, parallels between the U.S. and ancient Rome, Israel/Palestine, sustainability, war and human nature, the nature of money, September 11, energy geopolitics, the debt crisis, American immigration policy, the 2000, 2004, and 2008 presidential elections, financial crisis, the politics of assassination, and Saul Alinsky’s life and writings, as well as abiding themes of war, peace, and social change. Occasionally the group has spent several weeks reading longer works, like Daniel Yergin’s The Prize or Robert Fisk’s The Great War for Civilisation — Participation is free and open; anyone interested is welcome. Try King’s Books (218 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma) or other local bookstores for copies of books. More information: contact Mark Jensen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or see www.ufppc.org.