“One” by Metallica (1988)

22 03 2009

This song was inspired by the book “Johnny Got His Gun,” a terrifying novel about the horrors of war written by Dalton Trumbo (who would also direct the movie based on the book).  I think this is a very intense track.  A soldier suffers terrible wounds in the war, leaving him limbless, voiceless, barely a life support system for his pain and active mind which can do nothing but endure.

Without ever actually experiencing war, art like this is the best way we can begin to understand the suffering of others.  In America, war is a pretty abstract concept, except for our soldiers who are sent by our leaders on dubious (at best) military actions overseas.

There are some incredible books and movies that show the horrors of war.  In addition to “Johnny Got His Gun,” I’d recommend “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Remarque, “The Naked and the Dead” by Mailer, and “And No Birds Sang” by Mowatt.  For movies I’d recommend “The Thin Red Line” by Malick, “Platoon” by Stone, and “Saving Private Ryan” by Spielberg.  One of the best filmed treatments of World War II, in my opinion, is the HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers.”

These are just some examples, and they can be very difficult to get through, especially if you really try to put yourself in them.  They are difficult, but they can give you a very real, very human perspective on just what we’re doing to each other in these wars.

War is far from abstract for many people on this planet.  The least we can do is truly understand the consequences of our actions.




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