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Faces of the Enemy: Reflections of the Hostile Imagination
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Faces of the Enemy: Reflections of the Hostile Imagination (Paperback)

by Sam Keen (Author)
4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
Each nation seeks to justify warfare by creating a monstrous image of its enemy. Killing is made a source of pride, murder a patriotic duty; war becomes a holy war "with God on our side." Keen (The Passionate Life uses political posters and cartoons to demonstrate that belligerent countries have consistently characterized the enemy as aggressor, barbarian, devil, rapist, insect, germ. Noting that the U.S. and U.S.S.R. need to view one another as evil, he urges a massive overhaul of fixed postures and attitudes. His "potpourri of possibilities" to eradicate deep-seated hate and fear ranges from cultural exchanges to divestment of empires (ours and theirs). Illustrated with color and black-and-white art, this original probe of the root causes of war offers a new perspective on ways to thaw the Cold War. The book is a tie-in with a PBS television series. 25,000 ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Description
This book shows how ordinary and seemingly decent people can be stirred to hate and even to kill their neighbours, using the twisted caricatures of propaganda posters, biased cartoons, and distorted images served up in print and on screen. In pictures and in text, noted philosopher and Jungian Sam Keen delves beneath legitimate grievances and questions of right and wrong to get at the psychological mechanism of enmity itself.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins (September 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062504673
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062504678
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Sales Rank: #97,867 in Books (See Bestsellers in Books)

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      Customer Reviews

      10 Reviews
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      Average Customer Review
      4.1 out of 5 stars (10 customer reviews)
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      Most Helpful Customer Reviews

      8 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
      5.0 out of 5 stars What we need to remember, May 5, 2004
      By A Customer
      Whatever side of the war argument the reader lands on, this book will provide necessary information to supplement the discussion.

      This book addresses the way past wars have been intensified by demonizing the enemy beyond whatever real reasons caused the wars.

      The history presented in this book -- the posters, the commentary, the pictures -- is not commonly taught. The author may have a point a view with which the reader disagrees, but the examples presented should be known if society is to make reasoned decisions on behavior and not just react to base emotions.

      I recommend this book highly for a look at an aspect of history that we often quickly forget once the battles are over.

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      10 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
      5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, December 30, 1998
      By A Customer
      This book should be required reading for anyone that has the slightest interest in international affairs. I wouldn't go so far as to say this book changed my life, but I would say that it radically altered my thinking and lead me down paths of human understanding that I wouldn't traveled if not for this book.
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      4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
      5.0 out of 5 stars Quick review and comment on previous review by Joseph Biskup, October 22, 2005
      By  Jordan Smith (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
      (REAL NAME)   
      This is an excellent book for someone who would like to meditate on or provoke discussion on the connection between the individual psyche and warfare as a social phenomenon. I think reviewer Joseph Biskup was right is saying that this is more of a philosophical treatise than an academic monograph, as citations are totally absent. But I would add that it is also interesting from a psychoanalytic perspective, as much of the structures that underly his psychological assertions about the individual are based on the Freudian tradition.

      I used the chapter "The Psychology of Enmity" in a class on post-colonial criticism and theory recently with incoming university freshmen, and it was a hit (if a bit overwhelming as an introduction to college). The graphics of propaganda from around the world are great conversation fodder.

      One point on which I would disagree with Joseph Biskup's review. He argues:
      "There seemed to me to be several contradictions in this book; for me the most glaring was the following. On page 178 the author states "we are not instinctually sadists...Homo hostilis must be created by the media and the institutions that subject him to constant indoctrination". From this (and the rest of what he states on this page) it seems to me an obvious conclusion that without extra effort we would naturally revert to a more peaceful state; that there is a natural energy already pushing us in that direction. However, on page 184 the author then states, "Since the process of education for paranoia and warfare requires a total social effort, we must assume that the effort to create a compassionate psyche and society will require a similar or greater effort." Such obvious contradictions should not be in a well thought-through book. "

      This criticism assumes that the subject returns to his 'natural state' after an influential stimulus stops. I'm not sure why Biskup assumes this. I believe that Sam Keen's argument in the book is based on the idea that humans, once indoctrinated in the discourse of warfare to the degree 'we' are, do not just revert to a natural peaceful state. Also, Keen doesn't say positively that we are naturally good or peaceful--just that peacefulness or warmongering can be taught equally well by concerted social efforts to educate and influence through arts and media. Of course Keen is speaking idealistically--that's the goal of his book. It's not a policy analysis or recommendation, but a way of inciting people to think outside popular assumtions of psychic territoriality and the paranoid construction of an imagined other on which to project our hatred and seek to destroy.

      Although I agree with Biskup that policy analysis and change is needed as a complement to Keen's kind of thinking, I don't think that the criticism that Keen doesn't accomplish this is a valid criticism--a book can only do so much.
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      Most Recent Customer Reviews

      5.0 out of 5 stars P.S. -- It's a visual stunner !!!

      Just a brief comment on the quality and fascination of the hundreds of B&W and full-color images of propaganda posters (mostly), ads, and cartoons through recent ages and... Read more
      Published 1 month ago by Beyond-Is-Within Also

      3.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Idea
      Altogether, this is a very good book but there are several serious problems that affected my enjoyment of this book. Read more
      Published on September 17, 2005 by Joseph Biskup

      1.0 out of 5 stars The defender and the aggressor are not alike....
      The author seems to have set out to show that throughout history the source of wars has been inherent in the participants on both sides . Read more
      Published on December 23, 2003 by J. Guild

      2.0 out of 5 stars Generally a waste of time
      This book is too ambitious and falls flat. Had the author been content to describe how war propaganda is used to target certain emotions, this book would be an essential addition... Read more
      Published on July 1, 2002 by Bobby Dillard

      5.0 out of 5 stars A great book
      I read this book several years ago, and a lot of it still stays with me. Reading this book had a pretty profound and, I believe, a very positive effect on me. Read more
      Published on October 1, 2000

      5.0 out of 5 stars It explains a lot of everyday behavior.
      Why do Creationists quote Evolutionists as saying, "Anything goes"? Why does any teacher who advocates a child-centered approach get branded with the... Read more
      Published on January 9, 1999

      5.0 out of 5 stars the enemy isn't without, he's within...
      One of the best books on propaganda and psychological projection ever written, extended treatment of Jung's theories on the "shadow side" as well as many full color... Read more
      Published on October 9, 1997

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