How do soldiers in wartime talk about death?
May 11, 2012 3:10 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for quantitative studies or other accounts of how often, and in what ways, soldiers in dangerous wartime situations discuss the possibility of death.

I'm particularly interested in cases where informal prohibitions against talking about death arise spontaneously or are enforced by peers, or where fears of death are expressed in some transformed, but still verbal, manner. Online sources would be preferable.

The best resource would cover Americans in WWII, but any time or place would be of interest. Firsthand accounts are also appreciated.
posted by inkfish to Society & Culture (1 answer total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't know how much covers your specific question, but Trained to Kill: Soldiers at War was written by a military psychiatrist examining the effects of combat on Vietnam War veterans. (Disclosure: This book was written by my cousin. But it is a commonly used text these days in the field of PTSD.)

Anecdotally, and I can't remember where I read it, but soldiers counting down the days left in their tours would often get superstitious when you got down to the double and then single digits.
posted by elizeh at 8:45 PM on May 11, 2012

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