Warrior cultures throughout history have developed unique codes that restrict their behavior and set them apart from the rest of society. But what possible reason could a warrior have for accepting such restraints? Why should those whose profession can force them into hellish kill-or-be-killed conditions care about such lofty concepts as honor, courage, nobility, duty, and sacrifice? And why should it matter so much to the warriors themselves that they be something more than mere murderers? The Code of the Warrior tackles these timely issues and takes the reader on a tour of warrior cultures and their values, from the ancient Greeks and Romans to the _barbaric_ Vikings and Celts, from legendary chivalric knights to Native American tribesmen, from Chinese warrior monks pursuing enlightenment to Japanese samurai practicing death. Drawing these rich traditions up to the present, the author quests for a code for the warriors of today, as they do battle in asymmetric conflicts against unconventional forces and the scourge of global terrorism.
With amazingly smooth writing, this absorbing and valuable book studies the ethics governing warriors throughout history. Written with impressive erudition, balance, and wit, it will be agreeable reading for warriors, warriors in training, or anyone interested in their welfare. Publishers Weekly This excellent work is worthwhile reading for military personnel and individuals interested in ethics. Highly recommended. Library Journal Waiting until the fog of war has descended is too late to determine where the thin line between warrior and murderer is drawn. In The Code of the Warrior, French enlightens our thinking on this important question, offering fascinating historical examples and the kind of penetrating analysis that can only come from a philosopher devoted to the character development of our future warriors. -- Admiral Leon A. Edney, U.S.N. (Retired); former commander-in-chief, U.S. Atlantic Command The horrific nature of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States stirred national feelings of anger and hate that may accompany some U.S. warriors into the battle against terrorism. Without the internalized code of conduct French so eloquently describes, the combination of emotion and vastly superior U.S. military power puts our warriors at risk of becoming arrogant, detached, and in some ways like the enemies they despise. Her work is both timely and timeless. -- Captain Karl M. Hasslinger, U.S.N. (Retired) In The Code of the Warrior, Shannon French captures the essence of the military's core values, history, traditions, the benchmark of its leadership, the raison d'etre of servicemembers' development of character and honor. -- Senator John McCain, from the foreword Relying on her extensive knowledge of the history of warrior cultures, starting with the Greeks and Trojans, Shannon French has produced an outstanding work that will be of great value to the fledgling warrior, the current practitioner, or the veteran reflecting on his past performance. This book is an important text for anyone involved in warfare, which now includes almost everyone in a society confronting terrorism. -- Vice Admiral Jerry Miller, U.S.N. (Retired), combat veteran of three wars From start to finish, The Code of the Warrior has powerful and useful applications for all service members and law enforcement officers. But French's book is more than a must-read for those who carry weapons in service to their nation-now, as we enter into a clash of cultures with a War on Terrorism, this book charts the path for honorable conduct for our entire nation. It should be read by every politician and concerned citizen. -- Lt. Col. David Grossman, author of On Killing An interesting panorama of warrior codes and a glance at how American warriors see martial values today. -- Alan Gropman The Washington Times A successful effort to explore the moral limits that soldiers place on their own conduct in battle. The Weekly Standard Thought-provoking opening and closing chapters. Special Warfare This is a rich survey of military values in diverse cultures, from ancient Greek and Roman to medieval Scandinavian, from Native American to Chinese and Japanese. The book also has the virtue of treating each of its disparate traditions in depth and with care. The Code of the Warrior is an impressively researched and eloquent work, well worth careful study by military professionals and others interested in martial values. It permits us to achieve insights regarding the similarities and differences between our contemporary American military code and those of more distant times and places, thus imparting authentic humanistic wisdom. Parameters
Chapter 1 Foreword Chapter 2 Why Warriors Need a Code Chapter 3 The Homeric Hero: A Hector Who Wins? Chapter 4 The Two Faces of Rome: Stoicism and Hedonism Chapter 5 "Never to Do Outrageousity nor Murder": The World of Malory's Morte Darthur Chapter 5 Vikings: Vengeance, Valkyries, and Valhalla Chapter 7 Native Americans: Warriors of the Sacred Plains Chapter 8 Chinese Warrior Monks: The Martial Artists of Shaolin Chapter 9 The Soul of the Samurai: Duty, Devotion, and Death Chapter 10 The Warrior's Code Today: Are Terrorists Warriors?