cover of book

American War Stories: Veteran-Writers and the Politics of Memoir
by Myra Mendible
University of Massachusetts Press, 2021
Cloth: 978-1-62534-630-8 | Paper: 978-1-62534-631-5 | eISBN: 978-1-61376-907-2
Library of Congress Classification PS153.V48
Dewey Decimal Classification 810.93526970904

Trust in media and political institutions is at an all-time low in America, yet veterans enjoy an unmatched level of credibility and moral authority. Their war stories have become crucial testimony about the nation's leadership, foreign policies, and wars. Veterans' memoirs are not simply self-revelatory personal chronicles but contributions to political culture—to the stories circulated and incorporated into national myths and memories.

American War Stories centers on an extensive selection of memoirs written by veterans of the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan conflicts—including Brian Turner's My Life as a Foreign Country, Marcus Luttrell's Lone Survivor, and Camilo Mejia's Road from ar Ramadi—to explore the complex relationship between memory and politics in the context of postmodern war. Placing veterans' stories in conversation with broader cultural and political discourses, Myra Mendible analyzes the volatile mix of agendas, identities, and issues informing veteran-writers' narrative choices to argue that their work plays an important, though underexamined, political function in how Americans remember and judge their wars.
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