The white power movement in America wants a revolution. It has declared all-out war against the federal government and its agents, and has carried out—with military precision—an escalating campaign of terror against the American public. Its soldiers are not lone wolves but are highly organized cadres motivated by a coherent and deeply troubling worldview of white supremacy, anticommunism, and apocalypse. In Bring the War Home, Kathleen Belew gives us the first full history of the movement that consolidated in the 1970s and 1980s around a potent sense of betrayal in the Vietnam War and made tragic headlines in the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building.
Returning to an America ripped apart by a war that, in their view, they were not allowed to win, a small but driven group of veterans, active-duty personnel, and civilian supporters concluded that waging war on their own country was justified. They unified people from a variety of militant groups, including Klansmen, neo-Nazis, skinheads, radical tax protestors, and white separatists. The white power movement operated with discipline and clarity, undertaking assassinations, mercenary soldiering, armed robbery, counterfeiting, and weapons trafficking. Its command structure gave women a prominent place in brokering intergroup alliances and giving birth to future recruits.
Belew’s disturbing history reveals how war cannot be contained in time and space. In its wake, grievances intensify and violence becomes a logical course of action for some. Bring the War Home argues for awareness of the heightened potential for paramilitarism in a present defined by ongoing war.
The Colonel's Dream
Charles W. Chesnutt West Virginia University Press, 2014 Library of Congress PS1292.C6C65 2014 | Dewey Decimal 813.4
Charles Waddell Chesnutt (1858-1932) was an African American writer, essayist, Civil Rights activist, legal-stenography businessman, and lawyer whose novels and short stories explore race, racism, and the problematic contours of African Americans’ social and cultural identities in post-Civil War South. He was the first African American to be published by a major American publishing house and served as a beacon-point for future African American writers.
The Colonel’s Dream, written in 1905, is a compelling tale of the post-Civil War South’s degeneration into a region awash with virulent racist practices against African Americans: segregation, lynchings, disenfranchisement, convict-labor exploitation, and endemic violent repression. The events in this novel are powerfully depicted from the point of view of a philanthropic but unreliable southern white colonel. Upon his return to the South, the colonel learns to abhor this southern world, as a tale of vicious racism unfolds. Throughout this narrative, Chesnutt confronts the deteriorating position of African Americans in an increasingly hostile South. Upon its publication The Colonel’s Dream was considered too controversial and unpalatable because of its bitter criticisms of southern white prejudice and northern indifference, and so this groundbreaking story failed to gain public attention and acclaim.
This is the first scholarly edition of The Colonel’s Dream. It includes an introduction and notes by R. J. Ellis and works to reestablish this great novel’s reputation.
Confederate Bushwhacker is a microbiography set in the most important and pivotal year in the life of its subject. In 1885, Mark Twain was at the peak of his career as an author and a businessman, as his own publishing firm brought out not only the U.S. edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn but also the triumphantly successful Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant. Twenty years after the end of the Civil War, Twain finally tells the story of his past as a deserter from the losing side, while simultaneously befriending and publishing the general from the winning side. Coincidentally, the year also marks the beginning of Twain’s descent into misfortune, his transformation from a humorist into a pessimist and determinist. Interwoven throughout this portrait are the headlines and crises of 1885—black lynchings, Indian uprisings, anti-Chinese violence, labor unrest, and the death of Grant. The year was at once Twain’s annus mirabilis and the year of his undoing. The meticulous treatment of this single year by the esteemed biographer Jerome Loving enables him to look backward and forward to capture both Twain and the country at large in a time of crisis and transformation.
A Confederate Chronicle presents the remarkable life of Thomas L. Wragg, who served in both the Confederate army and navy and endured incarceration as a prisoner of war. After the war, he undertook a series of jobs, eventually becoming a physician. In 1889, he died tragically at the hands of a man who mistakenly thought he was defending his family’s honor. Pamela Chase Hain uses Wragg’s letters home to his family, friends, and fiancée, as well as his naval notebook and newspaper articles, to give readers direct insight into his life and the lives of those around him.
The son of a respected Savannah physician, Wragg was born into a life of wealth and privilege. A nonconscripted soldier, he left home at eighteen to join the front lines in Virginia. From there, he sent letters home describing the maneuverings of General Joseph E. Johnston’s army in and around Harpers Ferry and Winchester, culminating with the Battle of Bull Run.
In the fall of 1862, Wragg joined the Confederate Navy and trained on the ironclad CSS Georgia before transferring to the CSS Atlanta. Hain uses the notebook that he kept during his training in ordnance and gunnery to provide a rare glimpse into the naval and artillery practices at the time. This notebook also provides evidence of a fledgling Confederate naval “school” prior to the one established on the James River on the CSS Patrick Henry.
The crew of the unfortunate Atlanta was captured on the ship’s maiden voyage, and evidence in the Wragg family papers suggests the capture was not the result of bad luck, as has been claimed. Wragg and the other officers were sent to Fort Warren Prison in Boston Harbor for fifteen months. Wragg’s POW letters reveal the isolation and sense of abandonment the prisoners felt as they waited in hopes of an exchange. The correspondence between Wragg and his fiancée, Josie, after the war illustrates not only the mores of nineteenth-century courtship but also the difficulty of adjustment that many Confederate war veterans faced.
Sadly, Wragg’s life was cut short after he became a successful doctor in Quincy, Florida. Cover-up and intrigue by influential citizens prevented Wragg’s wife from bringing the murderer to justice. A Confederate Chronicle offers an unprecedented look at how the Civil War affected the gentry class of the South. It gives readers a personal view into one man’s struggle with the chaos of life during and after the war, as well as into the struggles of the general society.
Country Place: A Novel
Ann Petry, foreword by Farah Jasmine Griffin Northwestern University Press, 2019 Library of Congress PS3531.E933C68 2019 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Originally published in 1947, Ann Petry’s classic Country Place depicts a predominantly white community disillusioned by the indignities and corruption of small-town life.
Johnnie Roane returns from four years of military service in World War II to his wife, Glory. They had been married just a year when he left Lennox, Connecticut, where both their families live and work. In his taxi ride home, Johnnie receives foreboding hints that all has not been well in his absence. Eager to mend his fraying marriage, Johnnie attempts to cajole Glory to recommit to their life together. But something sinister has taken place during the intervening years—an infidelity that has not gone unnoticed in the superficially placid New England town.
Accompanied by a new foreword from Farah Jasmine Griffin on the enduring legacy of Petry’s oeuvre, Country Place complicates and builds on the legacy of a literary celebrity and one of the foremost African American writers of her time.
These are tales of what it was like for young men to go from the bucolic hills of New Hampshire to a land wracked by war and violence. The result is a collection of more than fifty accounts, showing the variety of experiences and reactions to this dramatic period in American history. Some soldiers were drafted, some volunteered; some supported the war, but many turned against it. Common to all the stories is the way in which war changes men, for good and ill, and the way in which the Vietnam experience colored so much of the rest of these writers’ lives.
Institutions of higher education are experiencing the largest influx of enrolled veterans since World War II, and these student veterans are transforming post-secondary classroom dynamics. While many campus divisions like admissions and student services are actively moving to accommodate the rise in this demographic, little research about this population and their educational needs is available, and academic departments have been slower to adjust. In Generation Vet, fifteen chapters offer well-researched, pedagogically savvy recommendations for curricular and programmatic responses to student veterans for English and writing studies departments.
In work with veterans in writing-intensive courses and community contexts, questions of citizenship, disability, activism, community-campus relationships, and retention come to the fore. Moreover, writing-intensive courses can be sites of significant cultural exchanges—even clashes—as veterans bring military values, rhetorical traditions, and communication styles that may challenge the values, beliefs, and assumptions of traditional college students and faculty.
This classroom-oriented text addresses a wide range of issues concerning veterans, pedagogy, rhetoric, and writing program administration. Written by diverse scholar-teachers and written in diverse genres, the essays in this collection promise to enhance our understanding of student veterans, composition pedagogy and administration, and the post-9/11 university.
The GI Bill Boys: A Memoir
Stella, Suberman University of Tennessee Press, 2012 Library of Congress E806.S86 2012 | Dewey Decimal 973.91
In her warm and witty new memoir, Stella Suberman charms readers with her personal perspective as she recalls the original 1940s GI Bill. As she writes of the bill and the epic events that spawned it, she manages, in her crisp way, to personalize and humanizes them in order to entertain and to educate. Although her story is in essence that of two Jewish families, it echoes the story of thousands of Americans of that period.
Her narrative begins with her Southern family and her future husband’s Northern one – she designates herself and her husband as “Depression kids” – as they struggle through the Great Depression. In her characteristically lively style, she recounts the major happenings of the era: the Bonus March of World War I veterans; the attack on Pearl Harbor; the Roosevelt/New Deal years; the rise of Hitler’s Nazi party and the Holocaust; the second World War; and the post-war period when veterans returned home to a collapsed and jobless economy. She then takes the reader to the moment when the GI Bill appeared, the glorious moment, as she writes, when returning veterans realized they had been given a future.
As her husband begins work on his Ph.D., she focuses on the GI men and their wives as college life consumed them. It is the time also of Senator Joseph McCarthy and the “Red Scare,” of the creation of an Israeli state, of the Korean War, and of other important issues, and she discusses them forthrightly. Throughout this section she writes of how the GI’s doggedly studied, engaged in critical thinking (perhaps for the first time), discovered their voices. As she suggests, it was not the 1930’s anymore, and the GI Bill boys were poised to give America an authentic and robust middle class.
Stella Suberman is the author of two popular and well-reviewed titles: The Jew Store and When It Was OurWar. In its starred review, Booklist called The Jew Store “an absolute pleasure,” and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote that it was “valuable history as well as a moving story.” When It Was Our War received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, and in another starred review, Kirkus Reviews described it as “Engaging . . . A remarkable story that resonates with intelligence and insight.” Mrs. Suberman lives with her husband, Jack, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Robert Hunt examines how Union veterans of the Army of the Cumberland employed the extinction of slavery in the trans-Appalachian South in their memory of the Civil War. Hunt argues that rather than ignoring or belittling emancipation, it became central to veterans’ retrospective understanding of what the war, and their service in it, was all about. The Army of the Cumberland is particularly useful as a subject for this examination because it invaded the South deeply, encountering numerous ex-slaves as fugitives, refugees, laborers on military projects, and new recruits. At the same time, the Cumberlanders were mostly Illinoisans, Ohioans, Indianans, and, significantly, Kentucky Unionists, all from areas suspicious of abolition before the war.
Hunt argues that the collapse of slavery in the trans-Appalachian theater of the Civil War can be usefully understood by exploring the post-war memories of this group of Union veterans. He contends that rather than remembering the war as a crusade against the evils of slavery, the veterans of the Army of the Cumberland saw the end of slavery as a by-product of the necessary defeat of the planter aristocracy that had sundered the Union; a good and necessary outcome, but not necessarily an assertion of equality between the races.
Some of the most provocative discussions about the Civil War in current scholarship are concerned with how memory of the war was used by both the North and the South in Reconstruction, redeemer politics, the imposition of segregation, and the Spanish-American War. This work demonstrates that both the collapse of slavery and the economic and social post-War experience convinced these veterans that they had participated in the construction of the United States as a world power, built on the victory won against corrupt Southern plutocrats who had impeded the rightful development of the country.
In today's volunteer military many recruits enlist for the educational benefits, yet a significant number of veterans struggle in the classroom, and many drop out. The difficulties faced by student veterans have been attributed to various factors: poor academic preparation, PTSD and other postwar ailments, and allegedly antimilitary sentiments on college campuses. In Grateful Nation Ellen Moore challenges these narratives by tracing the experiences of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans at two California college campuses. Drawing on interviews with dozens of veterans, classroom observations, and assessments of the work of veteran support organizations, Moore finds that veterans' academic struggles result from their military training and combat experience, which complicate their ability to function in civilian schools. While there is little evidence of antimilitary bias on college campuses, Moore demonstrates the ways in which college programs that conflate support for veterans with support for the institutional military lead to suppression of campus debate about the wars, discourage antiwar activism, and encourage a growing militarization.
Over the last few decades, as the United States has become embroiled in foreign war after foreign war, some of the most vocal activists for peace have been veterans. These veterans for peace come from all different races, classes, regions, and generations. What common motivations unite them and fuel their activism?
Guys Like Me introduces us to five ordinary men who have done extraordinary work as peace activists: World War II veteran Ernie Sanchez, Korean War veteran Woody Powell, Vietnam veteran Gregory Ross, Gulf War veteran Daniel Craig, and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran Jonathan Hutto. Acclaimed sociologist Michael Messner offers rich profiles of each man, recounting what led him to join the armed forces, what he experienced when fighting overseas, and the guilt and trauma he experienced upon returning home. He reveals how the pain and horror of the battlefront motivated these onetime warriors to reconcile with former enemies, get involved as political activists, and help younger generations of soldiers.
Guys Like Me is an inspiring multigenerational saga of men who were physically or psychically wounded by war, but are committed to healing themselves and others, forging a path to justice, and replacing endless war with lasting peace
In this report, the authors use the Wounded Warrior Project’s 2013 survey of its members (alumni) to understand the physical, mental, and economic challenges that Wounded Warriors face. The researchers find that at least half of alumni reported dealing with mental health conditions such as depression and posttraumatic stress disorder, and many of these alumni reported difficulties or delays in seeking mental health care, or not doing so at all.
The Wounded Warrior Project has developed programs to help care for injured service members and veterans. This report describes how project alumnus respondents are faring in domains related to mental health and resiliency, physical health, and employment and finances.
This report discusses the results of occupation surveys administered to soldiers in selected Army military occupational specialties (MOSs) to assess the level and importance of the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed in these MOSs and to develop better crosswalks between military and civilian occupations. The report identifies both a broader range of military-civilian occupation matches and higher-quality matches than existing crosswalks.
Little has been reported about “military caregivers”—the population of those who care for wounded, ill, and injured military personnel and veterans. This report summarizes the results of a study designed to describe the magnitude of military caregiving in the United States today, as well as to identify gaps in the array of programs, policies, and initiatives designed to support military caregivers.
Hir: A Play
Taylor Mac Northwestern University Press, 2015 Library of Congress PS3613.A218H57 2015 | Dewey Decimal 812.6
Finalist, 2015 Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Drama
Discharged from the Marines under suspicious circumstances, Isaac comes home from the wars, only to find the life he remembers upended. Isaac’s father, who once ruled the family with an iron fist, has had a debilitating stroke; his younger sister, Maxine, is now his brother, Max; and their mother, Paige, is committed to revolution at any cost. Determined to be free of any responsibility toward her formerly abusive husband—or the home he created—Paige fervently believes she can lead the way to a "new world order." Hir, Taylor Mac’s subversive comedy, leaves many of our so-called normative and progressive ideas about gender, families, the middle class—and cleaning—in hilarious and ultimately tragic disarray.
By the time of the Vietnam War era, the “Mexican American Generation” had made tremendous progress both socially and politically. However, the number of Mexican Americans in comparison to the number of white prisoners of war (POWs) illustrated the significant discrimination and inequality the Chicano population faced in both military and civilian landscapes. Chicanos were disproportionately “grunts” (infantry), who were more likely to be killed when captured, while pilots and officers were more likely to be both white and held as POWs for negotiating purposes. A fascinating look at the Vietnam War era from a Chicano perspective, “I’m Not Gonna Die in this Damn Place”: Manliness, Identity, and Survival of the Mexican American Vietnam Prisoners of War gives voice to the Mexican American POWs. The stories of these men and their families provide insights to the Chicano Vietnam War experience, while also adding tremendously to the American POW story. This book is an important read for academics and military enthusiasts alike.
In Search of Snow
Luis Alberto Urrea University of Arizona Press, 1999 Library of Congress PS3571.R74I5 1999 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
In the hot Arizona desert of the late 1950s, Mike McGurk comes of age in one big, riotous gush. Trapped pumping gas at a desolate roadstop, he yearns for things he has never known: love, hope, and the soft, white calmness of snow. Mike's world is filled with a menagerie of quirky characters, who cope with the weight of their unfulfilled dreams with bravado, humor, and violence. Mike trades snappy insults with his macho father, Texaco Turk McGurk, a moustachioed amateur boxer and self-proclaimed war hero who is unable to talk about love. Mike lusts after Lily, his seductive, poem-writing cousin. He cowers before and then confronts the vicious Ramses, grandson of Mr. Sneezy, the wisecracking Apache. And he is rescued by his best friend, Bobo, who delivers him into the care of the loving and generous Mama and Papa Garcia.
In Search of Snow is an explosive coming-of-age adventure, full of hilarious episodes and still, poignant moments. Like a blue-collar Don Quixote, Mike must blow up his windmills before he can set off to find the things he lacks, especially the snow that will temper the passion he has just set aflame.
Landing Zones brings to life the dramatic, gripping, and often painful stories of twenty-four Vietnam Veterans from the American South. The men and women interviewed here represent a remarkable range of experience, including a marine rifleman, a helicopter pilot, an army nurse, a prisoner of war, a riverboat gunner, and the commanding general William Westmoreland. Skillfully interviewed by James R. Wilson, a journalist and Army press officer in Vietnam, each narrative explores and describes the war’s events before following the veterans home and carrying them to the present. These stories focus on a uniquely southern view of Vietnam. In terms of numbers the South shouldered more than its share of human cost—31 percent of Americans who served came from one of the eleven states of the old Confederacy, and 28 percent of the dead were southerners. Southerners also brought to Vietnam certain shared cultural tastes and a particularly southern heritage of honor in military service stemming from the Civil War. For many, as their testimony reveals, a sense of patriotism was tested and questioned by the horrors of war, and for others that patriotism was a continued source of strength. Individually and collectively, however, these oral histories make up a picture of war that prevents us from forgetting the truth as one veteran put it: “Vietnam was not one war, but a thousand little nasty wars.”
The Salt Lake City Tribune has called Lee Barnes “one of the finest writers of short stories in the contemporary West.” Minimal Damage contains seven stories and a novella that depict veterans of several wars in search of dignity and purpose in a civilian life that has no need for men who were soldiers. With emotion, humor, and clarity, Barnes creates characters who show us what it is to live with the trauma of having experienced combat. The fractured souls and twisted lives of these men remind us that war’s ultimate damage extends far beyond the battlefield.
For much of the twentieth century, France recruited colonial subjects from sub-Saharan Africa to serve in its military, sending West African soldiers to fight its battles in Europe, Southeast Asia, and North Africa. In this exemplary contribution to the “new imperial history,” Gregory Mann argues that this shared military experience between France and Africa was fundamental not only to their colonial relationship but also to the reconfiguration of that relationship in the postcolonial era. Mann explains that in the early twenty-first century, among Africans in France and Africa, and particularly in Mali—where Mann conducted his research—the belief that France has not adequately recognized and compensated the African veterans of its wars is widely held and frequently invoked. It continues to animate the political relationship between France and Africa, especially debates about African immigration to France.
Focusing on the period between World War I and 1968, Mann draws on archival research and extensive interviews with surviving Malian veterans of French wars to explore the experiences of the African soldiers. He describes the effects their long absences and infrequent homecomings had on these men and their communities, he considers the veterans’ status within contemporary Malian society, and he examines their efforts to claim recognition and pensions from France. Mann contends that Mali is as much a postslavery society as it is a postcolonial one, and that specific ideas about reciprocity, mutual obligation, and uneven exchange that had developed during the era of slavery remain influential today, informing Malians’ conviction that France owes them a “blood debt” for the military service of African soldiers in French wars.
Richard Moser uses interviews and personal stories of Vietnam veterans to offer a fundamentally new interpretation of the Vietnam War and the antiwar movement. Although the Vietnam War was the most important conflict of recent American history, its decisive battle was not fought in the jungles of Vietnam, or even in the streets of the United States, but rather in the hearts and minds of American soldiers. To a degree unprecedented in American history, soldiers and veterans acted to oppose the very war they waged. Tens of thousands of soldiers and veterans engaged in desperate conflicts with their superiors and opposed the war through peaceful protest, creating a mass movement of dissident organizations and underground newspapers.
Moser shows how the antiwar soldiers lived out the long tradition of the citizen soldier first created in the American Revolution and Civil War. Unlike those great upheavals of the past, the Vietnam War offered no way to fulfill the citizen-soldier's struggle for freedom and justice. Rather than abandoning such ideals, however, tens of thousands abandoned the war effort and instead fulfilled their heroic expectations in the movements for peace and justice. According to Moser, this transformation of warriors into peacemakers is the most important recent development of our military culture.
The struggle for peace took these new winter soldiers into America rather than away from it. Collectively these men and women discovered the continuing potential of American culture to advance the values of freedom, equality, and justice on which the nation was founded.
When Omar Nelson Bradley began his military career more than a century ago, the army rode horses into combat and had less than 200,000 men. No one had heard of mustard gas. At the height of his career, Bradley (known as “Brad” and “The GI’s General”) led 1.23 million men as commander of 12 Army Group in the Western Front to bring an end to World War II.
Omar Nelson Bradley was the youngest and last of nine men to earn five-star rank and the only army officer so honored after World War II. This new biography by Steven L. Ossad gives an account of Bradley’s formative years, his decorated career, and his postwar life.
Bradley’s decisions shaped the five Northwest European Campaigns from the D-Day landings to VE Day. As the man who successfully led more Americans in battle than any other in our history, his long-term importance would seem assured. Yet his name is not discussed often in the classrooms of either civilian or military academies, either as a fount of tactical or operational lessons learned, or a source of inspiration for leadership exercised at Corps, Army, Group, Army Chief, or Joint Chiefs of Staff levels.
The Bradley image was tailor-made for the quintessential homespun American heroic ideal and was considered by many to be a simple, humble country boy who rose to the pinnacle of power through honesty, hard work, loyalty and virtuous behavior. Even though his classmates in both high school and at West Point made remarks about his looks, and Bradley was always self-conscious about smiling because of an accident involving his teeth, he went on to command 12 Army Group, the largest body of American fighting men under a single general.
Bradley’s postwar career as administrator of the original GI Bill and first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Korean War ensures his legacy. These latter contributions, as much as Bradley’s demonstrable World War II leadership, shaped U.S. history and culture in decisive, dramatic, and previously unexamined ways.
Drawing on primary sources such as those at West Point, Army War College and Imperial War Museum, this book focuses on key decisions, often through the eyes of eyewitness and diarist, British liaison officer Major Thomas Bigland. The challenges our nation faces sound familiar to his problems: fighting ideologically-driven enemies across the globe, coordinating global strategy with allies, and providing care and benefits for our veterans.
In the summer of 1966, in the middle of the Vietnam War, eighty young volunteers arrived at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Parris Island, South Carolina, from all over the Eastern United States. For the next eight weeks, as Platoon 1005, they endured one of the most intense basic training programs ever devised. Parris Island was not a place for idle conversation or social gatherings, and these men remained from start to finish almost complete strangers. Ehrhart did get to know one Marine, his bunkmate John Harris, who quietly shared his sweetheart's letters. He was a friend who died in Vietnam only a year later.
Twenty-seven years after basic training. Ehrhart began what became a five-year search for the men of his platoon. Who were these men alongside whom he trained? Why had they joined the Marines at a time when being sent to war and of the country that sent them to fight it? What does the Corps mean to them? What Ehrhart learned offers an extraordinary window into the complexities of the Vietnam Generation and the United States of America then and now.
Based on supporting materials from military records and family members as well as interviews -- some of which Ehrhart held in such active secondary roles as dairy farmhand, fishing companion, and impromptu guest at a family wedding -- this book records the more-than-30-year journey that each man took after his boot-camp graduation on August 12, 1966. Photos of the men, both then and now, accompany the profiles. Their stories are diverse, but as Ehrhart says, "It was, in short, history, and each of these men was and is a part of that history....There are, no doubt, scoundrels and liars and losers among these men, but as a group they have mostly impressed me with their decency and their loyalty and their hard work and their perseverance in the face of hardships and hurdles, the everyday obstacles that make ordinary lives extraordinary."
Christian Bagge, an Iraq War veteran, lost both his legs in a roadside bomb attack on his Humvee in 2006. Months after the accident, outfitted with sleek new prosthetic legs, he jogged alongside President Bush for a photo op at the White House. The photograph served many functions, one of them being to revive faith in an American martial ideal—that war could be fought without permanent casualties, and that innovative technology could easily repair war’s damage. When Bagge was awarded his Purple Heart, however, military officials asked him to wear pants to the ceremony, saying that photos of the event should be “soft on the eyes.” Defiant, Bagge wore shorts.
America has grappled with the questions posed by injured veterans since its founding, and with particular force since the early twentieth century: What are the nation’s obligations to those who fight in its name? And when does war’s legacy of disability outweigh the nation’s interests at home and abroad? In Paying with Their Bodies, John M. Kinder traces the complicated, intertwined histories of war and disability in modern America. Focusing in particular on the decades surrounding World War I, he argues that disabled veterans have long been at the center of two competing visions of American war: one that highlights the relative safety of US military intervention overseas; the other indelibly associating American war with injury, mutilation, and suffering. Kinder brings disabled veterans to the center of the American war story and shows that when we do so, the history of American war over the last century begins to look very different. War can no longer be seen as a discrete experience, easily left behind; rather, its human legacies are felt for decades.
The first book to examine the history of American warfare through the lens of its troubled legacy of injury and disability, Paying with Their Bodies will force us to think anew about war and its painful costs.
The Stories of the Final Six Surviving Soldiers Who Fought in the American Revolution
During the Civil War that threatened to tear the United States apart came the realization that only a handful of veterans of the American Revolution still survived—men who had fought the war that created the nation. Six of these men were photographed and interviewed for a book by Reverend E. B. Hillard that appeared late in 1864. Their images have captivated generations since then; but—through a combination of faded memories and the interviewer’s patriotic agenda—the biographies accompanying these amazing photographs were garbled and distorted, containing information that ranged from inaccurate to implausible. Now for the first time the military careers of these men have been researched in detail using a wide range of primary sources. The result is a new perspective on the actual service of these soldiers, from enlistment to discharge, along with new details of their relatively quiet postwar lives. The Revolution’s Last Men presents the original biographical interviews published in 1864, pension depositions and other first-hand accounts given by each man later in life, and an up-to-date biography examining each soldier’s service and discussing the inaccuracies and uncertainties of the previously published accounts. To complement the photographs taken in 1864, original drawings depict the men as they may have appeared when they were soldiers, using current research on military artifacts and material culture. Also included are additional photographs of some of the men that were not part of the 1864 collection but taken when their status as the last known survivors of the American Revolution made them celebrities. While the photographs of these aged veterans continue to inspire, this book puts their service into perspective and allows these men to be appreciated for who they really were and for their great and unique service to their country.
On September 11, 2001, nineteen members of the Islamist extremist organization al-Qaeda launched four coordinated attacks on the United States, killing 2,977 people. These events and the government’s subsequent “War on Terror” refueled long-standing negative stereotypes about Muslims and Islam among many Americans. And yet thousands of practicing Muslims continued to serve or chose to enlist in the U.S. military during these years.
In Service in a Time of Suspicion, fifteen such service members talk about what it means to be Muslim, American, and a uniformed member of the armed services in the twenty-first century. These honest accounts remind us of our shared humanity.
As the world enters a new century, as it embarks on new wars and sees new developments in the waging of war, reconsiderations of the last century’s legacy of warfare are necessary to our understanding of the current world order. In Soldiers Once and Still, Alex Vernon looks back through the twentieth century in order to confront issues of self and community in veterans’ literature, exploring how war and the military have shaped the identities of Ernest Hemingway, James Salter, and Tim O’Brien, three of the twentieth century’s most respected authors. Vernon specifically explores the various ways war and the military, through both cultural and personal experience, have affected social and gender identities and dynamics in each author’s work.
Hemingway, Salter, and O’Brien form the core of Soldiers Once and Still because each represents a different warring generation of twentieth-century America: World War I with Hemingway, World War II and Korea with Salter, and Vietnam with O’Brien. Each author also represents a different literary voice of the twentieth century, from modern to mid-century to postmodern, and each presents a different battlefield experience: Hemingway as noncombatant, Salter as air force fighter pilot, and O’Brien as army grunt.
War’s pervasive influence on the individual means that, for veterans-turned-writers like Hemingway, Salter, and O’Brien, the war experience infiltrates their entire body of writing—their works can be seen not only as war literature but also as veterans’ literature. As such, their entire postwar oeuvre, regardless of whether an individual work explicitly addresses the war or the military, is open to Vernon’s exploration of war, society, gender, and literary history.
Vernon’s own experiences as a soldier, a veteran, a writer, and a critic inform this enlightening critique of American literature, offering students and scholars of American literature and war studies an invaluable tool for understanding war’s effects on the veteran writer and his society.
The first book to capture and preserve the inside story of the exclusive brotherhood that manned the front lines of the Cold War
Featuring interviews from seventeen veteran submariners, Standing Watch:American Submarine Veterans Remember the Cold War Era offers the perspective of the submariners themselves—lending them a voice and paying homage to their service. Jonathan Li-Chung Leung provides an original glimpse into a world of unique challenges and characters, a life isolated and submerged, and a duty defined by the juxtaposition of monotonous routine and unparalleled excitement.
These personal accounts of life below the surface offer readers a front-row seat to close encounters with Soviet submarines and the naval blockade during the Cuban Missile Crisis, as well as an intimate understanding of daily life onboard the vessels, the culture of military discipline, and the religious-like fervor exercised in honoring traditions big and small. By applying first-hand perspectives to a larger thematic overview, this book uses authentic narratives to deliver a lively and colorful picture of the Silent Service.
Set against the backdrop of sobering geo-political disputes and their own role as the nation’s defenders against a seemingly ambiguous super-enemy, these veterans focus on their responsibilities and reflect on careers built on the simple axioms of pride and service. This invigorating and unalloyed account is an unprecedented addition to the existing literature on naval and military history.
In the wake of the Civil War, higher education in the South was at an impasse, and many historians have tended to view Southern colleges and universities of the era as an educational backwater that resisted reform. As Thinking Confederates demonstrates, however, defeat in fact taught many Southern intellectuals that their institutions had failed to supply antebellum graduates with the skills needed to compete with the North. Thus, in the years following the war, educators who had previously served as Confederate officers led an effort to promote academic reform throughout the region.
Dan Frost shows how, inspired by the idea of progress, these men set about transforming Southern higher education. Recognizing the North’s superiority in industry and technology, they turned their own schools from a classical orientation to a new emphasis on science and engineering. These educators came to define the Southern idea of progress and passed it on to their students, thus helping to create and perpetuate an expectation for the arrival of the New South.
Although they espoused a reverence for the past, these Civil War veterans were not blindly wedded to old ideals but rather fashioned a modern academic vision. Drawing on private correspondence that offers telling insight into the minds of these men, Frost shows that they recognized that the eradication of slavery had been necessary for Southern progress. He also explains how they upheld an idea of a New South that embraced beliefs both in the “Lost Cause” and in national reconciliation.
Challenging the view that the Confederacy’s military leaders were too conservative to entertain any notion of progress, this book offers a fresh and provocative analysis of postbellum Southern thought and higher education.
The Author: Dan R. Frost is an assistant professor of history at Dillard University in New Orleans. He has previously written on the history of higher education in the South in a two-volume work on the LSU College of Engineering.
A 2017 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Silver Winner for Biography
Against the backdrop of World War II, Joy Passanante’s touching new book, Through a Long Absence: Words from My Father’s Wars, is the saga of a wartime medical unit, a passionate long-distance love, the making of a surgeon, and two first-generation American families. Told through her father’s eyes—drawing on hundreds of his letters to his beloved wife, his four-volume wartime diary, and his paintings—Passanante masterfully recreates his wartime journey and physically retraces his steps more than sixty years later in an attempt to understand a time in her parents’ lives that they’d spoken about very little.
More than just a World War II story, Through a Long Absence delves into one man’s past to explore his personal wars: a stint as a child bootlegger, a marriage between newlyweds separated by continents and strained by years apart, and his struggle late in life with his own mind. The narrative propels readers to surprising places—from a freight train through North Africa to an underground St. Louis distillery during Prohibition, from a young couple’s forbidden courtship to the chaos of surgical tents under fire in Normandy, from an underground trove of priceless artwork hidden by the Nazis to Jewish New Year services in Paris a week after its liberation. Through a Long Absence is a love story, an honest look into one man’s life, and a daughter’s moving quest to rediscover her father years later through his own words.
"I may dare to speak, and I intend to speak and write what I think," wrote a New York volunteer serving in the Mexican War in 1848. Such sentiments of resistance and confrontation run throughout the literature produced by veteran Americans in the nineteenth century -- from prisoner-of-war narratives and memoirs to periodicals, adventure pamphlets, and novels. Military men and women were active participants in early American print culture, yet they struggled against civilian prejudice about their character, against shifting collective memories that removed military experience from the nation's self-definition, and against a variety of headwinds in the uneven development of antebellum print culture.
In this new literary history of early American veterans, Benjamin Cooper reveals how soldiers and sailors from the Revolutionary War through the Civil War demanded, through their writing, that their value as American citizens and authors be recognized. Relying on an archive of largely understudied veteran authors, Cooper situates their perspective against a civilian monopoly in defining American citizenship and literature that endures to this day.
In the decades since the Vietnam War, veteran memoirs have influenced Americans’ understanding of the conflict. Yet few historians or literary scholars have scrutinized how the genre has shaped the nation’s collective memory of the war and its aftermath. Instead, veterans’ accounts are mined for colorful quotes and then dropped from public discourse; are accepted as factual sources with little attention to how memory, no matter how authentic, can diverge from events; or are not contextualized in terms of the race, gender, or class of the narrators.
Veteran Narratives and the Collective Memory of the Vietnam War is a landmark study of the cultural heritage of the war in Vietnam as presented through the experience of its American participants. Crossing disciplinary borders in ways rarely attempted by historians, John A. Wood unearths truths embedded in the memoirists’ treatments of combat, the Vietnamese people, race relations in the United States military, male-female relationships in the war zone, and veterans’ postwar troubles. He also examines the publishing industry’s influence on collective memory, discussing, for example, the tendency of publishers and reviewers to privilege memoirs critical of the war. Veteran Narratives is a significant and original addition to the literature on Vietnam veterans and the conflict as a whole.
Voices from Vietnam
Michael E. Stevens Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 1996 Library of Congress DS559.5.V65 1996 | Dewey Decimal 959.70438
An unforgettable collection of 174 letters and diary entries written by 92 wisconsin men and women who served in Vietnam. Includes a journal kept by Menasha native Frederic Flom on cigarette wrappers during his final 16 days of captivity — the only known diary smuggled out by a Vietnam prisoner of war.
Historians are increasingly looking at the sacrifices Germans had to make during World War II. In this context, Svenja Goltermann has taken up a particularly delicate topic, German soldiers’ experience of violence during the war, and repercussions of this experience after their return home. Part I of her book explores the ways in which veterans’ experiences of wartime violence reshaped everyday family life, involving family members in complex ways. Part II offers an extensive analysis of the psychiatric response to this new category of patient, and in particular the reluctance of psychiatrists to recognize the psychic afflictions of former POWs as constituting the grounds for long-term disability. Part III analyzes the cultural representations of veterans’ psychic suffering, encompassing the daily press, popular films, novels, and theater.
Originally published in German as Die Gesellschaft der Uberlebenden, The War in Their Minds examines hitherto unused source material—psychiatric medical files of soldiers—to make clear how difficult it was for the soldiers and their families to readjust to normal, everyday life. Goltermann allows these testimonies of violence, guilt, justification, and helplessness speak for themselves and sensitively explores how the pension claims of returning soldiers were to compete with the claims of the Holocaust victims to compensation.
War Is Not a Game tells the story of this new soldiers’ antiwar movement, showing why it was born, how it quickly grew, where it has struggled, what it accomplished, and how it continues to resonate in the national conversation about our military and our wars. Nan Levinson reveals the individuals behind the movement, painting an unforgettable portrait of these working-class veterans who refused to be seen as simply tragic victims or battlefront heroes and instead banded together to become leaders of a national organization. The paperback is updated with a new foreword by the author.
From 1973 to 1990 in Chile, approximately 370,000 young men—mostly from impoverished backgrounds—were conscripted to serve as soldiers in Augusto Pinochet's violent regime. Some were brutal enforcers, but many themselves endured physical and psychological abuse, survival and torture training, arbitrary punishments, political persecution, and forced labor. Leith Passmore examines the emergence, in the early twenty-first century, of a movement of ex-conscripts seeking reparations. The former soldiers challenged the politics of memory that had shaped Chile's truth and reconciliation efforts, demanding recognition of their own broken families, ill health and incapacity to work, and damaged sense of self.
Relying on unpublished material, testimony, interviews, and field notes, Passmore locates these individuals' narratives of victimhood at the intersection of long-term histories of patriotism, masculinity, and cyclical poverty. These accounts reveal in detail how Pinochet's war against his own citizens—as well as the "almost-wars" with neighboring Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina—were also waged inside Chile's army barracks.
With US soldiers stationed around the world and engaged in multiple conflicts, Americans will be forced for the foreseeable future to come to terms with those permanently disabled in battle. At the moment, we accept rehabilitation as the proper social and cultural response to the wounded, swiftly returning injured combatants to their civilian lives. But this was not always the case, as Beth Linker reveals in her provocative new book, War’s Waste.
Linker explains how, before entering World War I, the United States sought a way to avoid the enormous cost of providing injured soldiers with pensions, which it had done since the Revolutionary War. Emboldened by their faith in the new social and medical sciences, reformers pushed rehabilitation as a means to “rebuild” disabled soldiers, relieving the nation of a monetary burden and easing the decision to enter the Great War. Linker’s narrative moves from the professional development of orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists to the curative workshops, or hospital spaces where disabled soldiers learned how to repair automobiles as well as their own artificial limbs. The story culminates in the postwar establishment of the Veterans Administration, one of the greatest legacies to come out of the First World War.
Between 2000 and 2011, younger veterans were more likely to be unemployed than younger non-veterans. This difference falls rapidly with age and time. The evidence supports the hypothesis that veteran unemployment reflects engagement in job search. There is little evidence that veterans are disadvantaged in the labor market. Limiting benefits to veterans might reduce the length of unemployment spells, but the budgetary effect is unclear.
The assumptions that military service helps candidates attract votes—while lacking it harms a candidate’s chances—has been an article of faith since the electoral coronation of George Washington in 1789. Perhaps the most compelling fact driving the perception that military service helps win votes is the large number of veterans who have held public office. Some candidates even exaggerate their military service to persuade voters. However, sufficient counter-examples undermine the idea that military veterans enjoy an advantage when seeking political office.
In Why Veterans Run, Jeremy Teigenexplains the tendency of parties to elevate those with armed forces experience to run for high office. He describes the veteran candidate phenomenon by examining the related factors and patterns, showing why different eras have more former generals running and why the number of veterans in election cycles varies. With both quantitative and qualitative analysis, Why Veterans Run investigates each postwar era in U.S. electoral history and elaborates why so many veterans run for office. Teigen also reveals how election outcomes with veteran candidates illuminate the relationship between the military and civilian spheres as well as the preferences of the American electorate.
A companion to the Wisconsin Public Television documentary of the same name, this compelling book features the stories of Wisconsin men and women who served in Korea. With unique insight they describe their experiences in camp, on the battlefield, and back home, as well as the war's lasting effects. The book is lavishly illustrated with photos, artifacts, maps, and timelines.
A companion book to the documentary produced by Wisconsin Public Television, Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories showcases 40 first-person stories from those who fought in America's longest war. From barely-legal sons of Wisconsin to seasoned soldiers, the men and women in these pages make up a diverse collection of voices: an army chaplain who led services at Khe Sanh but never picked up a weapon; identical twin brothers who discover they are stationed at the same South Vietnam base; a Hmong refugee who fought the Secret War at age 12 in the jungles of Laos and later moved to Milwaukee; two prisoners of war whose years in captivity total almost 14; a Medal of Honor recipient; and dozens more.
The stories in these pages expand beyond the borders of the war to include personal accounts of the events leading up to it, as well as the experiences of veterans as they return home to civilian life at the height of antiwar protest. Supported by original maps, photographs from the veterans' own collections, historical chapter introductions, biographies, and a comprehensive "honor roll" of Wisconsin-born soldiers who died or remain missing, Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories is an unforgettable collection and lasting tribute to our veterans.