The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam

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NYU Press, May 1, 2000 - History - 217 pages
24 Reviews

One of the most resilient images of the Vietnam era is that of the anti-war protester often a woman spitting on the uniformed veteran just off the plane. The lingering potency of this icon was evident during the Gulf War, when war supporters invoked it to discredit their opposition.

In this startling book, Jerry Lembcke demonstrates that not a single incident of this sort has been convincingly documented. Rather, the anti-war Left saw in veterans a natural ally, and the relationship between anti-war forces and most veterans was defined by mutual support. Indeed one soldier wrote angrily to Vice President Spiro Agnew that the only Americans who seemed concerned about the soldier's welfare were the anti-war activists.

While the veterans were sometimes made to feel uncomfortable about their service, this sense of unease was, Lembcke argues, more often rooted in the political practices of the Right. Tracing a range of conflicts in the twentieth century, the book illustrates how regimes engaged in unpopular conflicts often vilify their domestic opponents for "stabbing the boys in the back."

Concluding with an account of the powerful role played by Hollywood in cementing the myth of the betrayed veteran through such films as Coming Home, Taxi Driver, and Rambo, Jerry Lembcke's book stands as one of the most important, original, and controversial works of cultural history in recent years.

  

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Review: The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam

User Review  - Mike Snyder - Goodreads

Great corrective to the successful conscious effort of the ruling elites through PR and film to change how Americans remember the Vietnam War. It's remarkable how successfully the facts of a massive ... Read full review

Review: The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam

User Review  - Goodreads

Great corrective to the successful conscious effort of the ruling elites through PR and film to change how Americans remember the Vietnam War. It's remarkable how successfully the facts of a massive ... Read full review

Contents

Making
11
About Soldiers Veterans and
27
Good Veterans
49
The Evidence or Lack Thereof
71
ComingHome Stories
84
The Mental Labeling
101
The Dwight Johnson Story
107
Warrior Dreams
115
Women Wetness and Warrior Dreams
127
Coming Home
144
IO We Are What We Remember
183
Notes
189
References
199
Filmography
208
About the Author
217
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

Jerry Lembcke is Associate Professor of Sociology at Holy Cross College. In 1969 he was a Chaplain's Assistant assigned to the 41st Artillery Group in Vietnam.

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