American Wars, American Peace: Notes from a Son of the Empire

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University of Georgia Press, Jan 25, 2010 - Political Science - 184 pages
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As a writer, Philip D. Beidler has often drawn on his combat experience in Vietnam and his deep engagement with American popular culture. His essays tap these sources in powerful, truth-telling ways. In American Wars, American Peace, another voice emerges, distinct yet also tied to Beidler’s wartime memories and his love of literature, film, and music. It is the voice of one of the “baby-boom progeny of the ‘Greatest Generation’ who at home and abroad became the foot soldiers” not just in Vietnam but in the Peace Corps, the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, and beyond.

Beidler has experienced enough of history to question “the kinds of peace that one empire after another has tried to impose on the world at whatever immense costs.” As he reflects on terrorism, patriotism, geopolitics, sacrifice, propaganda, and more, Beidler revisits his generation’s “inherited vision of national purpose”--and he asks what happened. These essays are a sobering wake-up call for even the most informed and conscientious citizen.

 

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Contents

Pax Americana
1
Top Gun and the Tank Driver
10
Sons and Fathers Bad Wars and Good Wars
23
An Old GI Looks at Generation Kill
33
Squad Leaders in the Sky
56
Home of the Infantry
78
Hajis
97
What I Learned in the Green Machine
120
Swindled by Saint Jack
128
The Best and the Brightest Only Dumber
145
Hopeless in Honolulu
157
A Note on Sources
167
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Philip D. Beidler is a professor of English at the University of Alabama. He has written or edited more than ten books. Beidler served as an armored cavalry platoon leader in Vietnam.