The "Good War" in American Memory

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JHU Press, Dec 1, 2010 - History - 320 pages
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The "Good War" in American Memory dispels the long-held myth that Americans forged an agreement on why they had to fight in World War II. John Bodnar's sociocultural examination of the vast public debate that took place in the United States over the war's meaning reveals that the idea of the "good war" was highly contested.

Bodnar's comprehensive study of the disagreements that marked the American remembrance of World War II in the six decades following its end draws on an array of sources: fiction and nonfiction, movies, theater, and public monuments. He identifies alternative strands of memory—tragic and brutal versus heroic and virtuous—and reconstructs controversies involving veterans, minorities, and memorials. In building this narrative, Bodnar shows how the idealism of President Franklin Roosevelt's Four Freedoms was lost in the public commemoration of World War II, how the war's memory became intertwined in the larger discussion over American national identity, and how it only came to be known as the "good war" many years after its conclusion.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 Wartime
10
2 Soldiers Write the War
34
3 No Place for Weaklings
60
Illustrations
84
4 Monuments and Mourning
85
5 The Split Screen
130
6 The Outsiders
166
7 The Victors
200
Conclusion
235
Postscript on Iraq
243
Notes
249
Selected Bibliography
283
Index
287
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

John Bodnar is the Chancellor's Professor of History and the director of the Institute for Advanced Study at Indiana University. He has authored or edited nine other books, including Blue-Collar Hollywood: Liberalism, Democracy, and Working People in American Film, also published by Johns Hopkins.

-- D. Colt Denfeld

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