American War Stories
216 pages, 6 x 9
1 b&w illus.
Paperback
Release Date:17 Dec 2021
ISBN:9781625346315
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Release Date:17 Dec 2021
ISBN:9781625346308
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American War Stories

Veteran-Writers and the Politics of Memoir

SERIES: Veterans
University of Massachusetts Press
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.
If we are to fully understand the effects of life writing on the public perception of war, we need to listen to diverse voices. Mendible focuses much needed attention on memoirs written by veterans of recent conflicts, which have yet to attract as much scholarly consideration as older texts have.'—Megan Brown, author of American Autobiography after 9/11
'Mendible's focus is on minority, disenfranchised, and disgruntled veterans who have used memoir to air grievances and resist mainstream or oversimplistic understandings of what it means to have served in the military and live as a veteran. A significant contribution to the burgeoning fields of veterans studies and war and military scholarship.’—Peter Molin, creator of Time Now: The Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in Art, Film, and Literature
MYRA MENDIBLE is professor of English at Florida Gulf Coast University. She is author of American Shame: Stigma and the Body Politic.
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