Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-4

Contents

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pp. v-6

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

I owe a special thanks to David Mikics, who encouraged this project from its inception, read every chapter multiple times, and offered invaluable feedback. I am also grateful to Peter Potter for championing the idea for this book and providing kind and detailed guidance every step of the way....

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Introduction

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pp. 1-22

Near the end of Jarhead, his 2003 memoir of the Persian Gulf War, Marine infantryman Anthony Swofford writes about celebrating with his company when they learn that the war is suddenly over. “The music plays throughout the day, Hendrix, the Stones, the Who, music from a different...

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1. Lines of Sight: Watching War in Jarhead and My War: Killing Time in Iraq

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pp. 23-48

War is the world’s second-oldest form of entertainment. From Achilles and Cúchulainn to Krishna and the Volsungs of Icelandic saga, our most enduring stories are about war and war heroes, and the post-Neolithic art found on every continent except Antarctica suggests our fascination with...

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2. Making a Military Man: Iraq, Gender, and the Failure of the Masculine Collective

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pp. 49-100

What makes a man? It’s an old question, but the critic Susan Jeffords frames it in a new way. What, she asks, does a man make? Jeffords has argued that during and after the Vietnam War, the power of the masculine collective, a community forged in war and represented extensively...

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3. Consuming the Other: Blinding Absence in The Last True Story I’ll Ever Tell and Here, Bullet

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pp. 101-135

In the early nineteenth century, the military theorist Karl von Clausewitz famously called war the continuation of politics by other means. Other means, indeed. Whether one thinks of war as an extension of politics, business, natural human aggression, or any other motivating factor, war...

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4. One of U.S.: Combat Trauma on Film in Alive Day Memories and In the Valley of Elah

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pp. 136-162

The experience of war doesn’t always end after the soldier returns home. The life of a veteran is different both from the life of a soldier and from that of a civilian, although the social and political acknowledgement of that difference is by no means a given. The years during and after...

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Conclusion

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pp. 163-174

Many fi ms about the Vietnam War end in the same striking way—one character asks another to kill him or her. The request may be implicit or explicit, and the deaths occur differently, but in each case the killing provides a climax for the plot and a dramatic representation of the ambiguous...

Notes

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pp. 175-178

Bibliography

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pp. 179-188

Index

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pp. 189-192