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Four decades after its end, the American war in Vietnam still haunts the nation’s collective memory. Its lessons, real and imagined, continue to shape government policies and military strategies, while the divisions it spawned infect domestic politics and fuel the so-called culture wars. In Forever Vietnam, David Kieran shows how the contested memory of the Vietnam War has affected the commemoration of other events, and how those acts of remembrance have influenced postwar debates over the conduct and consequences of American foreign policy. Kieran focuses his analysis on the recent remembrance of six events, three of which occurred before the Vietnam War and three after it ended. The first group includes the siege of the Alamo in 1836, the incarceration of Union troops at Andersonville during the Civil War, and the experience of American combat troops during World War II. The second comprises the 1993 U.S. intervention in Somalia, the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. In each case a range of actors—military veterans, policymakers, memorial planners, and the general public—used memorial practices associated with the Vietnam War to reinterpret the contemporary significance of past events. A PBS program about Andersonville sought to cultivate a sense of national responsibility for the My Lai massacre. A group of Vietnam veterans occupied the Alamo in 1985, seeing themselves as patriotic heirs to another lost cause. A World War II veteran published a memoir in 1980 that reads like a narrative of combat in Vietnam. Through these and other examples, Forever Vietnam reveals not only the persistence of the past in public memory but also its malleability in the service of the political present.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Series Page, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-xii
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  1. Introduction: “I Know What it’s Like”
  2. pp. 1-13
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  1. 1. “How Far is Andersonville from Vietnam?”: Vietnam Revisionism and Andersonville National Historic Site
  2. pp. 14-51
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  1. 2. “We Veterans of Mass Murder and Stupidity”: Older Veterans’ PTSD and the Narration of Combat in Post-Vietnam Memoirs of the Second World War
  2. pp. 52-88
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  1. 3. “We See a Lot of Parallels between the Men at the Alamo and Ourselves”: Recovering from Vietnam at the Alamo
  2. pp. 89-126
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  1. 4. “We Should Have Said No”: The Legacy of Vietnam, Remembrance of Somalia, and Debates over Humanitarian Intervention in the 1990s
  2. pp. 127-160
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  1. 5. “It’s Almost like the Vietnam Wall”: The Legacy of Vietnam and Remembrance of Flight
  2. pp. 161-202
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  1. 6. “The Lessons of History”: Vietnam’s Legacy during the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
  2. pp. 203-234
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  1. Afterword: “The Task of Telling Your Story Continues”
  2. pp. 235-240
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  1. Abbreviations Used in the Notes
  2. pp. 241-242
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 243-296
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 297-305
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  1. About the Author
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  1. Back Cover
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781613762974
Related ISBN
9781625340993
MARC Record
OCLC
933516756
Pages
304
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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