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Pen and Sword

American War Correspondents, 1898-1975

Mary S. Mander

Publication Year: 2010

Addressing the ever-changing, overlapping trajectories of war and journalism, this introduction to the history and culture of modern American war correspondence considers a wealth of original archival material. In powerful analyses of letters, diaries, journals, television news archives, and secondary literature related to the United States' major military conflicts of the twentieth century, Mary S. Mander highlights the intricate relationship of the postmodern nation-state to the free press and to the public._x000B__x000B_Pen and Sword: American War Correspondents, 1898-1975 situates war correspondence within the larger framework of the history of the printing press to make perceptive new points about the nature of journalism and censorship, the institution of the press as a source of organized dissent, and the relationship between the press and the military. Fostering a deeper understanding of the occupational culture of war correspondents who have accompanied soldiers into battle, Pen and Sword prompts new ways of thinking about contemporary military conflicts and the future of journalism.

Published by: University of Illinois Press


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pp. vii

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pp. ix-x

Most of this book relies on unpublished manuscripts and military records. I want to thank the many librarians from Boston to California who helped out. Librarians are often the unsung heroes in our information age. I would also like...


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pp. xi-xii

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pp. 1-9

In the war in Iraq, many journalists are described as embedded. Being embedded means news reporters are attached to military units engaged in armed conflict. This is not a new development in the history of American war correspondence...

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1. The Historical Context for Understanding American War Correspondents

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pp. 10-23

In America, the institution of journalism shelters the nationstate. Even the most local story in a small-town newspaper or on its newscast is national, because the assumptions guiding its construction are grounded in our understanding of the nation-state. Every newspaper article...

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2. Early Encoding of State-Administered Censorship During Wartime, 1898-1916

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pp. 24-39

Nothing more clearly discloses all the thorny issues and problems surrounding the First Amendment than the history of government administrative bureaucracies overseeing what became public knowledge during wartime. The state began...

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3. Censorship During the World Wars

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pp. 40-64

The legal roots of state-administered censorship predate the world wars of the twentieth century. However it is in the world wars that administration of censorship becomes entrenched in bureaucracy. By World War II it is comprehensive...

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4. Censorship in Vietnam

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pp. 65-78

The Vietnam War is thought of as “the uncensored war.” However, this is misleading in many ways. It is a mistaken belief because censorship had long been the culture of war and its reporting. (This aspect of censorship—its culture...

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5. The Culture of Press Censorship During Wartime

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pp. 79-97

In chapters 2, 3, and 4, I indicated that over a period of many years censorship practices evolved along with the social practices of journalism. The turning point for the establishment of behavioral codes during wartime for censor and...

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6. Experience and Interpretation

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pp. 98-132

Modern war correspondence involves a set of judgments composed simultaneously of experience and interpretation. The report is only one part of a much larger design that governs being a journalist. The act of reporting war is a situated one with many elements involved: the kind of war being waged, the...

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7. The Occupational Culture of the American War Correspondent

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pp. 133-142

The kinds of experiences the journalist has had in reporting the wars this nation has fought were demarcated and examined in chapter 6. This chapter will present a brief sketch of his occupational culture, a kind of summary understanding...

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pp. 143-150

In America’s history, the First Amendment has played a key role brokering the relationship between the nation-state and the citizen. When the First Amendment is curtailed, the freedoms it guarantees begin to withdraw into the...

Further Reading

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pp. 151-152


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pp. 153-174


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pp. 175-184


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pp. 185-188

E-ISBN-13: 9780252090202
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252035562

Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2010

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • War -- Press coverage -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • War correspondents -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Freedom of the press -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Censorship -- United States.
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