No man's land Preparing for war and peace in post-9/11 America

Elizabeth D. Samet

Book - 2014

"An exploration of one of the crucial problems of our time--how soldiers return home from war--by a professor of literature at West Point"--

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Subjects
Published
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2014.
Edition
1st edition
Language
English
Physical Description
xii, 223 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780374222772
0374222770
Main Author
Elizabeth D. Samet (-)
  • Prologue: Earth's melancholy map
  • Between Scylla and Charybdis: Coming home
  • "The one thing needful": Paradoxes of preparation
  • "On the verge of the true forest": Trusting the imaginary forces
  • Coda: The accident of elegies.
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Using her knowledge of the American military tradition, Samet (Soldier's Heart), a professor of English at West Point, examines the significance of the nation's ambivalent response to its soldiers returning home from the battlefronts in Iraq and Afghanistan. She notes that after the triumph of the Greatest Generation in WWII, America has been less kind to those who serve in combat, naming "the forgotten war" in Korea and "the lost war" in Vietnam. Impressed by a visit with valiant wounded veterans at Walter Reed hospital and her interaction with former students, Samet comprehends how war and violence can transform a soldier trying to grapple with the future, noting one Marine's comments: "I had to deal with the fact that everything wasn't the same, that it never would be, and that that's okay." Occasionally straying off-message in a narrative that includes classical myths and pop references, Samet still ably details the concept of a "no man's land," the gray zone between war and peace, and the soldiers' bittersweet homecoming to a war-weary America. Vivid, insightful, and timely, Samet sums up what this country must do for its returning troops. Agent: David Kuhn, Kuhn Projects. (Nov.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"An exploration of one of the crucial problems of our time--how soldiers return home from war--by a professor of literature at West Point"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A West Point professor and award-winning author of Soldier's Heart explores what it means for soldiers and the greater country to be caught between war and peace in the post-9/11 world.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A West Point professor explores what it means for soldiers and the greater country to be caught between war and peace in the post-9/11 world.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

As the post-9/11 wars wind down, a literature professor at West Point explores what it means for soldiers, and our country, to be caught between war and peaceElizabeth D. Samet, a professor of English at West Point and the author of the critically acclaimed Soldier's Heart, came to question her settled understanding of post-9/11 America as a clear arc from peace to war. Over time, as she reckoned with her experiences-from a visit to a ward of wounded combat veterans to her correspondence with former cadets-Samet was led to profoundly rethink the last decade, an ambiguous passage that has left deep but difficult-to-read traces on our national psyche, our culture, our politics, and, most especially, an entire generation of military professionals. How will a nation that has refused to grapple honestly with these wars imagine its postwar responsibilities? Samet calls the moment in which we live, lying as it does somewhere between war and peace, a "no man's land." She takes the reader on a vivid tour of that landscape, populated as much by the scars of war as by the everyday realities of life on the home front. Grounded in Samet's experience as a teacher of future army officers, No Man's Land is a moving, urgent examination of what it means to negotiate the tensions between soldier and civilian, between "over here" and "over there."The views expressed in this book are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Military Academy, the Department of the Army, or the Department of Defense.