• Looking for the Good War

  • American Amnesia and the Violent Pursuit of Happiness
  • By: Elizabeth D. Samet
  • Narrated by: Suzanne Toren
  • Length: 14 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (34 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

In Looking for the Good War, Elizabeth D. Samet reexamines the literature, art, and culture that emerged after World War II, bringing her expertise as a professor of English at West Point to bear on the complexity of the postwar period in national life. She exposes the confusion about American identity that was expressed during and immediately after the war, and the deep national ambivalence toward war, violence, and veterans - all of which were suppressed in subsequent decades by a dangerously sentimental attitude toward the United States' "exceptional" history and destiny.

Samet finds the war's ambivalent legacy in some of its most heavily mythologized figures: the war correspondent epitomized by Ernie Pyle, the character of the erstwhile GI turned either cop or criminal in the pulp fiction and feature films of the late 1940s, the disaffected Civil War veteran who looms so large on the screen in the Cold War Western, and the resurgent military hero of the post-Vietnam period. Taken together, these figures reveal key elements of postwar attitudes toward violence, liberty, and nation - attitudes that have shaped domestic and foreign policy and that respond in various ways to various assumptions about national identity and purpose established or affirmed by World War II.

©2021 Elizabeth D. Samet (P)2021 Tantor

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Essential reading for military officers and political decision makers.

This is an excellent and well researched piece of historical importance. It contains insights seldom heard or seen in other publications, and yet essential to decision making in the future. I would hope that this book would be required reading at all US service academies and for senior diplomats and political leaders.
Richard J. Burke
Madison, Connecticut and Marco Island, Florida

2 people found this helpful

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Every Hawkish Person Should Listen to This Book

This is a wonderful listen if you want to understand how we sell the myth of warfare and hide the true gruesomeness of war from the eyes of "a grateful nation". When I listened to this I also found an article that Dr. Samet wrote in American Scholar Magazine, her thoughts about the current conflicts and this book make me proud to think that our military cadets are being exposed to scholars who make them think about the consequences of war, and how the post war narrative may not always prepare future generations for the wars to come. This book is a must listen for all serious students of the impact of warfare on the American culture, and a must for the war hawks out there.

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mistitlef

This book is much more about the reflection of the mythology of American history including war in the cultural dynamic of today in books, movies, Presidential speeches, TV shows and the like than it is about the the mythology itself and how it came to be and the influence it now has on American politics and attitudes. Too bad. We are drowning in these myths making reasonable discussion and disagreement very difficult.

1 person found this helpful