In the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, recent technological developments in music listening enabled troops to carry with them vast amounts of music and easily acquire new music, for themselves and to share with their fellow troops as well as friends and loved ones far away. This ethnographic study examines U.S. troops' musical-listening habits during and after war, and the accompanying fear, domination, violence, isolation, pain, and loss that troops experienced. My Music, My War is a moving ethnographic account of what war was like for those most intimately involved. It shows how individuals survive in the messy webs of conflicting thoughts and emotions that are intricately part of the moment-to-moment and day-to-day phenomenon of war, and the pervasive memories in its aftermath. It gives fresh insight into musical listening as it relates to social dynamics, gender, community formation, memory, trauma, and politics.
LISA GILMAN is an associate professor in the Department of English and Folklore Program at the University of Oregon. She is the author of The Dance of Politics: Performance, Gender, and Democratization in Malawi and director of the film Grounds for Resistance: Stories of War, Sacrifice, and Good Coffee.