Martial experiences and the mythologies that surround them have profoundly affected the ways in which Americans think of themselves. Wars identify the heroes who help define national character, provide the stories for the grand narratives of belonging and sacrifice, and serve as markers for essential moments of transformation.
However, only in the last several years have scholars begun using the term "cultural history of American warfare" to identify the study of how public discourse formulates these defining myths and narratives. This volume brings together scholarship from diverse fields in a common mission to demonstrate the usefulness and significance of studying the cultural history of American warfare.
The Martial Imagination: Cultural Aspects of American Warfare canvasses the American war experience from the Revolution to the War on Terror, examining how it infuses legitimacy and conformity with an urgency that contorts ideas of citizenship, nationhood, gender, and other pliable categories. The multidisciplinary scholarship in this volume represents the varied perspectives of cultural history, American studies, literary criticism, war and society, media studies, and public culture analysis, illustrating the rich dialogues that epitomize the cultural history of American warfare.
Bringing together both recognised and emerging scholars, this book is the first anthology to feature essays on this topic, comprising research from twelve authors who represent a wide range of experiences and disciplines. Their work uncovers new and surprising understandings of the American war experience that reveal the ways in which culture makers have grappled with the trauma of war, salvaged meaning from the meaningless, or advanced some ulterior agenda.
Jimmy L. Bryan Jr. , the volume editor, is an associate professor of history at Lamar University in Beaumont. Holding a PhD from Southern Methodist University, he is the author of More Zeal than Discretion: The Westward Adventures of Walter P. Lane.