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Looking for the Good War

Looking for the Good War explores the ambivalence toward war, violence, and veterans expressed in response to World War II but later suppressed by a sentimental mythology about the nation’s role in the conflict. Samet explores journalism, literature, and popular culture including Ernie Pyle’s wartime columns, postwar pulp fiction and film noir, resurgent political rhetoric about military heroism after Vietnam. As the US assesses its most recent wars, Samet offers a timely reexamination of the way World War II myths continue to shape Americans’ sense of national destiny and illusions about American military force. The views Elizabeth Samet expresses here do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

Date & Time

Monday
Mar. 21, 2022
4:00pm – 5:30pm ET

Location

Zoom Webinar

Overview

Looking for the Good War (2020) explores the ambivalence toward war, violence, and veterans expressed in response to World War II but later suppressed by a sentimental mythology about the nation’s role in the conflict. Samet explores journalism, literature, and popular culture including Ernie Pyle’s wartime columns, postwar pulp fiction and film noir, resurgent political rhetoric about military heroism after Vietnam. As the US assesses its most recent wars, Samet offers a timely reexamination of the way World War II myths continue to shape Americans’ sense of national destiny and illusions about American military force. The views Elizabeth Samet expresses here do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

Elizabeth D. Samet is the author several books, including Soldier's Heart: Reading Literature Through Peace and War at West Point (2007), which won a Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She edited The Annotated Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant (2018) and World War II Memoirs: Pacific Theater (2021). Among her honors are a Guggenheim Fellowship and an NEH Public Scholar Grant. Samet received her PhD from Yale, and she is a professor of English at West Point.

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University and the National History Center) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is organized jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Woodrow Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks its anonymous individual donors and institutional partners (the George Washington University History Department and the Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest) for their continued support.

Speaker

Elizabeth D. Samet

Elizabeth D. Samet

United States Military Academy West Point

Hosted By

History and Public Policy Program

The History and Public Policy Program makes public the primary source record of 20th and 21st century international history from repositories around the world, facilitates scholarship based on those records, and uses these materials to provide context for classroom, public, and policy debates on global affairs.  Read more

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