This post originally appeared on the Religion in American History group blog.
In “America’s Memory of the Vietnam War in the Epoch of the Forever War,” a recent essay for the Los Angeles Review of Books, H. Bruce Franklin reflects on the American national memory of war. Franklin observes that many (if not all) of his students have lived their entire lives while America has been at war. “How many people alive today have ever lived part of their conscious lives in a United States of America at peace with the rest of the world?” Franklin continues, “How many Americans are even capable of imagining such a state?”
This is one of the tensions explored by Mary Dudziak in War Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences (Oxford, 2012). Dudziak is primarily interested in how Americans have understood “wartime” as well as the idea’s legal implications, and in this the book is similar to other recent studies that give greater attention to temporality. “Wartime is not merely a regulation of the clock,” Dudziak writes, “it is the calibration of an era. Continue reading