Book cover of Looking for the Good War: American Amnesia and the Violent Pursuit of Happiness by Elizabeth Samet
Entertainment

Looking for the Good War: American Amnesia and the Violent Pursuit of Happiness

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. […Learn More]

Book cover of Small Boats and Daring Men: Maritime Raiding, Irregular Warfare, and the Early American Navy by Benjamin Armstrong
History

Small Boats and Daring Men: Maritime Raiding, Irregular Warfare, and the Early American Navy

Two centuries before the daring exploits of Navy SEALs and Marine Raiders captured the public imagination, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps were already engaged in similarly perilous missions: raiding pirate camps, attacking enemy ships in the dark of night, and striking enemy facilities and resources on shore. Even John Paul Jones, father of the American navy, saw such irregular operations as critical to naval warfare. […Learn More]

Engineering & Transportation

Progressives in Navy Blue: Maritime Strategy, American Empire, and the Transformation of U.S. Naval Identity, 1873 * 1898

This study examines how intellectual and institutional developments transformed the U.S. Navy from 1873 to 1898. The period was a dynamic quarter-century in which Americans witnessed their Navy evolve. Cultures of progress–clusters of ideas, beliefs, values, and practices pertaining to modern warfare and technology–guided the Navy’s transformation. […Learn More]

International & World Politics

The Dissent Channel: American Diplomacy in a Dishonest Age

A young diplomat’s account of her assignment in South Sudan, a firsthand example of US foreign policy that has failed in its diplomacy and accountability around the world.

In 2017, Elizabeth Shackelford wrote a pointed resignation letter to her then boss, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. She had watched as the State Department was gutted, and now she urged him to stem the bleeding by showing leadership and commitment to his diplomats and the country. If he couldn’t do that, she said, “I humbly recommend that you follow me out the door.” […Learn More]

History

Information Hunters: When Librarians, Soldiers, and Spies Banded Together in World War II Europe

While armies have seized enemy records and rare texts as booty throughout history, it was only during World War II that an unlikely band of librarians, archivists, and scholars traveled abroad to collect books and documents to aid the military cause. Galvanized by the events of war into
acquiring and preserving the written word, as well as providing critical information for intelligence purposes, these American civilians set off on missions to gather foreign publications and information across Europe. They journeyed to neutral cities in search of enemy texts, followed a step behind
advancing armies to capture records, and seized Nazi works from bookstores and schools. […Learn More]

History

The Rise of the Military Welfare State

Since the end of the draft, the U.S. Army has prided itself on its patriotic volunteers who heed the call to “Be All That You Can Be.” But beneath the recruitment slogans, the army promised volunteers something more tangible: a social safety net including medical and dental care, education, child care, financial counseling, housing assistance, legal services, and other privileges that had long been reserved for career soldiers. The Rise of the Military Welfare State examines how the U.S. Army’s extension of benefits to enlisted men and women created a military welfare system of unprecedented size and scope. […Learn More]