No Man’s Land: Preparing for War and Peace in Post-9/11 America

Elizabeth D. Samet. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $25 (240p) ISBN 978-0-3742-2277-2
Using her knowledge of the American military tradition, Samet (Soldier’s Heart), a professor of English at West Point, examines the significance of the nation’s ambivalent response to its soldiers returning home from the battlefronts in Iraq and Afghanistan. She notes that after the triumph of the Greatest Generation in WWII, America has been less kind to those who serve in combat, naming “the forgotten war” in Korea and “the lost war” in Vietnam. Impressed by a visit with valiant wounded veterans at Walter Reed hospital and her interaction with former students, Samet comprehends how war and violence can transform a soldier trying to grapple with the future, noting one Marine’s comments: “I had to deal with the fact that everything wasn’t the same, that it never would be, and that that’s okay.” Occasionally straying off-message in a narrative that includes classical myths and pop references, Samet still ably details the concept of a “no man’s land,” the gray zone between war and peace, and the soldiers’ bittersweet homecoming to a war-weary America. Vivid, insightful, and timely, Samet sums up what this country must do for its returning troops. Agent: David Kuhn, Kuhn Projects. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/22/2014
Release date: 11/04/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-0-374-70901-3
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-250-07493-5
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