Holy War: Cowboys, Indians, and 9/11s

Mark Cronlund Anderson. Univ, of Regina, $27.95 trade paper (340p) ISBN 978-0-88977-414-8
This provocative psychohistorical reflection on post-9/11 America posits that U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are merely the latest in a lengthy history of military engagements with which the perpetually traumatized nation regenerates itself through acts of violence that replicate frontier tropes. By exploring landmark moments in the U.S war against Mexico, the Marines' occupation of Nicaragua, the invasion of Vietnam, and the Reagan presidency, the book shows the European civilizer/savage narrative repeatedly recreated with different names and faces. Anderson, whose 2007 Cowboy Imperialism and Hollywood Film mines similar territory, meticulously illustrates how the interplay of mass media, government manipulation, and a complacent community of mainstream historians perpetuates the frontier myth of America as innocent victim, slow to anger, and reluctantly compelled to battle to defend its divine mission. Delivered with a confident, authoritative voice, the text can drift from heavily academic to downright colloquial, an unfortunate tonal inconsistency that may undermine some of its excellent arguments. But Anderson's persuasive contentions that the U.S. is always in need of an enemy (like some say God requires Satan) and trauma demands repetition is well supported by documentation explaining why peace is an exceptional state for the world's most powerful country. (June)
Reviewed on: 07/04/2016
Release date: 04/01/2016
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