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Death and the Statesman: The Culture and Psychology of U.S. Leaders During War Hardcover – September 15, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0312239282 ISBN-10: 0312239289 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

According to Underhill-Cady (political science, Augsburg Coll.), presidents, State Department officials, and other leaders who send young men to war and possible death cope with the consequences by creating "immortality projects," which are devices that symbolically overcome death. Examples of such projects include identifying war as a means of strengthening the national character, dehumanizing enemies until they are viewed as wild animals or diseases to be eradicated, and attempts by the leaders themselves to establish historical reputations that transcend battlefield deaths. Although this book was written before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Underhill-Cady explains the important role of the state in protecting its citizens and, through examples of speeches made by presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and George Bush p re, shows that words and symbols must be used cautiously so that the decision to go to war is made rationally and unemotionally. This normative investigation is grounded in psychology and cultural anthropology rather than empirical political science. Recommended primarily for academic collections and foreign policy specialists; a more accessible account about the meaning of death generally is Studs Terkel's Will the Circle Be Unbroken? (LJ 9/1/01). Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.


“Underhill-Cady calls for a new "realism" to replace the technological hubris that has dominated American political and military thinking during the past century. His voice needs to be heard, and his book should be read by anyone concerned with war and peace, life and death, in the new millennium.” —Charles P. Webel, University of California, Berkeley and Saybrook Graduate School

“Underhill-Cady shows that strategic decisions arise less from concerns about national costs and benefits than from personal concerns about the decision-makers own bodies. They transfer their own cravings for immortality into the icy-cold, steel-girded, rock hard, healthy minded "male" American body politic. American foreign policy, with its "evil empires," "crusades," and "crucifixions" on the "alter of the nation," becomes a bowdlerized Pilgrim's Progress. Read and be alarmed.” —James Aho, Idaho State University

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 1st edition (September 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312239289
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312239282
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,614,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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