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Virtuous War: Mapping The Military- Industrial-media-entertainment Network Hardcover – June 7, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Just months after David Mamet's film Wag the Dog represented spin doctors manufacturing a virtual war to distract Americans from a potential presidential sex scandal, former President Clinton's foreign policy came to be viewed through that lens. This eye-opening, entertaining and sobering study of the increasing "virtualization" of American politics and of war in particular via media manipulation makes an important contribution to political, media and social studies. Picking up cultural theorist Walter Benjamin's 1939 concern about the social impact of a "new and incestuous relationship between mass politics and the mass means of reproduction," Derian explores a wide range of theories and their applications. Dashing from French postmodern theorists such as Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, Jean Baudrillard and Michel Foucault and film theorists such as Siegfried Kracauer to such mainstream movies as Diehard, Red Dawn and Full Metal Jacket, Derian offers a sustained, complex investigation of how the "virtual" elements of our culture are quickly having an impact on our actual national policy and imagination. After discussing how famed "mud soldier" General Schwarzkopf was the first "cyberpunk general," using computer war games to plan U.S. troop motions (and how Iran's invasion of Kuwait had already been mapped out on a computer simulation purchased from a Washington, D.C., firm), he moves on to how the 1987 Wall Street crash was a result of "program trading," in which buying and selling was triggered automatically by software programs. No Luddite or isolationist, Derian simply encourages public awareness of how our perceptions of the world can be manipulated and altered, and of how such manipulation smoothes the way for catastrophes like Hiroshima and the Holocaust. (June)Forecast: This fascinating and important material will make a splash in academic circles, but Derian's theoretical approach and dense writing will put it beyond the reach of a general readership.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 249 pages
  • Publisher: Westview Press (June 7, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813397944
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813397948
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,098,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "mark_lacy73" on November 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Few people have been able to translate the ideas of Virilio, Deleuze and Baudrillard into the realm of International Relations with much success. Pomo IR has often come across as self-indulgent and willfully obscure - a clique that writes for the converted...
But Der Derian - who has flirted with rather 'esoteric' writing styles in the past - has produced a book that steps outside the pomo area and gets out the safe confines of the campus for a trip around the sites where virtual warfare is being established.
The book is a pleasure to read (!) and comes across like Anthony Bourdain (author of Kitchen Confidential) writing about Virilio and virtuality - it is personal, sometimes darkly humourous, fascinating and warm...unusual in the cold, neutral world of IR theory (critical or 'mainstream').
The book is the clearest statement of Der Derian's project and clarified what I had always suspected - that he is concerned with developing a 'sociology of morality' (a global sociology that looks at the social production of indifference). In this sense, it is a useful continuation of the project that Zygmunt Bauman initiated in Modernity and the Holocaust and deserves to be read by people outside the IR camp...
Of course, many will argue that he fails to tackle the dynamics of virtual or postmodern capitalism (and Marx and the Marxist tradition is not really considered in his final musings on theory). But the book develops a powerful approach to the dangers of virtual death that can be appreciated by people coming from different angles...
This book is a great read...and it is great to see a critical intellectual in IR writing for a wider audience. I still would like more on what it mean would to accept Virilio's critique of dromocratic society: how would Der Derian and Virilio imagine alternative to virtual life and death....
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