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Worshipping the Myths of World War II: Reflections on America's Dedication to War Hardcover – November 15, 2006
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From the Publisher
Bestselling author Paul Fussell on Wood's first book, On Being Wounded: "An intelligent memoir, about one person to be sure, but also a moral and psychological history of the past half century in America. Sensitive and intense, this book resonates with intelligent disillusion. I hope it has many readers."
Bestselling Zinn on the author's second book, Beyond the Weapons of Our Fathers: "A poignant search for a world beyond violence, a quest for tenderness and compassion in one's own life. It is widely read, it could have a profound effect on how people behave in this new millennium."
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Top Customer Reviews
In a day when armchair warriors reign supreme, from TV to the White House, Mr Wood gives us the true warrior's view. This is an excellent book.
He makes some very good arguments, but I'm not so sure that I agree with him.
Myth #1: The Good War -- His argument is that this was not a 'Good War.' That this was a war about killing. Yes, he is right. On the other hand, would he have allowed the Holocaust to continue, to be a matter of policy for all of Europe under Nazi domination, should we have done nothing about Japan's Unit 731 which researched biological weapons by releasing them on Chinese towns? And if not by war, how would we have stopped them?
Myth #2: The Greatest Generation -- He is right again, each generation that fought a successful victorious war has been called something similar. This began with the Revolutionary War and continues.
Myth #3 -- We Won World War II Largely on Our Own. He is correct again. World War II was indeed a world war. Decisions were made early in the war that the US would be the 'Arsenal of Democracy.' We produced a significant percentage of the airplanes, tanks, ships, trucks, etc. used by the Allies. Our combat losses were small when compared with other countries.
Myth #4: When Evil Lies in Others, War is the Means to Justice. I haven't made the transition he has in thinking that the Holocaust, Unit 751 and the other evils could have been stopped in any other way. Should we do nothing in Darfur, Bosnia, and all the other places? I don't have the answer.
Wood begins his book by acknowledging that he was haunted by an irresolvable conflict: "I knew on the one hand that the war had to be fought so as to preserve the nation and the democracy I so loved... On the other hand, to the flesh and heart of me, I knew the horror of that war: the stark terror of combat; the wounds that changed my life forever; childhood friends killed or badly maimed; battle fatigue; the murderous destruction of English, German, and Japanese cities from the air; the shock of atomic weaponry; and the death of millions of innocent civilians, mostly women and children, in the Holocaust and the war's other atrocities."
Wood writes that he was saddened, and then suddenly angry, as he watched the harsh reality of the war become softened, sweetened, by a set of myths. One of those myths was that WWII constituted a "good war" -- as if any war could be considered good regardless of whether it could be justified or defended as a way to deal with some terrible reality. And another myth was that great evil in the world invariably lies outside of us and our country, and war is the only means available to deal justly with that evil.
Only when I read Wood's book did I understand how war had been framed for me, for my culture and my country, for all of my life.Read more ›
Our whole economy is so dependent upon military spending, our (false) fear of foreign enemies is so prevasive, and general militarism is now so deeply ingrained in our culture that many of us dispair of ever living to see change. My dispair was lightened by Edward W. Wood's comparison of the struggle against militarism in America with the centuries-long struggle against slavery in this country. The very fact that Wood, a wounded combat veteran of WWII, has developed such views over the years itself brings hope
Most Recent Customer Reviews
O.K. -- yes, the author is inciteful and yes he makes his point -- over and over and over and over.
This book could easily be edited down to a 4 section essay. Read more
This book should be required reading for every student in high school. It challenges the paradigm of thinking underlying not just WWII, but the entire concept of war and... Read morePublished on April 26, 2008 by Amazon Customer