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Not Even Past
How the United States Ends Wars
Edited by David Fitzgerald, David Ryan, and John M. Thompson
286 pages, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78920-215-1 $149.00/£110.00 / Hb / Published (March 2020)
ISBN 978-1-78920-225-0 $29.95/£23.95 / Pb / Published (March 2020)
eISBN 978-1-78920-216-8 eBook
“[This is] an important study to begin to think about the strategic failures of the United States and a gateway for authors to make recommendations. There is no easy fix, and perhaps there is no answer... Instead of ending conflicts, the United States transitions into another phase or pretends otherwise.” • Journal of Military History
“We have endless books on the origins of America’s wars, but far fewer that examine the crucial question of how the conflicts are terminated. Not Even Past is therefore hugely welcome. Featuring lucid and penetrating essays by a stellar roster of scholars, the volume provides deep insights into one of the grand puzzles of the age: why the U.S. has so often failed to exit wars on its terms.” • Fredrik Logevall, Laurence D. Belfer Professor of International Affairs, Harvard University
“The accessible essays in this volume comprise a timely contribution to the current scholarship. The continued presence of the United States in Afghanistan makes it all the more salient.” • Sarah Kreps, Cornell University
“Not Even Past is that rare edited collection where each successive essay holds to the standard of the rest, bringing with it insights and delights in every chapter. This book provides a very important and historically informed perspective.” • Jeffrey A. Engel, Southern Methodist University
Offers essential perspectives on the Cold War and post-9/11 eras and explores the troubling implications of the American tendency to fight wars without end.
“Featuring lucid and penetrating essays by a stellar roster of scholars, the volume provides deep insights into one of the grand puzzles of the age: why the U.S. has so often failed to exit wars on its terms.”— Fredrik Logevall, Laurence D. Belfer Professor of International Affairs, Harvard University
Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan: Taken together, these conflicts are the key to understanding more than a half century of American military history. In addition, they have shaped, in profound ways, the culture and politics of the United States—as well as the nations in which they have been fought. This volume brings together international experts on American history and foreign affairs to assess the cumulative impact of the United States’ often halting and conflicted attempts to end wars.
From the introduction:
The refusal to engage in historical thinking, that form of reflection deeply immersed in the US experience of war and intervention, means that this cultural amnesia is related to a strategic incoherence and, in these wars, the United States has failed in its strategic objectives because it did not define, precisely, what they were. If Vietnam was the tragedy, Iraq and Afghanistan were repeated failures. The objectives and the national interests were elusive beyond issues of credibility, identity, and revenge; the end point was undefined because it was not clear what the point was. What did the United States want from these wars? What did it want to leave behind?
David Fitzgerald is a Lecturer in the School of History, University College Cork, Ireland. His books include Learning to Forget: US Army Counterinsurgency Doctrine from Vietnam to Iraq (Stanford, 2013) and Obama, US Foreign Policy and the Dilemmas of Intervention (with David Ryan, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).
David Ryan is Professor of Modern History at University College Cork, Ireland. He is the author of many books, including U.S. Foreign Policy and the Other, edited with Michael Cullinane (Berghahn, 2015), and Frustrated Empire: US Foreign Policy from 9/11 to Iraq (Pluto and University of Michigan, 2007).
John M. Thompson is Senior Strategic Analyst at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. His books include Progressivism in America: Past, Present and Future (with David Woolner, Oxford University Press, 2016) and the "Discovery" of Europe (with Hans Krabbendam, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).
Subject: Peace and Conflict StudiesHistory: 20th Century to PresentHistory (General)
Area: North America
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