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Disasters and Heroes

On War, Memory and Representation

Images of war and its commemoration are an everyday presence in contemporary culture, from the embedded reporter in the field to the Last Post at the Menin Gate.  Disasters and Heroes: On War, Memory and Representation revisits campaigns from the plains of Troy to recent events in the Balkans, examining how wars are represented and remembered.  Angus Calder shows how the ’facts’of war are transformed into myths that condition later responses to war, and how the construction of memory begins with wartime events themselves.
Beginning with a section devoted to war memorials and the public remembrance of war, such as D-Day commemorations, the essays collected in Disasters and Heroes then look at the lived experience of war for ’ordinary’ people, while the final section deals with literary representation of war, from The Iliad to T.E. Lawrence and on to Christa Wolf’s CassandraDisasters and Heroes is a thought-provoking collection dealing with issues of major significance which recent events have made painfully topical.

281 pages | 8 2/5 x 5 2/5 | © 2004

Political Science: Diplomacy, Foreign Policy, and International Relations

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“ . . . a thoughtful and learned collection with the essay on Crete being a real highlight. Calder’s lightness of touch and wryness of tone means everything in here is never less than well done.” –Chapman


“. . . highly readable . . . From Troy to Kossovo, we ’understand’ what happened first from factual accounts and then, with the passage of time, from the myths that are spun around them . . . I have greatly enjoyed this book and recommend it warmly . . .”

Table of Contents

    Meditation on Memorials
    D-Day 1994
    The Wars of Ian Hamilton Finlay
    Campaign Honours: The American Revolution
    Civil War Soldiers
    Britain’s Good War
    GIs: The American Occupation of Britain 1942-1945
    Mass-Observation’s War
    New Zealand Women at War
    The People’s Peace
    Terence Rattigan’s Deep Blue Sea
    The Hero from Homer to Now
    T.E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom
    Writing in the Sky: Battle of Britain Memoirs
    Mr Wu and the Colonials: the British Empire’s Evacuation from Crete, 1941
    Scottish Poets in the Desert
    Art and War
    The New Zimbabwe Writing and Chimurenga
    Verse and Bosnia
    Just a Nasty Kid
    Coda: Christa Wolf’s Cassandra and the Future of Epic

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