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In Looking for the Good War, Elizabeth D. Samet reexamines the literature, art, and culture that emerged after World War II, bringing her expertise as a professor of English at West Point to bear on the complexity of the postwar period in national life. She exposes the confusion about American identity that was expressed during and immediately after the war, and the deep national ambivalence toward war, violence, and veterans—all of which were suppressed in subsequent decades by a dangerously sentimental attitude toward the United States’ “exceptional” history and destiny.
Elizabeth D. Samet is the author of No Man's Land: Preparing for War and Peace in Post-9/11 America; Soldier's Heart: Reading Literature Through Peace and War at West Point, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest and was named one of the 100 Notable Books of 2007 by The New York Times; and Willing Obedience: Citizens, Soldiers, and the Progress of Consent in America, 1776–1898. Samet is the editor of Leadership: Essential Writings by Our Greatest Thinkers, The Annotated Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, and World War II Memoirs: Pacific Theater. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Grant and the Hiett Prize in the Humanities, she was also awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to support the research and writing of Looking for the Good War. She is a professor of English at West Point.
Samet will be joined in conversation with, Samuel Moyn, the Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School and a professor of history at Yale University. His books include The Last Utopia, Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World and Humane: How the United States Abandoned Peace and Reinvented War.