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Not Even Past: How the United States Ends Wars

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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 $24.95/£19.95 Pb Published (March 2020)

eISBN 978-1-78920-216-8 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $24.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“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


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. It 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.

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 Studies History: 20th Century to Present History (General)
Area: North America



David Ryan and David Fitzgerald

Part I: Vietnam

Chapter 1. The Importance of Being Popular: Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, and Domestic Support for the Vietnam War
Sarah Thelen

Chapter 2. The Things They Carry: Vietnam and the Legacies of the American War
Edwin A. Martini

Chapter 3. “His Epitaph Is Also Ours”: Robert McNamara, the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, and the Vietnam War’s Contested Usable Past
David Kieran

Chapter 4. After the Fall of Saigon: Strategic Implications of America’s Involvement in Vietnam
Robert K. Brigham

Part II: Iraq and Afghanistan

Chapter 5. The Ironies of Overwhelming “Victory”: Exits and the Dislocation of the Gulf War
David Ryan

Chapter 6. Failing to End: Obama and Iraq
David Fitzgerald and David Ryan

Chapter 7. A “Responsible End” to the Afghan War: The Politics and Pitfalls of Crafting “Success” Narratives
Jeffrey H. Michaels

Chapter 8. Flawed Afghanization: Underestimating and Misunderstanding the Taliban
Antonio Giustozzi

Part III: The Cultural and Strategic Costs of War in the Early Twenty-First Century

Chapter 9. Changing the Subject: How the United States Responds to Strategic Failure
Andrew J. Bacevich

Chapter 10. How Wars Do Not End: The Challenges for Twenty-First Century US Foreign Policy and Intervention
Scott Lucas

Chapter 11. Coming Home: Soldier Homecomings and the All-Volunteer Force in American Society and Culture
David Fitzgerald

Chapter 12. How the United States Ends Wars
Marilyn B. Young


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