cover of book

Warring over Valor: How Race and Gender Shaped American Military Heroism in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries
edited by Simon Wendt
contributions by Sonja John, Carrie Andersen, Simon Wendt, George Lewis, Ellen D. Wu, Matthias Voigt, Steve Estes, Simon Hall, Amy Lucker and Sarah Makeschin
Rutgers University Press, 2019
eISBN: 978-0-8135-9756-0 | Cloth: 978-0-8135-9754-6 | Paper: 978-0-8135-9753-9
Library of Congress Classification E745.W39 2018
Dewey Decimal Classification 355.009730904


By focusing on how the idea of heroism on the battlefield helped construct, perpetuate, and challenge racial and gender hierarchies in the United States between World War I and the present, Warring over Valor provides fresh perspectives on the history of American military heroism. The book offers two major insights into the history of military heroism. First, it reveals a precarious ambiguity in the efforts of minorities such as African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, women, and gay men to be recognized as heroic soldiers. Paradoxically, America’s heroism discourse allowed them to press their case for full membership in the nation, but doing so simultaneously validated the dichotomous interpretations of race and gender they repudiated. The ambiguous role of marginalized groups in war-related hero-making processes also testifies to this volume’s second general insight: the durability and tenacity of the masculine warrior hero in U.S. society and culture. Warring over Valor bridges a gap in the historiography of heroism and military affairs. 

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