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By John Beck

In view that global conflict II, the yankee West has turn into the nation’s army arsenal, proving floor, and disposal website. via a wide-ranging dialogue of modern literature produced in and concerning the West, soiled Wars explores how the region’s iconic landscapes, invested with myths of nationwide advantage, have obscured the West’s the most important position in a post–World conflict II age of “permanent war.” In readings of western—particularly southwestern—literature, John Beck presents a traditionally expert account of the way the military-industrial financial system, proven to guard the U.S. after Pearl Harbor, has as an alternative produced western waste lands and “waste populations” because the enemies and collateral casualties of an enduring country of emergency. Beck deals new readings of writers equivalent to Cormac McCarthy, Leslie Marmon Silko, Don DeLillo, Rebecca Solnit, Julie Otsuka, and Terry Tempest Williams. He additionally attracts on various resources in heritage, political conception, philosophy, environmental reviews, and different fields. all through soiled Wars, he identifies resonances among assorted reviews and representations of the West that let us to contemplate internment guidelines, the manufacture of atomic guns, the tradition of chilly struggle defense, border policing, and poisonous toxins as a part of a broader application of a sustained and invasive administration of western house. (20100601)

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Additional info for Dirty Wars: Landscape, Power, and Waste in Western American Literature (Postwestern Horizons)

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The presence of militarized land is one way that invisible threats can become materialized, the fact of a secure installation’s existence seemingly confi rming the danger it purports to protect against. Routinized acts of civilian preparedness are another, as William Chaloupka explains in his description of school duck-and-cover drills during the Cold War. ” 84 Here, knowledge of recent history (Hiroshima) connects with collective values (obeying the teacher, respecting the military), instinct (survival) and performative gestures (distinctive postures and positions), to reproduce the conditions of the Cold War as integral to ordinary domestic life.

114 What Nel is suggesting here is that the Cold War produced contending versions of reality that, as Miller also argues, increasingly come into conflict with one another. ” 116 For Pynchon, American reality is intrinsically split, producing an ideologically contained reality of the visible world (the world made possible by the descendants of the Puritan “saints”) that exists alongside an uncanny invisible world of the preterite, the abjected outcasts and strangers of the dominant order. These economically and socially unwanted “other” populations, in their structural relation with the elect, function to define the elect by negation.

The lessons of the civil rights movement and the anti–Vietnam War protests, buttressed by the experience of second-wave feminism, shaped a more politicized environmental movement sharply focused on the nuclear West. Neither did concessions to downwinders and World War II internees at the end of the 1980s, and the cessation of underground nuclear testing in 1992, draw a line under the excesses of post–Pearl Harbor militarization. Instead, the afterburn of the arms race continued to 42 the pur l oined l a ndsc a pe shape post–Cold War anxieties as the dilemma of toxic waste disposal supplanted the weapons themselves as the live threat to security.

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