Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Just released: War Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences

I hope you will indulge this little announcement:  My new book, War Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences, has just been released by Oxford University Press.  You have had a preview, of course, since I've occasionally talked about it here. In the acknowledgments is a thank you to everyone who sent an email and posted a blog comment (a group thank you, since of course I couldn't list everyone).  I could not address all the great suggestions I received, but I greatly benefited from your engagement.

Here's the press book description:
When is wartime? On the surface, it is a period of time in which a society is at war. But we now live in what President Obama has called "an age without surrender ceremonies," as the Administration announced an "end to conflict in Iraq," even though conflict on the ground is ongoing. It is no longer easy to distinguish between wartime and peacetime. In this inventive meditation on war, time, and the law, Mary Dudziak argues that wartime is not as discrete a time period as we like to think. Instead, America has been engaged in some form of ongoing overseas armed conflict for over a century. Meanwhile policy makers and the American public continue to view wars as exceptional events that eventually give way to normal peace times. This has two consequences. First, because war is thought to be exceptional, "wartime" remains a shorthand argument justifying extreme actions like torture and detention without trial. Second, ongoing warfare is enabled by the inattention of the American people. More disconnected than ever from the wars their nation is fighting, public disengagement leaves us without political restraints on the exercise of American war powers.
The endorsements and more info are here and here.  The table of contents and introduction are on SSRN.  Book news, information about public events, and discussion of related works, can be found here.  And you can read the whole book right now on Kindle and Nook.


Shag from Brookline said...

I'm trying to imagine a counter-theme to "War-Time" with the title "Peace-Time." Since my birth in 1930, America has been in many wars, declared, undeclared, hot, cold. Was the Great Depression peace-time? If so, not for long. After WW II, we had a lot of reconstruction world-wide, particularly in Europe and the Far East. But then came Korea, followed by the Cold War and Vietnam. Was post-Vietnam peace-time? Yes, the Cold War thawed, but then we had Iraq I, which was short. But did peace-time follow? We got involved in the former Yugoslavia because Europe dawdled. Did peace-time follow? Not for long with the events of 9/11/01. [Note: This is not intended to be a listing of all wars during my lifetime in which there has been an American connection.] So has wartime become the norm? Is it a significant part of the world's economy? Is it a permanent part of American politics, such as suggested by some seeking the GOP presidential nomination for 2012?

It's been a long time since I dug into Tolstoy's "War and Peace" but perhaps someone out there ought to consider a counter of "Peace-Time" to Mary's book; it might turn out to be one and the same. What's in a name?

Mary L. Dudziak said...

The concept of "peacetime" -- the idea of times of peace in which war is absent -- is dependent on the idea of "wartime" -- the idea that wars have temporal boundaries. So it's all bound up together. Hope you like the book!