Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pg. 99: Stephanie Carvin's "Prisoners of America’s Wars"

This weekend's feature at the Page 99 Test: Prisoners of America’s Wars: From the Early Republic to Guantanamo by Stephanie Carvin.

About the book, from the publisher:
Since the days of the Revolutionary War, the way in which America has taken and treated its prisoners reveals a lot about its democratic principles. How other countries have treated American prisoners also says much about the standing of the United States in the world. Throughout U.S. history, prisoners of war have functioned as symbols of outrage and patriotism, as figures of pity, power, triumph, and fealty, ultimately illustrating the human impact of war.

Retelling the story of America through its prisoners and involvement in international law, Stephanie Carvin explores America's inherent difficulty of being both exceptional and secure. While American diplomats negotiate a treaty at The Hague, for example, American soldiers suppress a bloody insurrection, throwing themselves into a conflict in which no rules apply. Carvin's argument is not that the relationship among America, its prisoners, and international law is founded entirely on exceptional culture and carnage. Rather, she identifies a blend of ideology, national imperative, and historical inevitability that has challenged American presidents from Washington to Obama. Her research shows that, despite the claim that America faces a unique and unprecedented battle in its "war on terror," the roots of this conflict lie in the history of those who have been captured in war. By contextualizing these stories within America's larger historical narrative, Carvin achieves a richer understanding of modern warfare.
Learn more about Prisoners of America’s Wars at the publisher's website, and follow Stephanie Carvin on Twitter and at The Duck of Minerva blog.

The Page 99 Test: Prisoners of America’s Wars.

--Marshal Zeringue