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The Martial ImaginationThe Martial Imagination

Cultural Aspects of American Warfare

Jimmy L. Bryan, Jr.

Narrated by Gary Roelofs

Available from Audible

Book published by Texas A&M University Press

Martial experiences and the mythologies that surround them have profoundly affected the ways in which Americans think of themselves. Wars identify the heroes who help define national character, provide the stories for the grand narratives of belonging and sacrifice, and serve as markers for essential moments of transformation.

However, only in the last several years have scholars begun using the term “cultural history of American warfare” to identify the study of how public discourse formulates these defining myths and narratives. This volume brings together scholarship from diverse fields in a common mission to demonstrate the usefulness and significance of studying the cultural history of American warfare.

The Martial Imagination: Cultural Aspects of American Warfare canvasses the American war experience from the Revolution to the War on Terror, examining how it infuses legitimacy and conformity with an urgency that contorts ideas of citizenship, nationhood, gender, and other pliable categories. The multidisciplinary scholarship in this volume represents the varied perspectives of cultural history, American studies, literary criticism, war and society, media studies, and public culture analysis, illustrating the rich dialogues that epitomize the cultural history of American warfare.

Bringing together both recognized and emerging scholars, this book is the first anthology to feature essays on this topic, comprising research from twelve authors who represent a wide range of experiences and disciplines. Their work uncovers new and surprising understandings of the American war experience that reveal the ways in which culture makers have grappled with the trauma of war, salvaged meaning from the meaningless, or advanced some ulterior agenda

Jimmy L. Bryan, Jr. is an associate professor of history at Lamar University in Beaumont. Holding a PhD from Southern Methodist University, he is the author of More Zeal than Discretion: The Westward Adventures of Walter P. Lane.


“The contributing authors have made The Martial Imagination a splendid and thought-provoking volume.”

Oxford Journals

“Bryan has produced a fascinating book that could be used in academic courses concerning not only military history, but also American culture in general. One hopes that this type of book will establish a new trend in this field of study.”

The Chronicles of Oklahoma

“In the last few decades, war-and-society scholars have carved out a distinct sub-field within military history. Amy S. Greenberg joins with Bryan to demark the boundaries of these subfields. The essays in the collection put this methodology into practice. These works are well researched and written. These are ambitious and often stimulating essays that offer intriguing snapshots of particular historical movements, innovative use of sources, and original thinking. The editor and authors raise key questions about subfield boundaries and methods that deserve further scrutiny, while offering a tantalizing look at the way a cultural approach can expand our understanding of how Americans experience war.”

—U.S. Naval Institute

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University Press Audiobooks