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Making War at Fort Hood:
Life and Uncertainty in a Military Community
Kenneth T. MacLeish

Book Description | Table of Contents
Introduction [in PDF format]


"To its great credit, MacLeish's project refuses to paint soldiers as either noble heroes or unwitting victims, two of the most dominant and therefore the most tired archetypes of our time. In a society that has exoticized and abstracted the military, MacLeish re-humanizes it. He is also remarkably precise in how he describes the institution of the Army: how its various bureaucracies, all geared at least tangentially toward killing people and destroying property, prescribe and encompass so many aspects of a soldier's life, from the most consequential to the seemingly benign, such as haircut styles and family day picnics. MacLeish's book is smart, necessary, and insightful."--Brian Van Reet, Daily Beast

"The book illuminates the impact that two wars over a 12-year period can have on deployed soldiers, their families and their community."--San Antonio Express-News

"Drawing on observations and interviews conducted during a year at Fort Hood, this ethnography provides a poignant account of military life, especially the impact of war on U.S. soldiers and their families. . . . This concise, engaging, and well-referenced text is a welcome addition to the field of military ethnography."--Choice

"MacLeish offers us something richer: a sensitively rendered portrait of social actors who both do and do not get to choose their course, who force us to rethink basic notions of agency and autonomy from the vantage point of violence as a way of life."--Marcel La Flamm, Public Books

"A refreshing approach."--Annessa Ann Babic, Journal of American Studies of Turkey

"In this theoretically rich, empathic, and revelatory ethnography, Kenneth MacLeish ably tackles the challenges that face all US anthropologists who engage with the military. . . . The book is impressive and engaging in theoretical terms. . . . MacLeish has made an incisive contribution to military anthropology that will be of particular value to students of violence, care, US society, or fine ethnographic writing."--Keith Brown, Great Plains Research


"Making War at Fort Hood is a powerful, beautifully written book that brings to life the permanent vulnerability and bafflement of suffering soldiers and their families. As MacLeish tracks what it means to have a life amid war's threat to it, he listens hard to the stories, detailing the comic and tragic genres people invent to make sense of things as they veer between snapping and being stunned. The emotional life of the soldier is here memorably, richly chronicled."--Lauren Berlant, University of Chicago

"For the residents of Fort Hood, Texas, 'deployment' is in the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, including infidelity, divorce, abuse, and drugs. It's also in the ordinary life of waiting, recovering, dreading. It's in the mile-long row of strip malls, fast-food chains, and auto-parts stores on the main street of Killeen. It's in death by speeding on the widows' highway the day after returning from war. Kenneth MacLeish's Making War at Fort Hood is a profound investigation not only of war in the present moment but of the precariousness of life."--Kathleen C. Stewart, University of Texas, Austin

"This is one of the most valuable books I have read in a long time. Making War at Fort Hood delivers a close, convincing, and moving portrait of soldiers' lives. It demonstrates impressive intellectual depth and at the same time is ethnographically rich. The whole country needs to learn from this book."--Alan Klima, University of California, Davis

"An ethnographic study of the everyday lives of soldiers and their families, Making War at Fort Hood tackles profound questions of trauma and bodily experience, debt, love, accountability, separation and return, in a community constituted by the routine presence of war. I love this book. It is beautifully written, poignant and compelling, illuminating and sensitive. This is an extraordinarily timely and important work."--Mary Steedly, Harvard University

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File created: 4/24/2017

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