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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]


"In Making War at Fort Hood, Kenneth MacLeish . . . draws on interviews with [returning soldiers] and members of their families in an ethnographic exploration of the impact of deployment on their everyday lives. . . . MacLeish documents, often poignantly, the difficulties soldiers have in making sense of their experiences and in moving on."--Dr. Glenn Altschuler, Florida Courier

"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

"Making War at Fort Hood is an ambitious, provocative book. It will be of significant value to historians of contemporary military conflicts, the organizational culture of the U.S. Army, and the lived experience of war. . . . It is an important work that deserves attention."--Jacqueline Whitt, H-Net Reviews

"Making War at Fort Hood is essential reading for those with an interest in modern Army life and for those in leadership positions."--Lieutenant Colonel G. Alan Knight, Journal of Army History


"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: 10/15/2014

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