Restrained Response: American Novels of the Cold War and Korea, 1945-1962

By Arne Axelsson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8 The Machine in the Military

"Brink" and "doomsday" novels can be considered part of a larger group of stories, all dominated by a theme that might be termed "the machine in the military," that is, the technological involvement of the armed forces. The party interacting with the machines is individual man and this chapter looks at some military novels with post- Korean settings that use this relationship, both as a recurring motif and as thematic basis for entire works.

The two most technologically oriented services of the U.S. military forces are the Air Force and the Navy, especially its submarine branch. The season for narratives about military underwater technology was yet to come; most such novels have settings in the late sixties and early seventies. But the Air Force inspired many treatments from the early sixties, especially of the pilot-airplane relationship. There is even a forerunner, Look of the Eagle ( 1955), a conventional adventure yarn by retired Air Force General Robert L. Scott, Jr., who once (in 1943) flew with General Chennault in China and wrote a best-seller about his experiences, God Is My Co-Pilot. The story of Look of the Eagle is impossible and the characters little better but the novel does express the pilot's special feeling of kinship with his airplane and the deep satisfaction with the task of flying jet planes that were to characterize many later Air Force stories.

Another forerunner heralded the space race as subject matter, Robert Buckner Starfire ( 1960), an example of the kind of whimsical reaction sometimes produced by the rapid development in the first

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Restrained Response: American Novels of the Cold War and Korea, 1945-1962
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • A Note on Notation xix
  • Part One Postwar Reorientation 1945-1953 1
  • Chapter 1 Occupational Hazards: The European Scene 3
  • Chapter 2 After V-J Day: The Far Eastern Arena 23
  • Chapter 3 Thunder in the Background: Home-Front Repercussions 41
  • Part Two The Korean Corpus 1950-1953 59
  • Chapter 4 Caught in Korea 61
  • Chapter 5 Sea and Air War 79
  • Chapter 6 Ground Fighting 91
  • Part Three Chilling Prospects 1954-1962 111
  • Chapter 7 Brink and Abyss 113
  • Chapter 8 The Machine in the Military 131
  • Chapter 9 Post-Korean Poise 143
  • Conclusion 163
  • Appendix: Summaries and Sources 181
  • Index 215
  • About the Author 223
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