Covert Capital: Landscapes of Denial and the Making of U.S. Empire in the Suburbs of Northern Virginia

Covert Capital: Landscapes of Denial and the Making of U.S. Empire in the Suburbs of Northern Virginia

Covert Capital: Landscapes of Denial and the Making of U.S. Empire in the Suburbs of Northern Virginia

Covert Capital: Landscapes of Denial and the Making of U.S. Empire in the Suburbs of Northern Virginia

Synopsis

The capital of the U.S. Empire after World War II was not a city. It was an American suburb. In this innovative and timely history, Andrew Friedman chronicles how the CIA and other national security institutions created a U.S. imperial home front in the suburbs of Northern Virginia. In this covert capital, the suburban landscape provided a cover for the workings of U.S. imperial power, which shaped domestic suburban life. The Pentagon and the CIA built two of the largest office buildings in the country there during and after the war that anchored a new imperial culture and social world.

As the U.S. expanded its power abroad by developing roads, embassies, and villages, its subjects also arrived in the covert capital as real estate agents, homeowners, builders, and landscapers who constructed spaces and living monuments that both nurtured and critiqued postwar U.S. foreign policy. Tracing the relationships among American agents and the migrants from Vietnam, El Salvador, Iran, and elsewhere who settled in the southwestern suburbs of D.C., Friedman tells the story of a place that recasts ideas about U.S. immigration, citizenship, nationalism, global interconnection, and ethical responsibility from the post-WW2 period to the present. Opening a new window onto the intertwined history of the American suburbs and U.S. foreign policy, Covert Capital will also give readers a broad interdisciplinary and often surprising understanding of how U.S. domestic and global histories intersect in many contexts and at many scales.

American Crossroads, 37

Excerpt

The suburbs of northern virginia once formed part of the nation’s capital. They weren’t suburbs then. They were a mix of farms, parade grounds, colonial ports, and small incorporated towns and villages. Still, their lands joined with the topography of Maryland to create the District of Columbia’s square political boundaries. Each state willed its acreage as a gift, as a testament to the project of the nation. Majestically linked by the Potomac River, the square is still visible on any map.

In 1846, in a racialized protest leading up to the Civil War, Virginia took its land back. Like many rural areas near cities, the land eventually filled with suburbs. But the severed part of the capital rem00A0of “understanding” turns back halted at reflecting glass         to my need for meaning in this life clouds in a window scud by seemingly         flashing dark and bright guttering sky my brief . . .

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