Magazine article WLA ; War, Literature and the Arts

Male Armor

Magazine article WLA ; War, Literature and the Arts

Male Armor

Article excerpt

Male Armor. Jon Robert Adams. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008, $17.50, paper, 160 pp.

Jon Robert Adams, in his study Male Armor: The Soldier-Hero in Contemporary American Culture, deconstructs the culturally substantiated notion of masculinity's inherency in war's performance by providing a limited archaeology of 20th Century American representations of manhood in war as envisioned in literature and film. Examining a small number of pertinent works, Adams exposes the American citizen's conflation of war with manhood, the wider American cultural paradigm that enables the mythologized equivalence between these two terms, and most stolidly, the disjuncture between civilian perceptions of war's relationship with masculinity and the disruptive narratives his examined texts offer to counter these popular perceptions. Further, Adams entreats the use of his analysis to "enunciate the 'direction or doctrine' that will finally end war," holding fast to a belief that by decoupling civilian conflation of war with masculinity in an accessible way, he can discourage the ready national recourse and the willing individual participation that make war practicable. His then is both a cultural study in a traditional, intellectual sense as well as a methodology for provoking cultural dialog regarding war in a practical, actionable sense.

In concert with his introductory and concluding remarks-which by themselves amount to important and worthwhile reading on a broader, thematic level- Adams traces with appropriate granularity the genealogy of manhood, masculinity, and the American male war hero from its post-World War II, Cold War position through its contemporary conception. While his account is not exhaustive, his research is illustrative, providing in-depth literary analysis while also offering a framework for engaging the issues beyond the immediate works of the study. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.