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During the short history of the United States, war has marked the stages of the nation's journey, and imaginative literature has reflected and shaped an understanding of that journey. To study the war literature of the United States, then, is to study not only the representation of individuals at war but also creative renderings of the American experience. Until now, the treatment of American war literature has been handicapped by the absence of a single-source reference that can be the foundation for significant inquiry. This book addresses that need by presenting succinct, authoritative entries on the major writers and texts that have imaginatively represented the American experience of war.
This reference establishes the range and character of a significant body of work never before treated so comprehensively. It includes critical commentary on the novels, poems, nonfiction prose, and plays that reflect major conflicts from before the Revolutionary War through the Vietnam War and its aftermath. It also includes topical entries that survey the literature of America's major wars as well as such subjects as Indian captivity narratives, women's diaries of the Civil War, the literature of the Spanish-American War, and African American war literature. Entries are written by expert contributors and conclude with brief bibliographies, while the volume closes with a list of works for further reading.