From Melos to My Lai: War and Survival

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From Melos to My Lai presents an erudite, provocative and moving analysis of the accounts of violence in the literature and history of ancient Greece and in the film literature and veterans' accounts of the Vietnam War. This comparative investigation examines the nature of violence, its impact on society and culture, especially as reflected from the perspective of the survivors. The survivors include not only actual combatants, but those with whom they interact: their comrades, their wives and children, families and society as a whole.
From Melos to My Lai provides a unique contribution to the study of the impact of violence on its participants and its audience which combines an examination of the artistic representations of violence and the real-life accounts of those involved in it.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This is a tough, uncompromising, and provocative study in which Tritle (history, Loyola Marymount Univ.; The Greek World in the Fourth Century: From the Fall of the Athenian Empire to the Successors of Alexander) tells the bitter history of the Vietnam War against the background of the wars of classical Greece. The citizens of Melos in the title surrendered unconditionally to the Athenians only to have the men of military age put to death and their women and children sold as slaves. The author equates that event with the My Lai massacre of 1968, when U.S. soldiers indiscriminately killed Vietnamese villagers, mostly women and children. That analogy is only one of many drawn between the classics and Vietnam. Tritle, himself a Vietnam vet, says that "a generation of Americans was deceived in almost criminal fashion [in Vietnam] and exposed to horrific situations of violence in which they were both its agents and objects." Recommended for public and academic libraries.-Chet Hagan, Historical Soc. of Berks Cty., Reading, PA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415217576
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 6/28/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

List of plates
Preface and acknowledgments
1 Introduction: a twentieth-century American odyssey 1
2 Listening to Thersites 12
3 Achilles and the heroic ideal 34
4 Clearchus' story: the heroic ideal transformed 55
5 Penelope and waiting wives and lovers 79
6 War, violence, and the Other 101
7 The historiography and language of violence 124
8 Remembrance, rhetoric, and memory 143
9 The visibly dead: monuments and their meaning 165
10 The unanchored dead: mental cases and walking wounded 184
11 Afterword 199
Bibliography 202
Index 215
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