As the post-9/11 wars wind down, a literature professor at West Point explores what it means for soldiers, and our country, to be caught between war and peace
Elizabeth D. Samet, a professor of English at West Point and the author of the critically acclaimed Soldier's Heart, came to question her settled understanding of post-9/11 America as a clear arc from peace to war. Over time, as she reckoned with her experiences-from a visit to a ward of wounded combat veterans to her correspondence with former cadets-Samet was led to profoundly rethink the last decade, an ambiguous passage that has left deep but difficult-to-read traces on our national psyche, our culture, our politics, and, most especially, an entire generation of military professionals. How will a nation that has refused to grapple honestly with these wars imagine its postwar responsibilities?
Samet calls the moment in which we live, lying as it does somewhere between war and peace, a "no man's land." She takes the reader on a vivid tour of that landscape, populated as much by the scars of war as by the everyday realities of life on the home front. Grounded in Samet's experience as a teacher of future army officers, No Man's Land is a moving, urgent examination of what it means to negotiate the tensions between soldier and civilian, between "over here" and "over there."
The views expressed in this book are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Military Academy, the Department of the Army, or the Department of Defense.