By John Beck
In view that global conflict II, the yank West has turn into the nation’s army arsenal, proving floor, and disposal web site. via a wide-ranging dialogue of modern literature produced in and in regards to the West, soiled Wars explores how the region’s iconic landscapes, invested with myths of nationwide advantage, have obscured the West’s the most important position in a post–World conflict II age of “permanent war.” In readings of western—particularly southwestern—literature, John Beck presents a traditionally proficient account of ways the military-industrial economic system, tested to guard the USA after Pearl Harbor, has as an alternative produced western waste lands and “waste populations” because the enemies and collateral casualties of an everlasting kingdom of emergency. Beck bargains new readings of writers comparable to Cormac McCarthy, Leslie Marmon Silko, Don DeLillo, Rebecca Solnit, Julie Otsuka, and Terry Tempest Williams. He additionally attracts on various assets in heritage, political thought, philosophy, environmental experiences, and different fields. all through soiled Wars, he identifies resonances among varied stories and representations of the West that permit us to contemplate internment regulations, the manufacture of atomic guns, the tradition of chilly struggle safety, border policing, and poisonous toxins as a part of a broader software of a sustained and invasive administration of western area. (20100601)
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Additional info for Dirty Wars: Landscape, Power, and Waste in Western American Literature (Postwestern Horizons)
51 This is a federally constructed landscape, and the conception of emptiness that facilitated its creation is a federally constructed emptiness. Not all of the areas discussed in this book belong properly to the most particular deﬁnition of the Southwest that takes as its center the Four Corners and radiates out to include New Mexico, Arizona, southeastern Utah, and southwestern Colorado. Instead, following Riley, the Southwest is conceived here as a discursive space or nodal point that intersects with other regional, national, and international zones.
The wasteland discourse is in full operation here and pitched directly as a strategic advantage to American national (and, by implication global) security. With plenty of “buffer” lands and no “interference from civilians,” the Southwest as defense complex is the ultimate open secret. S. military power is realized in its most spectacular forms. Screened out by images of utterly decontextualized pyrotechnics is any consideration of environmental impact or acknowledgment that many of the installations are positioned adjacent to large metropolitan centers, Indian lands, or National Parks and other historic and recreational sites.
The Southwest that emerges here is at the same time sublime and abject, overdetermined and thoroughly vacant, prehistoric and futuristic, utopian and apocalyptic, saved and wasted. How the West Was Withdrawn The Southwest as defense complex is the result of over ﬁfty years of federal imagineering that has called into being a space of extraordinary power predicated on the exceptional authority conferred on the executive during times of war. 57 War calls forth executive power that can remain legitimate only insofar as the war footing is maintained.
Dirty Wars: Landscape, Power, and Waste in Western American Literature (Postwestern Horizons) by John Beck