The Remains of War: Bodies, Politics, and the Search for American Soldiers Unaccounted For in Southeast Asia (Politics, History, and Culture)

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Press:Duke Univ Pr Duke University Press Books (July 13, 2005)
Publication Date:2005-7
Author Name:Hawley, Thomas M.


The ongoing effort of the United States to account for its missing Vietnam War soldiers is unique. 
The United States requires the repatriation and positive identification of soldiers’ bodies to remove their names from the list of the missing.
This quest for certainty in the form of the material, identified body marks a dramatic change from previous wars, in which circumstantial evidence often sufficed to account for missing casualties.
In The Remains of War, Thomas M.
Hawley considers why the body of the missing soldier came to assume such significance in the wake of the Vietnam War.
Illuminating the relationship between the effort to account for missing troops and the political and cultural forces of the post-Vietnam era, Hawley argues that the body became the repository of the ambiguities and anxieties surrounding the U.S.
involvement and defeat in Southeast Asia.Hawley combines the theoretical insights of Judith Butler, Michel Foucault, and Emmanuel Levinas with detailed research into the history of the movement to recover the remains of soldiers missing in Vietnam.
He examines the practices that constitute the Defense Department’s accounting protocol: the archival research, archaeological excavation, and forensic identification of recovered remains.
He considers the role of the American public and the families of missing soldiers in demanding the release of pows and encouraging the recovery of the missing; the place of the body of the Vietnam veteran within the war’s legacy; and the ways that memorials link individual bodies to the body politic.
Highlighting the contradictions inherent in the recovery effort, Hawley reflects on the ethical implications of the massive endeavor of the American government and many officials in Vietnam to account for the remains of American soldiers.

From the Back Cover

"Thomas M. 
Hawley combines theoretical dexterity and voluminous research in a first-rate book on America's tortured Vietnam legacy.
By cataloguing the manifold practices that keep the bodies of the absent dead alive, he enables us to understand the nation's obsession with a political and cultural war it continually invents and reinvents at home and abroad."--Steven Johnston, author of "Encountering Tragedy: Rousseau and the Project of Democratic Order"

About the Author

Thomas M. 
Hawley is Assistant Professor in the Department of Government at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington.


History,Military,United States,Vietnam War,Textbooks,Humanities,Asia,Social Sciences,Political Science,Political History

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Comment List (Total:1)

  •     It is a shame that the author Thomas M. Hawley, failed to get his facts straight or even interview any of us that were on Operation Grand Eagle. As i was and wrote about it first hand in my book BOHICA, and as was the same on public US Sworn Testimony before the Federal Grand Juries and Congress & Senate.After all LTC Gritz was NEVER EVER on the Mission Grand Eagle he was dismissed back in the USA thus never came with any of us nor was he ever given the intelligence of the operations since he was booted off. All these people who write books without knowing the truth or facts is misleading anyone who reads them. After all I was the only one who when asked by the Government took, Polygraphs, Truth Serum and Psy. tests and evaluations for the Government and passed with flying colors not one other surviving member did this. I would NOT recommend the book basked on lack of facts, truth and its fake asserations of the real mission Operation Grand Eagle, a USAISA backed and sanctioned mission.

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