The End of Victory Culture: Cold War America and the Disillusioning of a Generation

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By Tom Engelhardt

JUST PUBLISHED: 2007 second edition with a new preface and an afterword on how America’s “victory culture” returned in the George W. Bush era, only to crash and burn in Iraq. An updated analysis of the demise of victory culture, from Hiroshima to the Global War on Terror.

In a substantial new afterword to his classic account of the collapse of American triumphalism in the wake of World War II, Tom Engelhardt carries that story into the twenty-first century. He explores how, in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, the younger George Bush headed for the Wild West (Osama bin Laden, “Wanted, Dead or Alive”); how his administration brought “victory culture” roaring back as part of its Global War on Terror and its rush to invade Saddam Hussein’s Iraq; and how, from its “Mission Accomplished” moment on, its various stories of triumph crashed and burned in that land.

This book is an autopsy of a once vital American myth: the cherished belief that triumph over a less-than-human enemy was in the American grain, a birthright and a national destiny. The End of Victory Culture is a compelling account of how America’s premier story – of inevitable triumph against all odds – underwent a dizzying decomposition from Hiroshima to Iraq. As Tom Engelhardt reconstructs a half-century of the crumbling borderlands of American consciousness, he also offers a striking portrait of a post-Vietnam, and then Iraq-mired nation living an afterlife amid the ruins of its national narrative.

To read the preface to the 2007 edition of The End of Victory Culture, click here.

To read an excerpt from the updated afterword of The End of Victory Culture, click here.