The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam

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9780814751466: The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam

One of the most resilient images of the Vietnam era is that of the anti-war protester — often a woman — spitting on the uniformed veteran just off the plane. The lingering potency of this icon was evident during the Gulf War, when war supporters invoked it to discredit their opposition.

In this startling book, Jerry Lembcke demonstrates that not a single incident of this sort has been convincingly documented. Rather, the anti-war Left saw in veterans a natural ally, and the relationship between anti-war forces and most veterans was defined by mutual support. Indeed one soldier wrote angrily to Vice President Spiro Agnew that the only Americans who seemed concerned about the soldier's welfare were the anti-war activists.

While the veterans were sometimes made to feel uncomfortable about their service, this sense of unease was, Lembcke argues, more often rooted in the political practices of the Right. Tracing a range of conflicts in the twentieth century, the book illustrates how regimes engaged in unpopular conflicts often vilify their domestic opponents for "stabbing the boys in the back."

Concluding with an account of the powerful role played by Hollywood in cementing the myth of the betrayed veteran through such films as Coming Home, Taxi Driver, and Rambo, Jerry Lembcke's book stands as one of the most important, original, and controversial works of cultural history in recent years.

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From the Author:

I am responding to comments about me and my book, "The Spitting Image".

I receive a lot of correspondence about the myth of spat-upon Vietnam veterans and some of it is in response to inquires from students about the spitting stories. The writer says there are photographs "of soldiers being hit with tomatoes and eggs." If anyone has those photographs I would love to see them.

Regarding my military service, I have never thought that being a Vietnam veteran is much of a credential for understanding the war or America's post-war culture. That said, I was a Chaplain's Assistant in the 41st Artillery Group in Vietnam in 1969.

I've never called anyone a liar for claiming they were spat on. I'm perfectly willing to repeat someone's story but unless it is somehow corroborated, I can't treat the story as true. On a Los Angeles KABC radio call-in show a couple years ago I told a caller I did not believe his story that uniforms were piled high in an LAX men's room, discarded by veterans who had deplaned there and were fearful that they would be attacked by protesters. I also politely excused myself from a recent conversation with a man saying he returned on a stretcher and "was covered in spit" in the time he was taken from the plane to an ambulance. Jerry Lembcke

About the Author:

Jerry Lembcke is Associate Professor of Sociology at Holy Cross College. In 1969 he was a Chaplain's Assistant assigned to the 41st Artillery Group in Vietnam.

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Lembcke, Jerry
Editorial: NYU Press (1998)
ISBN 10: 0814751466 ISBN 13: 9780814751466
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Descripción NYU Press, 1998. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería P110814751466

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Jerry Lembcke
Editorial: NYU Press (1998)
ISBN 10: 0814751466 ISBN 13: 9780814751466
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Descripción NYU Press, 1998. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería DADAX0814751466

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Jerry Lembcke
Editorial: NYU Press (1998)
ISBN 10: 0814751466 ISBN 13: 9780814751466
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Descripción NYU Press. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. 0814751466 New Condition. Nº de ref. de la librería NEW6.0496911

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