Paper $27.50 ISBN: 9780226632926 Published May 2019
Cloth $82.50 ISBN: 9780226632896 Published May 2019
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Empire of Defense

Race and the Cultural Politics of Permanent War

Joseph Darda

Empire of Defense

Joseph Darda

264 pages | 9 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2019
Paper $27.50 ISBN: 9780226632926 Published May 2019
Cloth $82.50 ISBN: 9780226632896 Published May 2019
E-book $10.00 to $27.50 About E-books ISBN: 9780226633084 Published May 2019
Empire of Defense is an extensive and multilayered critique of the past seventy years of American military engagement. Joseph Darda exposes how the post–World War II formation of the Department of Defense and the subsequent Korean War set a course for decades of permanent conflict. Conflict, which the United States, he argues, ingeniously reframed as the defense of humanity from illiberal beliefs and behaviors.

Empire of Defense shows how a string of rationales for war from the 1940s to the present—anticommunism, crime control, humanitarianism, and counterterrorism—paved the way for unprecedented military growth that secured rather than dismantled the existing racial order. A wide range of writers, filmmakers, and journalists—from I. F. Stone and Ishmael Reed to Stanley Kubrick and June Jordan—have struggled to tell the story of war without end, and Darda reveals how that struggle itself tells the bigger story. He draws a clear line from the Cold War to the war on terror and makes sense of our collective cultural efforts to recognize the not-so-new normal of nonstop military empire-building.

Introduction: A Perpetual Wartime Footing
Chapter 1. How to Tell a Permanent War Story
Chapter 2. Antiwar Liberalism against Liberal War
Chapter 3. Dispatches from the Drug Wars
Chapter 4. Kicking the Vietnam Syndrome with Human Rights
Chapter 5. The Craft of Counterinsurgent Whiteness
Epilogue: Defense in the Fifth Domain

Review Quotes
Neda Atanasoski, author of Humanitarian Violence: The U.S. Deployment of Diversity
Empire of Defense is an important and original contribution to studies of US warfare, empire-building, and racial modes of governance. This well-researched and meticulously written book suggests that permanent war is not antithetical to liberal governance—it is, in fact, part and parcel of it. As Darda powerfully reveals, the empire of defense hides its own violence in plain sight. His book is a cogent and much-needed critique of the machinations of US empire and how it justifies and authorizes its violence in racial and ethical terms.”
Mary L. Dudziak, author of War Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences
“In Empire of Defense, Darda shows how the idea of ‘defense’ became a logic for ongoing American war. This idea also fueled a racial ordering by defining who was, and who was not, worthy of defense. A fascinating account of the culture of war without end.”
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