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The Culture of Defeat: On National Trauma, Mourning, and Recovery
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The Culture of Defeat: On National Trauma, Mourning, and Recovery

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  54 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Focusing on three seminal cases of military defeat--the South after the Civil War, France in the wake of the Franco-Prussian War, and Germany following World War I--Wolfgang Schivelbusch reveals the complex psychological and cultural responses of vanquished nations to the experience of loss on the battlefield. Drawing on reactions from every level of society, Schivelbusch ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published April 1st 2004 by Picador (first published 2001)
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Shaherzad ahmadi
This comparative study of the American Civil War, the Franco-Prussian War, and the Weimar Republic following World War I attempts to explain the psychic effects of total defeat. The chapter detailing the trauma of the American South represents the most dynamic and coherent theoretical contribution of the book. He describes the evolution of the South’s attitude toward slavery as a necessary institution to protect white America from the slavery of capitalism to a shameful practice whose foundation ...more
Pretty good... I just wrote a review of this for class that I'll post on here as soon as the term's over and I can't be told I'm plagiarizing myself.
Country xyz "lost the battle for the true interpretation of defeat - and, conseuently, for political power" This is the author's thesis. He covers the American Civil War, one of the French revolutions and Germany after WWI. He scours old written sources for the slogans of the poets and politicians of the time. The P&P probably fly lots of mottos and bon mots but only a few catch on. It is not clear how their power at the time can be measured. This is very different from the great men/wars/da ...more
Tim Williams
Fascinating discussion of a global "era of total war" (1861-1945), which developed a unique culture for vanquished nations. While I'm not crazy about the over reliance on Walter Scott to explain southern culture, the author is smart to connect the South to global patterns of defeat.
Jeffrey David
Jan 31, 2008 Jeffrey David rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like food.
Recommended to Jeffrey by: a fuckin' teacher
Shelves: books-i-ve-read
What do the Civil War, the Franco-Prussian War, and World War One in common? This book argues that the lessons of defeat changed the vanquished, as they grappled with the causes of their defeat. From Woodrow Wilson's childhood memories of the occupying Union Army in Richmond, to French admonishment of their school system, to German mimicing of American wartime propaganda, Schivelbusch has written a book that is thoroughly engaging, showing how soceities rise form the ashes of defeat only when th ...more
Christopher Carbone
Probably the most compelling book written about a largely misunderstood phenomenon: how the defeated peoples see themselves, and rarely is it defeated. From the Confederate States' "Lost Cause" mythology (which started in the 1850's), the French empire's "Revanche" ideal or the German Empire's "Stab in the Back", the book critically examines the mental impetus that causes defeated people to act as they act and to say what they say.

And its eminently applicable to the US in the post 9/11 world. A
Important book for understanding current situation. See, in particular, section about the Confederacy.
Supes quirks. I will never picture the same thing when I think of #DefeatCulture again.
I think I was the only one in my class who enjoyed this....
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