Hardback
July 26, 2022
9780813195643
English
224
6 b&w illustrations
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$27.95 USD, £20.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
July 26, 2022
9780813195650
9780813195643
English
224
6 b&w illustrations
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$27.95 USD, £20.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
July 26, 2022
9780813195667
9780813195643
English
224
6 b&w illustrations
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$27.95 USD, £20.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

War & Homecoming

Veteran Identity and the Post-9/11 Generation

More than 2.7 million post-9/11 veterans served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their homecomings didn't include parades or national celebrations, but civilians regard them with reverence and pride. Veterans' benefits are comprehensive. The phrase "thank you for your service" is ubiquitous. Yet, one in ten post-9/11 veterans struggle with substance abuse. Fifteen to twenty veterans die by suicide every day, with 18–34-year-olds dying at the highest rates. These veterans carry intractable mental and physical wounds, leading advocates to focus on concepts like moral injury and collective belonging.

In War & Homecoming: Veteran Identity and the Post-9/11 Generation, veteran Travis Martin argues that post-9/11 veterans struggle with homecoming because of decades of stereotyping and a lack of healthy models of veteran identity. In the American unconscious, veterans are the superficially praised "hero," the victimized "wounded warrior," forever defined by past accomplishments. They are appropriated as symbols in competing narratives of national identity. War & Homecoming explores past and current stereotypes often found in patriotic rhetoric, popular media, literature, and veterans' lives. Luckily, a third type of post-9/11 veteran has emerged, the veteran "storyteller" who recognizes stereotypes, claims their symbolic authority, and defines who they are through literature, art, and service. This identity allows for continued growth, and these "storytellers" provide examples of identity rooted in agency, individuality, and resilience for other veterans to model. New creative communities, service organizations, and the growing academic field of Veterans Studies suggest post-9/11 veterans are redefining what it means to be a veteran.

About the Author

Travis L. Martin is director of the Kentucky Center for Veterans Studies at Eastern Kentucky University. He has established several nationally recognized programs to support returning veterans in higher education and the non-profit sector. A scholar of American literature, psychoanalytic trauma theory, and social theory, Martin presents frequently at conferences and universities. He has published dozens of research articles and creative short works on veterans' issues.

Reviews

"This book helps capture the Veteran phenomenon as none other. The dilemma of having earned an identity and simultaneously losing the privilege to decide when it is used to define who you are, forces Veterans into a constant struggle between positive and negative stereotypes. In the current national zeitgeist where one's identity can create cascading effects, do diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives adequately take Veterans into account? Calling out the actual damage done by labeling all Veterans as heroes or wounded warriors, Dr. Martin helps to lay the foundation for the important work that lies ahead with so many transitioning Veterans."—LTC (R) Nick Swayne, PhD, Founder, JMU X-Labs

"'Homecoming is not an experience.  It is a lifelong process' Travis Martin has written one of the most important non-fiction books for and about American veterans of the last 20 years – the years of the 'forever war.' His writing should be on the same shelf as Karl Marlantes, Sebastian Junger, Kayla Williams, and Johnathan Shay. His ideas about Veteran Identify provide the history, structure, and theoretical depth for veterans and non-veterans to understand more deeply and think more critically about this important piece of American society. Travis Martin's prescription is not new, but it has been lost to a society that is moving too fast and connecting too superficially to remember — veteran testimony is the key. Veterans telling their stories through fiction or non-fiction, in conversation or action, or whatever form fits the person and the context will inevitably make the veteran experience more accessible to all. Finally, the description of Dr. Martin's work in the academic field of Veterans Studies provides a template for the expansion of this important discipline beyond the niche and into the mainstream."—Lt. Col (Ret.) Jim Craig, Chair of Sociology and Coordinator of Veterans Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis

"Travis Martin tackles the matter of what it means to be a veteran and what the nation is actually obligated to understand about the citizens it so often cavalierly sends off to war. This book builds upon a foundation of wide and serious reading, conscientious interaction with vets, deep thought, and personal experience. If there is hope for the fruitful and nourishing integration back into society after war, it lies in, as Martin strenuously and healthily points out, in storytelling and the arts. The human race needs stories. We need all the experience we can get."—Donald Anderson, editor of War, Literature, & the Arts

"How do we serve as sounding boards for veterans who are redefining self after military service? What does storytelling contribute to self-definition, what is veteran impression management, and how do veterans exercise rights to manage their identities? How does post 9/11 therapeutic culture create traumatic assumptions about veterans? Travis Martin explores these and other questions about the theory of veteran identity, veteran symbolic authority, and patchwork identity in what will surely be required reading in the emerging field of Veteran Studies about the post 9/11 generation. Tracing the tropes of sacrificing heroes, heroic moments, and woundedness through novels, poetry, film, and congressional medal narratives, Martin offers a lens on the role of the arts to upack notions of military masculinity and gender performances that will do much to subvert stereotypes and influence a more meaningful, collective, and nuanced homecoming process."—Nancy L. Dallett, Advisory Board member for the Veterans Studies Association and Associate Director for the Office for Veteran and Military Academic Engagement at Arizona State University

"'Veteran identity,' the 'homecoming process,' 'heroism,' and 'wounded warrior stereotypes,' are dynamic and interrelated topics that have perplexed scholars and professionals for generations. Few individuals have the requisite knowledge, experience, and skillset necessary to adequately address such topics, at least from an insider's perspective. During the post 9/11 era, which coincided with incredible advancements in information technology and social media, the topics mentioned above continued to evolve as social constructs and are now more complex and elusive than ever. As a former soldier, leader, combat veteran, professor, and scholar, Dr. Travis Martin is uniquely qualified to delve into the perplexing topics featured in his authoritative book. His provocative and insightful work is of tremendous value, not only to veterans, but to educators, health care professionals, employers, and family members who are engaged in supporting veterans during the homecoming process. Travis Martin writes with passion and purpose, and I salute him for his service, candor, and continuing advocacy for our veterans."—Colonel (Ret.) Eugene J. Palka, PhD, Department of Physics, Geosciences & Astronomy at Eastern Kentucky University

"Through personal experience and scholarship, Martin provides insight into the complexity of veteran identity. When people picture military veterans, narrow representations often come to mind - heroes, victims. Martin helps readers understand the depth of veterans' experiences, and the role of personal, social, and cultural factors that inform veteran identity. Martin also underscores the importance of veteran identity in shaping how veterans and the public engage with one another. The writing is vigorous, the stories illuminating."—Scott Parrott, associate professor of journalism at the University of Alabama and director of the Veterans & Media Lab

"A must-read for anyone who wants to understand personal civil-military relations as seen through the eyes of a veteran."—Brigadier General Jim Iacocca, US Army (Ret.)

"War and Homecoming: Veteran Identity and the Post-9/11 Generation is a much needed reflection on what it is to be a veteran after 20 years of war. Driven by personal experiences and shaped by scholarship, the book seriously considers the shifting identities of individuals and the complexities of social living. It is accessible while also providing insight. Any conversation about US veterans would be well informed by this work."—Steven Wahle, LCSW, University of South Carolina

"Travis Martin has created an essential work for all interested in understanding post-service life and how military experiences shape perceptions and life trajectories. There are no other works that combine first-hand experiences, literature, and scholarly knowledge. While War and Homecoming is written from a post 9/11 veteran angle, what is uncovered is timeless. Scholars, veteran-facing workers, servants of the public, and informed citizens should start their journey into the vastness of veteran life with this work."—Dr. Ernest "Luke" McClees, cofounder of the nation's first Bachelor's program in Veterans Studies at Saint Leo University

"Dr. Travis L. Martin's examination of the theory and reality of veteran identity has broadened, and in some respects begun, a national conversation about what it means and doesn't mean to be a veteran. His multidisciplinary analysis of the topic peels back entrenched layers of rhetoric to examine the core of a widely misunderstood group of people, and incorporation of his personal experience lends the work an emotional weight that renders abstract concepts in readily approachable, tangible, deeply powerful forms. The resultant book upends prevailing definitions of veterans, introduces new modes of thinking about them, and, above all, challenges audiences to recognize the individuality of each of the eighteen million veterans in the United States."—David P. Ervin, Editor-in-Chief of Military Experience and the Arts

"Travis Martin excels in assessing the journey veterans face transitioning from active service, including combat and other stressful assignments, to the homefront, with the associated challenges of adapting to community expectations – and the community's adaption to them – in their new role as veterans. It's not an easy transition, for either the veteran or the community. The expectations of both inflict stress, as the veteran strives for a purposeful individual identity while the community categorizes them as 'different' due to their unique experiences. Dr. Martin provides an invaluable service by taking us into the world of veterans and their experiences – how veterans experience military service in their individual, uniquely different ways under the broader context of military service; how they are perceived by both themselves and their community; and the challenges and opportunities created by the transition back into society. As a veteran of multiple combat-related deployments, I know firsthand how challenging it can be to have an enlightened discussion with members of my community, even within my own family. These discussions need to occur, in proper context. While I generally avoid discussion unless asked, myself and others have many experiences, from the horrendous to the humorous and everything in-between. My own wife, a wonderful, highly educated woman, fusses at me anytime I discuss the humorous, saying there is no humor in combat and no family who lost a loved one ever wants to hear it. I see her point but life, even in a combat zone, is more complicated than that. Regardless of their experience, veterans are still human. It is right, I believe, that society respects our choice to serve under challenging conditions. Dr. Martin's service is to properly contextualize that service as our veterans return to 'normal' society and strive to be 'normal' citizens in a society that is respectful and supportive, not handicapped by the burden of unrealistic expectations, whether 'patriotic' or negative in nature. This is wonderfully thought-provoking read that superbly addresses the complexity of the veterans' internal and external experience and the realistic lens through which communities can better appreciate – and honor – their service."—Brigadier General Steven Bullard (Ret.), executive director of the Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs

University Press of Kentucky

9780813195643 : war-homecoming-martin
Hardback
July 26, 2022
$27.95 USD
9780813195650 : war-homecoming-martin
Electronic book text
July 26, 2022
$27.95 USD
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Electronic book text
July 26, 2022
$27.95 USD

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