War Stories



The Vietnam war is quite a story. And it’s a story rich with irony: the dramatic irony of unintended consequences and flawed heroes. That makes it hard, perhaps impossible, for modern artists to say much new about conflict, and explains why that war continues to resonate a half century after the US intervened there in numbers.
I take up the story in my new book, where I argue that stories of war continue to resonate, even though in the modern, liberal world almost all of us are spared the violence. Why? And why this war in particular?
We love stories, because we are conscious and unconscious seekers of meaning. Abraham Maslow put the attainment of meaning at the top of his hierarchy of human needs, and Victor Frankl built a psychological theory of meaning based on his time in Auschwitz – those who…

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