UP Week, Day 4: Dive into Crash Course by H. Bruce Franklin

It’s already Day 4 of University Press Week. With today’s focus on history, we’re excited to highlight acclaimed cultural historian H. Bruce Franklin’s new history book/memoir Crash Course: From the Good War to the Forever War. Franklin offers a set of hard-learned lessons about modern American history. We don’t want to give too much away about the book (you should read it!), but we’ll leave these nice words from blurbers and critics here…

A compelling memoir mixed with original historical research leading to fresh interpretations of the permanent war culture.” -Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“It’s especially stunning for me personally, to read Franklin’s gripping account of the era we both lived through–three years apart in age–and to realize that we followed the same unusual trajectory in beliefs and attitudes: both committed Cold Warriors at the outset–my service in the Marine Corps and working on nuclear war plans in the Pentagon overlapping his active service in the Strategic Air Command rehearsing the catastrophic enactment of such plans–his disillusion with the Vietnam war and his turn to active resistance shortly preceding my own. Readers of any age will find this an exciting and startlingly self-aware memoir of a life transformed in our dangerous epoch, and most will find in it radically new perspectives on these perilous times, up to the present mind-boggling moment. A terrific book!” -Daniel Ellsberg, author of The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner

“Two threads are skillfully interwoven in this absorbing memoir: the record of a remarkable life, with rich and varied experience; and astute analysis of the background of critical historical events. The outcome is a fascinating picture of post-World War II America, all under the grim shadow of ‘forever war.’” -Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor Emeritus, MIT, author of Requiem for the American Dream

“A scorching overview of the militarization of America that is simultaneously the engrossing autobiography of an historian who came of age in World War Two and the early Cold War years. Crash Course is a vivid and sobering eyeopener for readers at every level from students to fellow seniors to everyone in between.” -John Dower, MIT Ford International Professor of History, Emeritus, and author of The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II

“A passionate activist scholar, Franklin skillfully harnesses his lively and scrupulously candid autobiography to a deeply researched history of the emergence in the U.S. since World War II of what he calls the Forever War, which he places in compelling counterpoint to the growth of the wide-spread anti-war movement and allied progressive causes to which he himself was an important contributor.  A terrific read.” -Michael Cowan, Professor Emeritus, American Studies, University of California Santa Cruz and author of City of the West

Crash Course is a fabulous blend of exceptional memoir and astute political analysis. A quintessential American story of political coming-of-age. Highly recommended.” -Richard Falk, Professor Emeritus, International Law, Princeton University, and author of Palestine’s Horizon: Toward a Just Peace

“Brooklyn boy, New York Longshoreman, US Air Force Navigator, English Professor, and human rights and anti-war activist, H. Bruce Franklin is one of our most important and enduring public intellectuals. Part memoir and part historical analysis, Franklin’s newest book explains how our ‘glorious atomic victory in World War II’ carried us relentlessly into the disastrous Vietnam War and our present campaigns in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Will we ever learn? Crash Course should be required reading by every American.” -John Carlos Rowe, University of Southern California, and author of The Cultural Politics of the New American Studies

“Only the late great Howard Zinn comes close to H. Bruce Franklin as truth-telling historian whose ‘the personal is political’ oeuvre should be read by every American, left or right, who aspires to be informed beyond headlines and rumor. Franklin’s Crash Course: From the Good War to the Forever War, meticulously researched, factually inarguable, is also a fascinating memoir in which the past is always prologue to the nearly out-of-body experience in which we find ourselves today. From 1939 through WWII to Korea to Vietnam to Iraq to Afghanistan to Syria to whatever is next: isn’t it time we figure out how we got here? May H. Bruce Franklin’s incendiary Crash Course crash into discussion on every street corner, in every board room, classroom, and bedroom in these our United States, and in the world beyond.” -Jayne Anne Phillips, National Book Award Finalist, author, Machine Dreams and Lark & Termite

“This is a deeply personal and compelling account of Franklin’s lifelong entanglement with America’s perpetual war state, from his youthful enthusiasms, to his years of flight in the Strategic Air Command, to his sustained resistance to the Vietnam War, which changed his life in so many ways.  Franklin has been one of the major scholars of America’s post-WWII commitment to war as policy, and here we learn how that happened. It’s a rousing and inspirational life story!” -Kim Stanley Robinson, Hugo Award winner and author of New York 2140

“A required course for everyone concerned about how militarization has shaped American society and national identity from World War II through interventions in Korea and Vietnam to the current endless war on terror. Especially engaging is the interweaving of personal memoir and political analysis, of social life and foreign policy, by one of our greatest myth busters.” -Amy Kaplan, University of Pennsylvania, author of Our American Israel: the Story of an Entangled Alliance