Saturday, March 13, 2010

Online Pub

The Michigan War Studies Review has published an essay of mine. It's called "Remaking Memory or Getting It Right? Saving Private Ryan and the World War II Generation" and it can be found here.

I would love to hear your thoughts.


Mark said...

A well-written and interesting article, Tom. A good use of both historiography and film-historiography (I wanted to make up a word there, but couldn't make it work). You maybe could've said something about how Spielberg uses (or maybe doesn't use) the men's questioning of their mission to explore their feelings about their larger motivations in the war, and it might've been interesting to say something about "Band of Brothers" and "The Pacific" (although you haven't seen that one yet) in comparison. But those are very small points, and not all that necessary to your argument.

Tom said...

Thanks Mark. Those are both good points. I do consider "Band of Brothers" to be an extension of "Saving Private Ryan" thematically (and in production).

I have not watched "The Pacific" yet, but my impression is that we are drifting into interpretations of WWII that are more almost nihilistic, emphasizing the horror of it all more than what it accomplished. That said, my understanding of "The Pacific" is that there are vets at the beginning of each episode, and I think their presense will make the miniseries take on many of the same characteristics balancing history and memory that I was trying to get at in the essay.

dcat said...

Tom --
I like the piece too. You've always liked SPR as a movie more than I do, but I like the way you integrate the filmography (is that the word you were thinking of, Mark?) into the essay and I like the larger argument. I'd prefer more anger, as a general rule. I'm going to post your piece soon.


Tom said...

Reader Rob writes in:

"I liked the article, Tom and thought it was well written. Specifically, I liked your summation at the end of what the overall theme, if you will, was of the film. I think most men and women fight to keep what we have and for that better tomorrow we all hope for.

I think you were correct in saying that Capt. Miller's line of "Earn This" sums up what, I believe, a majority of those in uniform believe. Basically, I will fight and give my life for others to enjoy what they have; but they need to not forget how they enjoy that life, and therefore must always earn what has been granted them.

It is why I, and many like me, signed on that dotted line and were/are willing to do what it takes to keep our country great as it is.

For me, those words 'Earn this' are very powerful, and should not be forgotten, and is why it was my first tattoo. Some people may say that's really lame/stupid. But I, personally feel very strongly about it. For me, it is a constant reminder to do my part in keeping this country strong."

Mark said...


That might be the word, but I'm not in film studies, so I don't know if they use filmography the way we use historiography.