Coming to Terms with War: Traumas, Identities, and the Power of Words

R. Keith Schoppa, Loyola University Maryland

Tobie Meyer-Fong. What Remains: Coming to Terms with Civil War in 19th Century China. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2013. 336 pp. $40 (cloth/ebook).

Aaron William Moore. Writing War: Soldiers Record the Japanese Empire. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013. 388 pp. $45 (cloth/ebook).

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It is a fitting and revealing approach to categorize the phenomenon of war as a historical event, an existential experience, and a base for redemptive mythmaking (as envisioned by Paul Cohen in his History in Three Keys). In their works, historians Tobie Meyer-Fong and Aaron William Moore focus on experience and mythmaking in the Taiping Civil War and the Pacific Theater in World War II, respectively. This review essay highlights these two authors’ treatment of experience, with a brief look at mythmaking...