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Book: And Then Your Soul is Gone

Chapter: Moral Injury and U.S. War-culture

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.41859


Chapter One explores individual experiences of moral injury in the wider context of “U.S. war-culture,” beginning with a case study of one veteran’s painful struggle. But structures and social practices of U.S. war-culture, and the ideology of “the necessity of war-as-sacrifice” promote concealment of the destructiveness and costs of U.S. war, and muddle awareness of the moral injury’s devastation in the consciousness of most Americans. Chapter One also draws on two recent novels that highlight a more personal and descriptive portrayal of moral injury, The Yellow Birds, a National Book Award finalist, by Iraq veteran and author Kevin Powers; and Billy Lynn’s Halftime Walk, by Ben Fountain. These literary depictions push past concealment to a deeper understanding of the inner dynamics of moral injury, and suggest that moral injury inevitably is sourced by diverse structural and cultural factors of violence in the war-culture that lie at its roots.

Chapter Contributors

  • Kelly Denton-Borhaug ( - kdentonborhaug) 'Moravian College'