Declarations of War by Len Deighton

By Len Deighton

This superb array of news, Len Deighton's basically choice of shorter fiction, spans 23 centuries of warfare.
Deighton's gripping stories diversity from  Hannibal's march on Rome--when unusual, relocating items terrorize the troops of 1 of the hardest, such a lot skilful armies in history--to a belittled Civil conflict general's efforts to get his males to stand the accomplice military; to the sunrise skies above an artillery-blasted French battle-line the place a dogfight unfolds; to Vietnam, the place misplaced American infantrymen stumble throughout an deserted army airfield.
Each story in Declarations of War explores the results of struggle upon man's personality, the way it pushes him to behave in a dehumanized, machine-like, and infrequently extraordiary way that can bring about either strong and unwell. Deighton portrays human clash via a chain of devastating studies and exhibits how nice deeds are usually however the smallest thread within the huge cloth of war. 

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Such cases show how places may contain semantic contradictions without losing their evocative power. Conflict transforms how landscapes are read and buildings understood; battles and atrocities imbue certain places with new significance even as others seem to be forgotten. This can be observed in media coverage of wars in which dramatic headlines single out specific places or events, such as ‘The Tragedy of Guernica. Town Destroyed in Air Attack’ (The [London] Times, 28 April 1937), or more recently ‘Mostar’s Old Bridge Battered to Death’ (New York Times, 10 November 1993).

1 This introduced a period of re-nationalisation of the battlefield as a Danish memorial landscape (Adriansen 2003, 2010a, 2010c). After Germany’s entry into NATO in 1955 and Denmark’s entry into the EU in 1973 the old animosity between the two warring partners was officially forgotten, and rapprochement between the two sides within the border region began; the effect of this on the usage of Dybbøl has been seen especially since 2000. The chapter proposes that the concept of ‘biography’ – with its implication of progression through different phases as well as formative junctures, transitions, and gradual transformation – can be used as an effective means of exploring the afterlife of the battlefield and the changes in the meanings of the site.

Interestingly, there have been no significant subsequent efforts to restore buildings only partially damaged or later claims for a return to the original architecture of the town. Whereas writing the history of Gernika’s destruction and setting the facts of the destruction are still hotly debated topics in the town, the architectural changes wrought through the Franco regime seem to have been accepted to the point of being almost forgotten. Other examples debated in this volume also point to the effects of time.

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