Gopnik on total war
Adam Gopnik in the current New Yorker has a thoughtful piece
on a new book by historian David Bell on the Napoleonic wars.
One of the things that will surely strike future historians about our era is the odd placidity of American cultural life at the time of a wildly unpopular war—the unexcited alternation of American death and “American Idol,” so different from the eruptions that attended Vietnam—that is a result of our not having to go there if we don’t have to. This is not exactly comforting. All wars are total to the people they kill.