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War Stars:
The Super Weapon and the American Imagination

H. Bruce Franklin

Revised and Expanded Edition   University of Massachusetts Press   Paperback, 2008. ISBN 978-1-55849-651-4.

Comments on the original edition (1988):

"A marvelous study that weaves together some of the most important developments in US military history, a survey of popular literature, and an overview of American culture.... The story of America's conversion to belief in the efficacy of air power... is told better here than anywhere else. Franklin concludes with a penetrating discussion of the current debate over Star Wars... no source provides so profound a historical perspective to the debate as this one."
--Choice (Outstanding Academic Book Of 1989)

"In this carefully researched and revealing inquiry into American cultural history, Bruce Franklin brings to light themes of great significance.  One is the fear that we are about to be destroyed, and at the last minute are saved, miraculously, by a superweapon or superhero.  More ominously, in his words, 'the American imperial eagle' commonly turns out to be 'a bird that habitually views its own behavior as "defense" against its prey.'  Unless this pathology is understood and overcome, it will continue to cause great haarm, which we will not escape."                  --Noam Chomsky
"Thought provoking--insightful--brilliant. Franklin's analysis marks a watershed in the debate over nuclear weapons and Star Wars. He has broken new ground in this book, which will be talked about for years to come."
-Michio Kaku, Professor of Nuclear Physics, City University of New York

"In War Stars, H. Bruce Franklin writes American history from a new angle . . . It astonished me--but it was totally convincing throughout."
--Isaac Asimov

"A searing and penetrating history of the American obsession with finding a technology that will end wars forever... Its analysis of American fiction and films provides a new dimension to the subject."
--Carl Sagan

"If there is a future, and perhaps Franklin's book will help to insure there is one, then War Stars will be a classic. This book should be placed on the desks of all public officials, elected or appointed."
--John Seelye, Graduate Research Professor, U. of Florida

"A wide-ranging, highly readable, and thoroughly stimulating book. Franklin's provocative study is essential to an understanding of the ideological and popular-culture dimensions of our long national obsession with superweaponry."
--Paul Boyer, the Merle Curti Professor of History, University of California, Los Angeles

"[One of the two] most significant studies ever published in science fiction scholarship."
--Science Fiction Research Association Newsletter

"Franklin has emerged as an outstanding voice among radical critics of science fiction, and War Stars represents an important step in placing the genre within a political and historical context. The flip-flop word play in the title suggests this book's major focus; Franklin is concerned primarily with American ideology-«particularly the place of technology within an aspect of the American belief system--and its effects on foreign policy and the arms race of the postwar period. While Franklin shows the dialectical relationship between the fictive products of imagination and American history, his emphasis here... is on the political and material consequences of an ideological position and national self-image. Outspoken and compelling, War Stars' well-documented and rigorous argument... gains a specific and original force by its marshalling of evidence."
--Christopher Sharrett, Film Quarterly

"War Stars is so crammed with fascinating facts and ideas that it should interest people of all political persuasions. The author's rigorous scholarship and analytical insights are delivered in an appealingly vigorous and pungent prose. And for those trying to comprehend the powerful effect of the SDI concept on the public imagination, it should be required reading."
--Paul Brians, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

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