In this culminating work of a long and distinguished career, historian Bertram Wyatt-Brown looks at the theme of honor—a subject on which he was the acknowledged expert—and places it in a broader historical and cultural context than ever before.
Wyatt-Brown begins with the contention that honor cannot be understood without considering the role of humiliation, which not only sets victor apart from vanquished but drives the search for vindication that is integral to notions of honor. The American conception of honor is further deepened by issues of race. The author turns to the slave South to show how white and black concepts of honor differed from and contradicted each other, illuminating honor’s elusive but powerful role in our society.
He then goes on to explore these themes within a wide range of military and political contexts, from the Revolutionary War to Desert Storm, providing new insights on how honor drove decision making during many defining events in our history that continue to reverberate in the American mind.