A Violent Peace offers a radical cultural account of the midcentury transformation of the United States into a total-war state. As the Cold War turned hot in the Pacific, antifascist critique disclosed a continuity between U.S. police actions in Asia and a rising police state at home. Writers including James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, and W.E.B. Du Bois discerned in U.S. domestic strategies to quell racial protests and urban riots the same logic of racial counterintelligence structuring America's devastating hot wars in Asia.
Christine Hong examines the centrality of U.S. militarism to the Cold War cultural imagination. She assembles a transpacific archive—including war writings, Japanese accounts of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, black radical human rights petitions, Korean War–era G.I. photographs, Filipino novels on guerrilla resistance, and Marshallese critiques of U.S. human radiation experiments—and places these materials alongside U.S. government documents to theorize these works as homologous responses to unchecked U.S. war and police power. In so doing, Hong shows how the so-called Pax Americana laid the grounds for solidarity—for imagining collective futures of total liberation.
About the author
Christine Hong is Associate Professor of Literature and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has written on current politics in outlets including The Nation and has appeared on Democracy Now! and Al Jazeera.
"A Violent Peace is a tour de force, a brilliant rebuttal to the myth of America as defender of human rights abroad and racial justice at home. Christine Hong demonstrates how radical black and Asian intellectuals' penetrating critiques represent the real democratizing project.Beautifully written and persuasively argued, this book is a seismic shift in Cold War cultural history and our geopolitical imagination."
—Robin D. G. Kelley, University of California, Los Angeles
"Bursting with brilliance, clarity, and insight, this stunningly original and expansive work excavates the cross-racial, transnational origins of today's militarized modernity. Christine Hong unearths the hidden linkages between race, capital, and occupation in making our postwar global order and points us to alternative conceptions of community and solidarity that defy the borders of modern sovereignty. This book is a game-changer."
—Chandan Reddy, University of Washington