• Michael A. Messner
Cover of Guys Like Me: Five Wars, Five Veterans for Peace

Men, masculinity, and militarism are so often seen to be in such close (and mythically heroic) correspondence, the war veteran-as-peace-advocate is sometimes viewed as an oxymoron. This is precisely what interests sociologist Mike Messner. In Guys Like Me (a reference to the phrase his own WWI veteran grandfather used to describe ordinary working-class soldiers), Messner writes, war veterans are rendered simultaneously invisible (due in part to the lack of a draft, which makes the dangers of war ever more distant from the privileged classes), and hyper-visible (mostly through a highly choreographed ‘honor the troops public mantra promoted by commercial interests and politicians). The actual experiences of war veterans are rarely visible to the general public, except perhaps in occasional human-interest profiles of vets as jobless, limbless victims. Least audible still have been the voices of combat veterans who become advocates for peace. In this time of apparently permanent warfare, it is as important as ever for the general public to engage in informed discussions of past, current and future wars. Guys Like Me illuminates the intergenerational stories and voices of five men--veterans of five wars--who became lifelong advocates of peace. Messner uses life history interviews to bring forward the voices of five such men.--Provided by publisher.


Messner, Michael A. Guys Like Me: Five Wars, Five Veterans for Peace. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2019.