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Philip D. Beidler

Philip Beidler is Professor of English at the University of Alabama, where he has taught American literature since receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 1974. His books include The Good War’s Greatest Hits: World War II and American Remembering and First Books: The Printed Word and Cultural Formation in Early Alabama.


Calley’s Ghost

Bizarre as it may seem, an internet search for the name William Calley now leads you directly to his alumni association web page at Edison High School in Miami, Florida. The first thing you see is his graduation picture, class of 1962, in which he al [...]

Ted Turner et al. at Gettysburg; or, Re-Enactors in the Attic

Summer 1999 | Essays

What I do want to talk about is the packaging and marketing of the Civil War as part of a larger commodification of cultural desire in which the making of Turner's film and his participation in it become exemplary. I wish to speak, that is, about the matter of Gettysburg as a case study in the ongoing manufacture of the Civil War as the quintessential American item—a product, I will propose, not unlike its cousin, the sport utility vehicle, as dangerous as it is big and handsome, a shining exterior fabricated around the killing power of the machine.

Remembering the Best Years of Our Lives

Fifty years after the making of the Samuel Goldwyn-William Wyler film, The Best Years of Our Lives remains worthy of our remembering for its remarkably honest depiction of returning World War II veterans, and of the impact of their return upon the [...]