Review from H-War

H-Net is a set of academic list servs. A reviewer for one of them, H-War, has published a very nice review of Brining It All Back Home.

The reviewer, Joshua Akers, writes:

“Napoli clearly demonstrates how historians should employ the subjective nature of oral histories to break down stereotypes and interpretations that pigeonhole veterans into roles such as victim. Bringing It All Back Home forces us to reconsider one principle in our own historical research: the experiences of historical actors are subjective and unique, and the interpretations we derive from these sources are likewise limited and open to counternarrative and complication. As Napoli contends, we should eschew explanatory interpretations that pretend to use the experiences of a few veterans to describe those of many.” (Read the remainder here.)

I’m grateful that the reviewer took the time to think through the implications of what I tried to accomplish.

Mr. Akers says he would have liked to have a better sense of the questions I asked in the interviews. The word-count restrictions I had to work with at a commercial publisher made it impossible to include that material in the book, and given the fact that some interviews lasted 25 hours or more, a complete list of questions asked would not be possible to assemble.

But my interview guide is on this site, and can be found here. This will provide a general sense of how I conducted these interviews.