At first there were no words to describe the horror of
September 11, only a national hush that expressed the sudden absence of so many innocent lives. ^L
Then the floodgates opened: eyewitness accounts, expert analyses, bitter denunciations, tributes to fallen heroes, patriotic exortations, eulogies.spin. Almost immediately, the Bush Administration and the media launched an unprecendented rhetorical campaign aimed at manufacturing support for the "War on Terror."
A fascinating glimpse into the full impact of 9/11 on
America's psyche, War of Words takes a critical look at the strategic use of language to create a series of national transformations: A terrorist attack became an "act of war," requiring commensurate response. The President, until then the butt of national jokes, ascended to Commander in Chief, while the leader of the city we love to hate became "America's mayor." TV ads for cars and clothing featured flags and firemen, showing that 'consumerism is patriotism'.
With a keen ear for the hidden messages in our national stories, Sandra Silberstein unearths the dark side of this patriotic rhetoric, including the attacks on those who question U.S. policy and the denunciation of liberal intellectuals by the conservative American Council of
Trustees and Alumni.
Timely and penetrating, War of Words shows how the stories we told after the attacks fashioned a post-9/11 American identity and reinscribed our national beliefs. "War of Words is a compelling analysis of the way language was used in the political construction of the horrifying historical events of September 11th. Silberstein's analysis gives us a fresh look at the juggernaut of world politics as it is constructed in the linguistic actions of the media, of world leaders, and of the ordinary people who experience world events." --Ron Scollon, Georgetown University