Day 17  March 13, 2003
1. Names. Carry on with journals, etc. I’ll carry the ones I have with me to Kansas, and have them back Tuesday. 
Historical overviews Tuesday, also. 

2. In the news . . . death penalty, late-term abortions, helicopter crashes, blood type mismatches in heart transplants, shootings in Times Square, freedom fries


and the mother of all bombs


and two neatly opposing views on war against Iraq:


The first of these articles calls for President Bush to stay firm and not

allow any more time than previously declared for Iraq to cooperate.  The

author seems to be in full support of Bush and a war with Iraq. The second argues that no matter what the U.N. decides, we have no right to

attack Iraq.  They state that Iraq is only guilty of minor violations,

though numerous, involving incomplete information.  The main point is that

any action against Iraq is "illegal," a violation of International Law.


Perry Leatherman

"Naturally the common people don't want war, neither in Russia, nor in
England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all,
it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always
a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a
fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.   Voice
or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the
leaders.  That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are going to
be attacked  and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and
exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country."  
n       quote by Reich Marshall Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials, a few months before he committed suicide in 1946.

The chief effect of such remarks is to make many Americans grateful that the man now running the White House isn't Jimmy Carter but instead is George W. Bush, who at the press conference showed his grasp and appreciation of all that is presently at stake.

"The risk," he said, "of doing nothing, the risk of hoping that Saddam Hussein changes his mind and becomes a gentle soul, the risk that somehow that inaction will make the world safer is a risk I'm not willing to take for the American people."

Now there's a commander in chief for you.

Bill Murchison, 


And one on the role of religion in current foreign policy:



2. On with War Memorials:  Reading novels for ideas, for social context, for what’s around the plot and the characters. Writers discover that to write well about a character, you have to fill in the whole environment around them. That environment, that social and historical matrix, is often what’s most relevant and interesting in reading novels like this one for a course like this.


So, what about the social matrix? The town hierarchy? How patriarchal is it? What about class? Race? Family? Athleticism?


A. Nolan and family: what do we learn about him in that scene where he saves Louis, 73 ff.? He’s pretty cool and decisive in a crisis, isn’t he?


his relatives?

Mother, 81 ff.

Grandma Vann 84 ff.

Nolan’s coldness 85 ff

With Laney: they finally talk a bit at the carnival.

117: “sometimes it takes a good tangle of lies to keep a relationship going”


B. Steve Pitts 74 ff., 79: sports and military as closely connected: what do they have in common, structurally? Both rites of passage, ways of proving one’s heroism/manhood at a young age? Both activities for young men? Both carrying dangers as well as opportunities, personally?


How are we supposed to think about Steve? Is he entirely unsympathetic? What complications are there? His daddy’s in jail, 79.


C. And the historical matrix? What events are remembered most? Is this where the “war memorials  business becomes clearest?

Col Hereford 87 ff, and “ditch panic”—a key idea, hmm?


Memorials and wasted lives, 113. “Patriotism had to figure into it somewhere.” 


With father, their plan to go see Horseshoe Bend. Why is it Jimmy’s so big on visiting battlegrounds?


121: “I’d won my dishonorable discharge from his army.”

Andrew Jackson: “at Horseshoe Bend he successfully annihilated a thousand-year-old tribal culture.” 122

Tump shot by arrow, 124 ff. What is it with this scene?

John Wood, Tump’s ancestor, executed for not keeping his camp site clean enough.


D.  Religion:

Brother Willis107 ff. 110 on Nolan: “The Lord makes helpers of us all.” Wow. Is that what you expect from him?


Rev. Sinclair’s 53rd sermon,115 ff. “war as an example of human error on its grandest scale.” The DAR sends a letter to J. Edgar Hoover about this obviously Communist idea, and Sinclair immediately backs down . . .


E. At the carnival:

Donna and Darwin his nephew

Laney, Steve giving her the bear 97

throwing the candy 99, and Alma (!)

The funhouse 102 ff


 Buried Treasure: off with Dell and his metal detector to find stuff.

Back for Alma’s washer and dryer, 140 ff.

She has money, she’s just changed her priorities. And there she is with her t-shirt off, 143

She kisses him, and she has plans, she offers him a job.

Question: How many would vote for Nolan to just let Laney go and take up with Alma?


Looking ahead: What does it take to be “a man” in small-town, patriotic, religious America? What does Nolan have to accomplish? How much of it is internal, and how much has to do with his relationships with others, Laney, his father, etc.? Watch for the scene with Jesus and the darts, if you haven’t gotten there yet.


Student Responses


This is a book that i really enjoy I can truly say this and that is hord for

me to say about books.  I like how this books is a book of life and its fast

reading and keeps you into it.  The only thing that I am confused about with

the book is the title, after reading nearly 2/3 of the book I don't

understand why the title of the book is what it is.  I came up with an idea

about what it means, I think it has soemthing to do with how the whole town

revolves around war and people that served in the armed forces.  Hopefully

it will come more clear to me as I finish the book.  I don't like how the

town looks at Nolan as a failure because he did not follow his father's

footsteps.  I think Nolan is a great man that has had alot of bad breaks in

life and just needs to take more control of his life and he will be okay. 

The other part of the book that I have a problem with is how when it

switches chapters Nolan doesn't finish his story from before.  Especially

with the Cottonmouth story i really want to know what happened to Louis and

Grace.  I can only hope i find out more as I read more into the book. 

Overall I am glad i have an oppurtunity to read this book.

I tried hard to find an article not dealing the war and I finally.  This one

to me is an issue that has been stuck on the back burner for a long time. 

To me its not that the man is on death row and people say he got a injust

trial because of an all white jury.  To me its the death penalty issue.  I

do not agree with the death penalty at all, I feel that it does nothing to

prevent murders, I feel that it is a way out for the prisoners who commited

the crime.  To me the death penalty is only legal murder and don't

understand where the people that put people on death row feel that they are

in a postion to hand out such a penalty.  We are all humans and the bible

tells us not to judge so why do certain people think they can judge and end

another person's life to me that is very hypocritical to everything America

is based on.  This is just my opinion.


Adam Meekhof




I found War Memorials to be a very comical book. I like it much better than the missing peice and found it similar to that of color purple. It has  a style all it's own, even from the very beginning where the first sentance captures your attention right away about his fathers life and deaths. Nolan comes across to me as kind of careless. Well no that he doesn't care, he just deals with what life has dealt him quietly and passively. he seems broken and i'm not sure what the point of the book was. All these terrible things in his life: wife with a boyfrined, living behind his fathers legacy, getting fired by his father for insurance fraud, he is a repo man. Sounds like he killed his mom accidentally by giving her a drug in her IV she was allergic to, i wonder if he even communicates with his wife much, do they even have sex, or is the baby obviously not his? He doesn't have a close relationship with anyone, he may have used to with his father as a child but him not being a vetran or having anything to do with the war or service sets him apart and looked down upon. It is kind of depressing the life he leads but the book keeps my attention, kind of funny somehow.Also interesting how the war and religion plays a part of people in the town. I'm not sure where the book went or what the point was, maybe just showing the life of a struggling man figuring out who he is and his purpose in this world.

I responded previously to an abortion issue a couple weeks ago. Well the article i'm repondidng to this week was found in the called "challenges to abortion bill defeated." It gives information about how the senate brushed aside twin challenges proposed to banning a controversial abortion procedure that occurs later in pregnancy during the 20th and 26th week of pregnancy.

With a 60-38 vote, the senate first shot down this propsal with the exceptions for health of the mother, but moment later with a 56-42 vote lawmakers rejected a call to have it rewritten . It cleared for passage to ban partial birth abortion. One doctor commented that it is not medically necessary and the bill doesn't protect the health of women.

This bill prohibits doctors from commiting an overt act designed to kill a partially delivered fetus described where the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother. The legislation includes an exemption in cases in which the procedure is neccesary to save the kife of the mother. Supporters say the bill wouls outlaw an act that is not neccasry and in which the fetus would survive if pregnacy were allowed to continue. This bill wouldn't ban abortion and doesn't get government out of the picture it just draws a line on late-term pregnancies.

Anyhow, this has been going on simce 1995 and has almost torn Americans like slavery did and still there is no action, no banning but lots of opinions and bitterness. It's still a mothers right. This just seems like one of those issues that isn';t going anywhere, the senate and supreme court, the people, ect just keep turning circles aroudn the issue whatever happens not everyone will be satistfied. Personally yeah i think partial birth abortions is not right, although i am pro-abortion in the earlier statges, when the fetus is able to survive i find it barbaric.

Brooke Diller



            So far I have been extremely surprised by the book “War Memorials”. When I first read the name I figured it would be a boring book with facts and dates, but this book is really entertaining. I find myself very amused by Nolan and the other characters and I am consistently picking up the book and reading it at random times.

            One area in the book that I was amazed by was when Tump gets the arrow in his back. At first I was very confused about what was going on because no one seemed to be taking the situation to seriously including Tump. Tump for the most part is just joking around about the floors being dirty. There are only a few times when he seems to be seriously worried. But I thought this fit into the mode of the book perfectly. Every issue in this book seems to be taken in a not panicky way. A perfect example would be the fact that Nolan knows that his wife, Laney, is having an affair but just keeps on going with his life like nothing is wrong. For most people this would be a huge deal. This section of the book also does a great job of illustrating how important war heroes are. While Tump is sitting in pain he finds out that one of his relatives who died in the Jackson war did not die being a hero, but instead was executed by his officers for not cleaning his area. There are little moments in the book like that that points out how important war veterans are and how respected they are in the community.

            Another new thing that is taking place in the book is Alma. Alma is the woman that Nolan is taking an interest in. This is very surprising because Nolan this whole time has seemed only into Laney even though she is with Steve Pitts. So him being interested in Alma is very shocking especially since she does not seem like the type of girl he would go for. One can tell Nolan is starting to care less and less about Laney as Alma enters the picture. A good example of this is when Nolan and Dell are going to help Alma takes some stuff out to her grandpa’s and Nolan makes the comment “Even if Laney might one day shot me dead” (149). He refereeing to the fact that he would do anything that Alma wanted no matter what. I think it is very good for Nolan to be getting over Laney because apparently she is not to worried about making their marriage last. I think them both need to talk and get a divorce.

         I found the article “Arm chopper crashes on N.Y. base” in the MSNBC News website: A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed near Fort Drum several days ago. This is the type of helicopter that usually drops soliders off in the middle of action. So this type of helicopter is use to landing in rough terrain and it is surprising that it crashed. At the time of this article no one was sure as to why the helicopter crashed. All that was known was that it lost radio contact right before going down. No one was killed but some people were taken to a local hospital for treatment. Local people said that the helicopter was making funny noises before going down.

Andrea Lehman

Becky Leatherman

Response #4


I am really enjoying reading the novel War Memorials by Clint Mc Cown.  It’s a very interesting story of a man’s life and his struggle to find out where he belongs.  Nolan has so many issues that he is struggling with.  He has strained relationships with both his father and his wife.  Nolan’s relationship with Lacey is very interesting to me.  They both refuse to talk to each other.  It seems like they try to pretend the issues are not there, in hopes they will go away.  Nolan does not tell Lacey he lost his job with his father, because he knows it will upset her.  But he also refuses to tell Lacey about saving Grace’s son when he was bitten by a snake.  During the carnival side show, the leader points out Nolan’s good deed, but he refuses to admit anything to Lacey, even if it might restore him a little bit in her sight. 


Nolan’s relationship with his dad is also very interesting.  I think that Nolan deciding not to ask his father for his job back is a good thing.  I think Nolan believes that all his life, he was following in his fathers legacy.  Until Nolan figures out who he is he will not be able to live his own life.  I think Nolan has come to realize this, too, and that is why he decides not to ask for his job back.  He knows that he will always be in his father’s war hero shadow unless he makes a name for himself. 


This article is about three House cafeterias that changed the name of French fries to Freedom Fries and French toast to Freedom toast because the US is mad at the French government.  The article stages that Congressman Jones said, “Watching France's self -serving politics of passive aggression in this effort has discouraged me more than I can say."   I have to wonder what the French think about our politics--if it is self serving or not.

Personally, I think that it is ridiculous.  It reminded me of what I learned in high school about WWII when the government changed the name of sauerkraut to liberty cabbage. 



Of what I read what really stuck out to me was the chapter Monsters of the Midway.  I thought it was intresting to see how Nolan reacted to children (concidering his wife was pregnant).  I thought the scene where there are stuck in the ferriswheel and Nolan clams Darwin down by throwing RedHots was funny, espically when Nolan threw the box down and they all got stuck in the girls hair.  Later on in the chapter it was sort of a relief to see Nolan and Laney finnally have some sort of conversation, and it was a pleasant conversation which in-a-way shocked me.  In this chapter alot of stuff happens... Nolan and Laney finally have a conversation, and Laney finds out that Nolan had lost his job with his father.  I think her response, to finding out was shocking as well.  I almost expected her to get mad, but instead she just says, "Maybe when he (Nolan's Father) goes on break, you could ask him about getting your job back."


This article focused on the recent deaths of two young people, a one year old child and a 15yr old girl.  They both had died because they had a heart transplanted in them which the blood type didn't match.  They were both type A blood and got a heart from a Type O blood donor.  This type of mismatch is one of the most dangerous types of blood mismatches.  The article stated that in the last 15 years only about 12 mismatches have occurred, but that number could be wrong.  In 1989 Dr. David K. C. Cooper surveyed 77 heart transplant centers around the globe.  66 centers responded to having done 4895 transplants, they also responded that a total of 6 patients had mistakenly been given donor hearts w/incompatible blood types.  However... of those 6, only 2 of the mismatched transplants had been reported in medical journals.  There was of course the 11 centers that did not respond to the surevey, so the numbers could be a little different.


-Laura Prickett


War Memorial response

Jenny Lehman





            Even though I have not finished reading the book “War Memorials” I must say that I have found what I have read to be quite enjoyable. I like that fact that this book isn’t as shocking and dramatic as “The Color Purple” and that the author uses a lot of humor. I found the part when the lizard was killed by the window to be particularly funny, probably because it struck me as odd that a woman would take to a lizard the way that Laney did and also the fact that it climbed to the window to hear her voice was also amusing.  In the midst of this humor there are many issues that delve deeper than just the everyday occurrences of some random guy. The issue of war and its effect, not only on the soldiers involved, but also on rural communities is quite interesting. I thought it also interesting that the author portrays Nolan’s father as a valiant soldier who isn’t entirely proud of the fact that he had killed people. Too often do we glorify soldiers when what they do is kill people? Not that I am not thankful for the freedoms and liberties that were given to me by those who fought in wars, but I think that everyone should recognize the fact that war is not a glorious thing, however necessary it may be at times.

            There is not much to really say about the book at this time without rehashing the entire thing but I do think that many important issues are being addressed in such a way that the book is actually quite enjoyable to read.

 This story was about Elizabeth Smart, who was abducted from her home in Salt Lake City, Utah this past June. She was actually found alive which is definitely exciting. The odd thing is she wasn’t very far away from her home so I am curious as to how she wasn’t found sooner.



I was concerned that this book was going to be really boring, but I was

pleasantly surprised.  I found the plot captivating, and I was especially

fascinated by the complex serious of lies he was living out.  The way he and

his wife left all those important things left unsaid just kept my attention.

  i was pretty shocked by the way things turned out between nolan and his

wife.  I felt bad for the guy, mostly.  His wife was having an affair, his

dad fired him, he really had nowhere to go to get everything off his chest. 

He was always watching to make sure his lies weren't discovered.  In the

end, however, everything comes out, and everything improves.


The first of these articles calls for President Bush to stay firm and not

allow any more time than previously declared for Iraq to cooperate.  The

author seems to be in full support of Bush and a war with Iraq. The second argues that no matter what the U.N. decides, we have no right to

attack Iraq.  They state that Iraq is only guilty of minor violations,

though numerous, involving incomplete information.  The main point is that

any action against Iraq is "illegal," a violation of International Law.


Perry Leatherman



A Response to “War Memorials” by Clint McCown


            “War Memorials” is the story of a man in his early thirties, whose life is on the edge of total failure. The book is easy to read because of the simple everyday language used and the pace of the story. What I like most about the book is how the storyteller narrates his life in a very sarcastic and morbidly funny way, even though his life is very depressing. He is very honest in telling the reader about his failures and mistakes.

Alongside telling his personal story, the narrator introduces the reader to his father and other World War II veterans, and also to his grandmothers. I find the historical facts referred to by the veterans very interesting since I have a curiosity for history.

“War Memorials” is a book that sparked my motivation to read from the first pages. Clint McCown definitely did a good job grabbing my attention in the first couple sentences. I am excited to finish reading the book and to discover the whole story.




Hahahaha!!! Even though the plans for war are very sad and disruptive, the irony in this whole war-situation is almost hilarious. An article in the New York Times written by Thom Shanker covered an interesting story. This past Tuesday, March 11, the Air Force ‘successfully’ tested the largest conventional bomb in the American arsenal, “a munition so massive that its 18,000 pounds of high explosives must be dropped from the rear of a cargo plane” (Shanker). This bomb, also called the ‘Mother Of All Bombs’, is designed to create a wave of fire when dropped and to blow up hundreds of yards. This new bomb, still in the test phase, could be used against Iraq if President Bush decides to go to war. And why does Bush want to attack Iraq again? Because Saddam Hussein MIGHT hide weapons that could be used against America and its allies. Hahahahaha!!! Does this make any sense?! It is ok for the USA to design and develop bombs that can “kill troops, flatten trees, knock over structures, collapse cave entrances and, in general, demoralize those far beyond the impact zone” (Shanker) in a split of a second, but other countries are not allowed to posses weapons the like? Nuclear or not, all weapons are designed intending to kill. So someone please tell me what justifies this Mother Of All Bombs?!

Link used:

                                                                                                          Caroline Moons

I have really enjoyed reading the first part of the book "War Memorials."  Currently at this point in the book I am not really sure what direction it is heading, but I think it is based on Nolan's different life experiences.  At the beginning of the book he is fired by his father from his job.   This causing a big strain in their relationship.  I know that Nolan was not right in doing some of his dealings, however I have to say I was a little shocked his own father would fire him without even a warning.  Another issue Nolan continously struggles with is the fact his wife is pregnant with another man's baby.   She is pretty open about her secret relationship, but she does not have a clue her husband knows and maybe she does not really care for that matter.  Nolan excepts the secret relationship better than most people would and does not bother to confront his wife about it.   It kind of surprised me everytime he refers to the relationship in the book, he does not appear to care.  I cannot help but wonder why, his wife decided to have an affair, maybe the couple just was not getting along as well as they did in the past.   I hope to find out as I continue to read the book.  Nolan's new job working for his cousin kind of sounds a little inlegal to me and I wonder how long it is going to be before the job causes him problems or gets him in trouble.  Overall I get the impression that Nolan has a pretty carefree attitude.   It also  seems as if he keeps alot of secrets from different people, for example his wife does not know he has a different job, or that he knows about her affair.  I found it interesting when his father started talking about his life in the military during World WarII.   I think the most interesting part was that Nolan's father never talked about it in the past and all of a sudden started talking about it in the restrant.  Overall, I think this is a very interesting book and I am looking forward to reading the rest.  


 The article I chose for today was from Fox News.  It was about eight people being shot at an arcade in New York Time's Square.  A brawl began in a nightclub above the arcade in Time's Square.  Police are continuing to look for two suspects, they currently have three people in custody of weapons.   The police say the brawl was not gang related.  Gun shots were heard in the club, leading all 350 people in there to panic and run for the excits, leaving some people to be trampled on the way.  All the victims were between the ages of 17 and 25 years old.


Amanda Egley