Sound Targets

Sound Targets

American Soldiers and Music in the Iraq War
Jonathan Pieslak
Distribution: World
Publication date: 05/04/2009
Format: Paperback 16 b&w illus., 1 map
ISBN: 978-0-253-22087-5
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Though a part of American soldiers' lives since the Revolutionary War, by World War II music could be broadcast to the front. Today it accompanies soldiers from the recruiting office to the battlefield. For this book, Jonathan Pieslak interviewed returning veterans to learn about the place of music in the Iraq War and in contemporary American military culture in general. Pieslak describes how American soldiers hear, share, use, and produce music both on and off duty. He studies the role of music from recruitment campaigns and basic training to its use "in country" before and during missions. Pieslak explores themes of power, chaos, violence, and survival in the metal and hip-hop music so popular among the troops, and offers insight into the daily lives of American soldiers in the Middle East.

Author Bio

Jonathan Pieslak is Associate Professor of Music at the City College and Graduate Center, CUNY. He lives in New York City.


“Sound Targets reveals just how pervasively popular music has shaped contemporary U.S. military culture. . . . This thoughtful and provocative study will certainly attract a wide audience concerned with music's roles in the time of war.”
 — W. Anthony Sheppard, author of Revealing Masks: Exotic Influences and Ritualized Performance in Modernist Music Theater

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Table of Contents

1. Music in Military Recruiting
2. Music as an Inspiration for Combat
3. Looking at the Opposing Forces: An Introduction to the Music of Anti-American and Anti-Israeli Movements
4. Music as a Psychological Tactic
5. Music as a Form of Soldier Expression
6. Metal and Rap Ideologies in the Iraq War
Appendix 1: Map of Iraq
Appendix 2: Soldier E-mail and Sample Questions from Soldier Interviews
Glossary of Military Ranks