Human Rights Review

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 59–61 | Cite as

Prisoners of America’s Wars: from the Early Republic to Guantanamo by Stephanie Carvin

New York: Columbia University Press, 2010
  • Luca FollisEmail author
Book Review

Stephanie Carvin argues that prisoners of war have been a controversial issue in practically every conflict the USA has fought. In this sense, questions concerning how to apply the laws of war to “unconventional actors” or how to ensure that an enemy will follow international standards of treatment are not unique to the Global War on Terror but have been core facets of America’s long engagement with the laws of war and its active participation in their expansion after WWII. The book, arranged in six chapters, covers America’s shifting relationship with legal warfare from pre-Revolutionary times to the present. It argues that such a historical and political analysis is necessary to shed analytical light on the abuses at Abu Ghraib and the detention policies practiced at Guantanamo Bay Facility.

Throughout the book, Carvin advances an exceptionalist interpretation of American culture. The USA’s self-image as a unique repository of democratic values and the rule of law led it to...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied Social ScienceLancaster UniversityLancasterUK

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