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June 22, 2009

Historian Marilyn B. Young to Discuss “Limited War, Unlimited” at Library of Congress, July 8

Historian Marilyn B. Young, in a lecture at the Library of Congress, will discuss the nature of America’s limited wars, from Korea to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Young, professor of history at New York University, will present "Limited War, Unlimited" at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 8, in Room 119 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are needed.

Sponsored by the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, the lecture is presented in conjunction with the National History Center’s Decolonization Seminar. The four-week seminar held at the Library brings together 15 international scholars to examine various dimensions of decolonization, primarily 20th-century transitions from colonies to nations in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. The seminar, supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is cosponsored by the American Historical Association and the Kluge Center.

According to Young, the history of the United States post-1945 is the history of how post-war administrations, while never abandoning World War II as the platonic ideal of war, were able to use military force in a limited, instrumental way. For this to be possible, they had to create a public tolerance for war as normal rather than aberrational, so normal that after awhile only those who were actively engaged in fighting it, and their families, noticed it was being fought at all. In her lecture, Young will examine the nature of these limited wars, including the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Young received her doctorate from Harvard University in 1963. She taught at the University of Michigan before joining New York University in 1980, where she is a full professor in the Department of History. Young teaches courses on the history of U.S. foreign policy; the politics and culture of post-war United States; the history of modern China; and the history and culture of Vietnam.

Young’s most recent book is "Bombing Civilians: A Twentieth-Century History" (2009). She also wrote "The Vietnam Wars, 1945-1990" (1991) and is the author and editor of many other publications.

The National History Center promotes research, teaching and learning in all fields of history. Created by the American Historical Association in 2002, the center is a public trust dedicated to the study and teaching of history, as well as to the advancement of historical knowledge in government, business and the public at large. For more information on the National History Center, visit

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate and energize one another to distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For further information on the Kluge Center, visit

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PR 09-126
ISSN 0731-3527

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