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On Historical Distance$
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Mark Salber Phillips

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300140378

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300140378.001.0001

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Epilogue My Lai and Moral Luck; or, 'Tis Forty Years Since

Epilogue My Lai and Moral Luck; or, 'Tis Forty Years Since

(p.233) Epilogue My Lai and Moral Luck; or, 'Tis Forty Years Since
On Historical Distance

Mark Salber Phillips

Yale University Press

This chapter analyzes the historical aspects of the death notices for Hugh Thompson, the American helicopter pilot who put a stop to the massacre of Vietnamese civilians at My Lai. It suggests that while the obituarists attempted to recover some sense of humanity in Thompson's life, their flat accounts did little to illuminate the source of his courageous resistance or explain the brutalities perpetrated by the men in Charlie Company at the My Lai Massacre. This chapter also suggests that histories of whatever genre can never escape the limitations of representation to become history as such.

Keywords:   death notices, Hugh Thompson, Vietnamese civilians, My Lai Massacre, humanity, Charlie Company, limitations of representation

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