“Tourists in Uniform” examines the conjunction of tourism and American empire-building through the Pocket Guide series of guidebooks published by the US Department of Defense, one of the largest travel publishers of the Cold War era. The Pentagon used these publications to present its hundreds of thousands of troops with an enticing vision of the delightful discoveries that awaited them overseas. They were also employed by military officials as essential instruments of ideological indoctrination, with narratives that attempted to inculcate in American personnel a worldview grounded in a pivotal twentieth-century assumption: the United States and its allies are forces for good, defending freedom and democracy on every part of the planet. And the pocket guides stressed the various ways that these US military tourists would serve as grassroots diplomats or “ambassadors of goodwill” in Washington's ongoing struggle against the putative communist menace.
Skip Nav Destination
Other| October 01 2017
Scott Laderman; Tourists in Uniform: American Empire-Building and the Defense Department's Cold War Pocket Guide Series. Radical History Review 1 October 2017; 2017 (129): 74–102. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01636545-3920691
Download citation file: