coming june 2024!
available for preorder soon
Performance played a role both crucial and complicated in the antiwar activism of the 1960s and 1970s. As soldiers and civilian actors, activists, and celebrities worked together to end the Vietnam War, their theatrical acts of solidarity and resistance connected liberation struggles across the lines of race, gender, enlisted status, and nationality.
F*ck The Army! offers the first, fully narrated history of the FTA, an antiwar variety show featuring Jane Fonda that played to tens of thousands of active-duty troops over the course of nine months in 1971. From its very conception, the civilian-led show was directed towards the project of making visible the growing antiwar movement organized by GIs, inspired by but also acting as a rebuttal to the increasingly out-of-touch USO tours presented by Bob Hope. Through an analysis of the FTA’s tactical performances of solidarity and resistance, Lindsay Goss brings into view the theatrical dimensions of the GI movement itself, revealing it as representative of the revolutionary and theatrical politics and tactics of the period. The volume highlights how, due to the movement’s subsequent historical erasure, a renewed anti-theatricality emerged from the 1960s and became a potent feature of contemporary political discourse.
The author’s deft methodological and analytic strategies, in tandem with her elegantly accessible style demonstrate how seemingly little-known performance practices can activate consequential understandings of what we thought we knew about the recent past. At the same time, she encourages essential conversations about pressing contemporary issues that demand our attention. At its core, F*ck The Army! reveals the fundamentally theatrical character of radical activism when it seeks to challenge the status quo.
For more about the book and the FTA, visit the book's dedicated webpage here.
“Nearly fifty years after the Vietnam War, the fight over how it is to be remembered in this country still rages. Central to that battle is the relationship between anti-war civilians and GIs, a relationship that is dominated by the enduring but utterly false myth of returning soldiers being spat upon by hippies and radicals. By telling, with vivid prose, the long-ignored story of the FTA show and its impact on the unprecedented movement of soldiers opposing the war, Lindsay Goss has created both a crucial historical corrective and an inspiring story of the power of art and performance in radical times.”
David Zeiger, Producer/Director of Sir! No Sir!
“A valuable contribution to political theatre discourse. F*ck the Army! addresses the complex dynamics of spectatorship and theatricality, offering a new and effective lens to think about theatre and activism in general. Her attention to the FTA show is singular in the field.”
Maurya Wickstrom, author of Fiery Temporalities in Theatre and Performance: The Initiation of History