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AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes from Military Service -- and How It Hurts Our Country Paperback – Bargain Price, May 1, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“AWOL drives home...the need to address the evaporating sense of duty and service to our nation.” (General Les Palm (retired), President and CEO Marine Corps Association )
“AWOL is unique in its scope, intent and implications. [It] is clearly written and meticulously researched.” (Leatherneck Magazine )
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Top Customer Reviews
The book starts with an astonishing anecdote. The draft was initiated for World War I because Congress thought too many of the country's elites would rush to fight (and maybe die) for the country!
That concept simply could not even be comprehended today, where the children of our current elected leaders in Washington, DC, with a few noticeable exceptions, would rather avoid serving the country in the military.
The authors identify several symptoms of the problem: Recruiters who are discouraged from even bothering to look for potential troops at elite private universities, and instead recruit from state and small Christian schools in the south; the hostility of some parents to recruiters even talking to their children; and the rise of the "me" culture and the attendant devolution of the call to service (We certainly never heard that call after 9/11).
This is an important book. While the authors sometimes get bogged down or distracted--for example in their attempt to give a brief history of four different schools of thought of US foreign policy (leave that to Walter Russell Meade please)--their thesis is powerful and important. Besides, some of their most moving sections are from testimonials from current and former servicemembers on what duty and service means.
I highly recommend this book.
The book provides observations and yes, research, and although I have very minor quibbles, (Kathy, gives Clinton too much credit, although she is at times critical as well and while the military did a fine job, the stopping of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo has in reality, just caused other problems in reverse; and Frank supports a lottery draft, potentially problematic, albiet historically, it works more often than not - I prefer Kathy's option) these two authors provide great analysis and insight.
The strengths of this book are many: one, on how the military recruits on college campus and spends its money on ROTC programs faults our leaders for not engaging the upperclass. While this is understandable due to ivy league hostilities, it still needs to be pursued; two, the lack of moral clarity among our upperclasses ("me" and my "choice") is staggering and since these are the people generally with money, they are ripe for politcal leadrership, therefore, possibly using military men and women for their gains in foreign worlds, while not always properly equiping this same military to do the job; thirdly, the "not for people like us" is insightful and speaks to a snobbish group, again, lacking any moral clarity, especially when sacrafices are needed from them.Read more ›
Especially interesting is how she shares growing up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, attending Bryn Mawr College and basically living a wonderful life, lacking in nothing. Being an active Democrat, working in the Clinton White House where on page 14 she writes 'The military people we knew were so impressive - tall and direct, knowledgeable about their jobs, dedicated'. Not what some of us were led to believe by some 'conservatives' who suggested the Clinton White House detested the military.
Frank writes of 1970 and getting married to Genie whom he raves about and how they to led a life surrounded by the right people and then 1999 arrived and his youngest son, John, was about to ship off to boot camp on Parris Island. The way he writes of what an eye opening experience this was is excellent. Bearing in mind these are families where military service wasn't the norm.
Unlike my family where my Dad was a POW during WW2, my husband was in the California National Guard and foster sons now serve in the guard with one due to ship to Iraq this month. My ancestors have fought in every war going back to the before we were a government. Some traveled west with Captain Fremont on his trek to California who over saw the first California Volunteer Militia. I also note that we all attended college.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is basic reading for those who want to more fully understand the most gruesome separation of the classes in the U.S. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Ingersoll1969
Everyone needs to read this, regardless of your views on politics or social issues. Exposes a dangerous problem that needs a remedy.Published on November 2, 2013 by JonBlaine
I had to read this for a political theory class and I'm so glad I did! It made me appreciate and better understand my own service to the country. Read morePublished on December 4, 2012 by Rachael Bassett
Should be required reading for all citizens. They raise a serious question that needs to be answered before this country can really get back on track. Shared sacrifice? Read morePublished on October 31, 2012 by David Gold
The authors cover every imagineable aspect of national service or lack thereof and it is done without castigation of those too elite to serve.Published on May 1, 2011 by Arthur C. Schefler
If nothing else, this book puts into perspective some of the social/economic classes in the US, and their relationship with the military today, versus what it was not too long ago. Read morePublished on July 17, 2010 by K-9
This book is a wonderful read, and condenses the current mindset of the upper class against the military, resulting in the lack of upper class sons and daughters in our military. Read morePublished on January 26, 2010 by Rough Customer