*Starred Review* In the opening pages, portraying an infantry platoon tensely awaiting the enemy, Axe seems to start his ROTC report at the end, with new soldiers in the field. Actually, he's describing a combat exercise to home in on one of the book's four focal figures and the different objectives of students and instructors during such exercises. Both know this is play. But the cadets must go at it for real, with the trainers watching, looking especially for leadership capability. Recounting the experiences of University of South Carolina cadets, particularly those of two men and two women, Axe presents ROTC functions, such as Ranger Challenge, a competition involving skills and actions required of special forces soldiers, and Airborne School, which teaches jumping out of planes at low altitudes. He also discusses ROTC culture, which is disproportionately African American (three of the four focal students are black) and, like the professional military, biased toward men; one woman is sidelined because she can't do a pull-up suited up, and the other, an ace soldier who matches the men even at drinking, must realize she probably can't have an infantry career. Axe's concrete prose, his lack of prejudice and partisanship, and his respect for every cadet and army educator he limns, as well as for the ROTC itself, make this massively informative little book great reading. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
"David Axe offers an insightful look at a premier ROTC program, and the making of the minds and bodies of the young men and women who will be the backbone of the next generation of Army officers.... The officer candidate cameos he shapes are of highly motivated, physically fit young men and women but with a dubious facility for critical thought. Army 101 is well worth reading for what this holds for the future." - Walter C. Rodgers, former senior intelligence correspondent for CNN and author of Sleeping with Custer and the 7th Cavalry: An Imbedded Reporter in Iraq"