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Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Debating the Gay Ban in the Military 0th Edition

5 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1588261465
ISBN-10: 1588261468
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An important contribution to the literature on lesbians and gays in the U.S. military.... From beginning to end, it is well-written, well-organized, and tightly conceived in every way." - Craig A. Rimmerman, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

About the Author

Aaron Belkin is assistant professor of political science and director, Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, at the University of California, Santa Barbara (CSSMM). He is coeditor of Counterfactual Thought Experiments in World Politics. Geoffrey Bateman is assistant director of CSSMM.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Lynne Rienner Pub (February 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1588261468
  • ISBN-13: 978-1588261465
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,163,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Debating the Gay Ban in the Military" is edited by Aaron Belkin and Geoffrey Bateman. The book collects the proceedings from a conference, held in December 2000, entitled "Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Is the Gay Ban Based on Military Necessity or Prejudice?" In the book's preface it is noted that views opposing the inclusion of gays in the military are underrepresented because some invitees declined to participate, and also because one invitee who supported the ban changed his position before the conference. The book focuses on the United States military.

The text is broken down into eight primary sections: (1) an introduction, (2) a historical overview, (3) an inquiry into whether or not the ban preserves soldiers' privacy, (4) an inquiry into whether or not the ban helps unit cohesion, (5) a discussion of the experience of foreign militaries, (6) a look at the cost, both financial and human, of the ban, (7) a pair of talks by two openly gay servicemen, and finally (8) an inquiry into the future of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

I found the book to be interesting and often thought-provoking. The substantial historical overview (pp. 9-49) discusses important studies of this issue, as well as significant court cases (Matlovich, Berg, Ben-Shalom, Steffan, etc.) that have challenged the ban. The discussion on foreign militaries features perspectives from New Zealand, Australia, the UK, and Israel. At times the discussion is quite moving, such as when activist Dixon Osburn discusses the impact of the ban on gay military people. Particularly fascinating are the personal stories of the two openly gay servicemen, U.S. Army officer Steve May and Royal Navy sailor Rob Nunn; both men show a human side to this controversy.
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Format: Paperback
This volume presents a number of compelling insights to the debate surrounding "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and gays and lesbians in the military. Perhaps most interesting is its treatment of the British armed forces's decision to lift its ban. A former opponent to gays in the British military--an important academic who has worked extensively with the British military--discusses openly his change of position and describes the process through which the British military began to allow gays and lesbians to serve. Considering how closely the U.S. has been working with the United Kingdom, it makes such dicussion even more relevant.
I was also struck by the excellent historical overview to the U.S. military's policies prior to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which shows the hypocrisy of the U.S. military and its ability--if it were to decide to do it--to lift the ban.
Overall, the volume balances compelling personnal narratives about the ban with an objective eye to the rich body of research that has been done on this issue.
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Format: Paperback
This collection offers an invaluable contribution to the debates about gays and lesbians serving in the military. For anyone interested in thinking through the issues rigorously, this book is a "must read."
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Format: Paperback
A compelling reading of an important, and increasingly timely, topic -- impressively well-researched and clearly written.
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How incredible to have an intellectual discussion of such a politically charged topic. This work skillfully dissects multiple viewpoints of the ongoing policy debate that have prevented gays from serving in the military. In contrast to the superficial discussion of this topic in the news media, Belkin and Bateman present a thoughtful and reflective commentary on all aspects of this complex debate. "Don't ask, Don't tell" is truly an impressive and stimulating book.
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