- File Size: 5820 KB
- Print Length: 392 pages
- Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press; 1 edition (August 29, 2007)
- Publication Date: August 22, 2007
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00440CXXE
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,659,241 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
America Town: Building the Outposts of Empire Kindle Edition
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- Length: 392 pages
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Top Customer Reviews
I would say that this is a "niche" book, so if you are not curious about how the US designs its overseas military bases or have not lived on one, then you might find this either unbelievable or boring.
Given our current controversial empire building in the Mideast, however, the way this book provides a history of how nations have always designed their occupations and then connects it to America would also appeal to anyone interested in geo-politics.
The author persuasively argues that of all the problems in US-ROK relations, inefficient land use by the US military is the number one irritant. There doesn't seem to be a solution to this conundrum, although the US suffers in the long term due to the resultant anti-Americanism in South Korea.
US bases in Okinawa and Italy are also discussed, but the major emphasis is on South Korea.
Also, the author delves into a phenomenon that most Americans would find shocking - entire communities of prostitutes, isolated from the rest of Korea, staffed by women from the ex-Soviet states and other poor countries. These women exist in a legal no-man's-land beyond the control of Korean police, and when a US soldier or a pimp commits a crime against a prostitute, the prostitute's only recourse is the US military police.
Readers should be aware that there is a strong bias here against this kind of Americanization. He seems to argue that if we must have bases at least make them opportunities for understanding the host nation (host is of course ironic, the bases in Japan and Korea are opposed by most locals). There is also the fact that hundreds of bases with huge numbers of dependents offers lots of targets for people with hostile intent,
For those who have read "America's Town," I'd like to draw your attention to the article at the link. Not only does it pay tribute to the many men and women that have fought in Iraq, but it characterizes the basing trend presented in Gillem's book, America's Town (see chapters 2 & 3).
In fairness, Camp Victory is/was a vital command and control center during coalition counterinsurgency efforts; however, the sheer number of required supporting forces and contractors resulted in the establishment of an "America Town" on the grandest scale with bright lights that could be seen by those from a poorly illuminated in Baghdad.
Today, as our military closes Camp Victory and prepares to transfer it over to the Iraqi Government, one can imagine the fate of the now vacant fast food joints, gyms, theaters, PXs, and other amenities that made life bearable for our weary troops coming in from the outlying posts (which were definitely NOT mini-America towns to be sure!) for R&R. It is doubtful these artifacts of Americana have a useful role in a modern Iraqi government center.
"An American Outpost is Packing Up," Annie Gowen, 13 Sept 2011
Well, every Op Ed needs a "so what," so here's mine... Gillem's book proposes that we as a military have a tendency to not consider the implications of our basing actions outside the fence line. In fact he writes on pp. 35, "The planning maps produced by the U.S. rarely show anything beyond the fence line.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A must for any person who deals with US base planning & operations. ATFP standards are useless and make our bases ugly....yet we still use them.... to make us "feel safe".Published on September 7, 2012 by Daniel W. Reed
While I agree with the author's assessment that many of our military installations overseas are constructed in a way that is disrespectful of the people who loaned us the land, I... Read morePublished on November 7, 2010 by SustainablePlanner
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