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To Benning and Back: The Making of a Citizen Soldier - My Journals of Daily Life in U.S. Army Basic Training and Officer Candidate School, from Private to Second Lieutenant, from First Call to Lights Out, and Yes, Everything in Between.

4.6 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1588320698
ISBN-10: 1588320693
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

[November 2002, Bloomington, Ind.]
How Cool is Khaki?
New Book Depicts 9/11 and Army Life from a Gen-X Perspective.

Rarely are the words "cool" or "hip" used to describe military life, but a unique new book from Unlimited Publishing LLC titled "To Benning and Back" may change the way young adults view what serving their country means in post-9/11 America.

"To Benning and Back: The Making of a Citizen Soldier" recounts the daily, blow-by-blow journal entries of NYC-based actor Monroe Mann, as he completed Basic Training and Officer Candidate School, became an officer in the Army National Guard, and saw duty at Ground Zero on September 11, 2001.

On October 7, 2002, Mann (Age 25) appeared on CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Reports in a lively broadcast highlighting Mann’s remarkable life as an actor, "gung-ho motivator," author of two books, and as a "Citizen Soldier" in the Army National Guard who served in NYC on 9/11. This book tells the rest of the story.

Written in the style and language of today’s youth, "To Benning and Back" speaks to young Americans on their own terms, offering a refreshing new view of duty, honor and country for the 21st century.

About the Author

Monroe Mann is a citizen-soldier. In the civilian world, he is a professional actor; the founder and president of the Unstoppable Actors Business School in New York City; the CEO of Loco Dawn Films, LLC; and the author of the best-selling inspirational guidebook for artists, "The Theatrical Juggernaut: The Psyche of the Star." One weekend a month, and two weeks a year, however, and whenever duty calls, he is Second Lieutenant Mann, Military Intelligence, United States Army. Hooah.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Unlimited Publishing (November 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1588320693
  • ISBN-13: 978-1588320698
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,007,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I went through Marine Corps bootcamp over 16 years ago and I continue to serve in the Army Reserves today. After all these years I could still relate to this book. This unique book shares the trials and tribulations shared by all who experience bootcamp or basic training regardless of the branch. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is considering joining the military or who is simply interested in the military experience. I look forward to reading volumes II & III as well as other books by Monroe. Also,check out his website at [...].
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Format: Paperback
Lt Mann captures what it is like to go through basic combat training and OCS. He lays out the good and bad of the US Army training methods for making warriors. Reminds me of the training when I went through in the 70's. He accurately captures the smell, feel, and fatigue of learning to operate in a new environment with new stress etc. He captures the essence of the training base Army. A fine read for someone who has gone through and wants to relive the experience- or for a prospective soldier wanting to know what to expect! I can't recommend this book highly enough and look forward to his next work. It is good to have a real patriot in the entertainment field. And thanks to his family for suppoort of this soldier.
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Format: Paperback
Monroe Mann's "To Benning and Back: The Making of a Citizen Soldier" is an honest portrait of the United States Army's Basic Training at Fort Benning and the New York Army National Guard's Officer Candidate School at Camp Smith. Military literary sketches are often crowded with heroic jargon and feats of super hero performances, whereas, LT Mann's story tells of the heartache and uncertainty a soldier feels while undergoing some of the toughest training in the military. He holds nothing back. Not even the heroic jargon and super hero feats. This is Monroe's honest story of his ups and downs, his highs and lows, his good decisions and his bad. "To Benning and Back..." should be required reading for anyone considering the Army National Guard's Officer Candidate School.

Hooah,

Rudy
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Format: Paperback
Monroe Mann's "To Benning and Back" is very inspiring and a great read as well. This is a fantastic book for anyone interested in better understanding the journey from citizen to Army Officer. I have read other books on this subject, but Monroe Mann's book provides the most personal insight into what one might expect to experience, and feel, while navigating through the entire process. I highly recommend this book.

ENS Rick - US Navy Reserve
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Format: Paperback
Just read through about 230 pages of Monroe Mann's journal/diary account of his days spent at BCT and OCS and will read no farther. His book, entitled [u]To Benning and Back: The Making of a Citizen Soldier[/u], is a shameless and puling account of a snivelling boy's journey (he certainly was not a man when he wrote the entries) through the Army indoctrination and training process. It is a ceaseless series of whining entries about how difficult boot camp is and how he continually doubts his decision to join the Army--note: Mann really wants to be an actor and fears that his Army training will interfere with his acting career. He even goes so far as to say that he would prefer playing the role of an officer than actually being an officer! The author also shares with his readers startling revelations about how boot camp is uncomfortable--DS's actually yell at you and make you exercise--outrageous! and I thought boot camp was a day spa--glad he set me straight on that. He also tells his readers that Boot Camp is not fun (really, I thought is was a Disneyland simulation!)--while at Boot Camp you actually have to work and accept accountability for your actions; he even reveals that you have to be responsible while you are there--what was the Army thinking! Mann is a middling author at best (and, that's being kind), and a poorly motivated and uninspiring officer at worst. He is not the kind of man I want leading my men into battle.

Final note: There is one good lesson to be taken from Mann's book: if you find that your feelings about training and a career as an officer resemble those of the author, you had best remain clear of military service. The military needs leaders who find satisfaction in getting the job done, not doubting malcontents who bridle against every hardship.

Adversity causes some men to break and others to break records

--anonymous
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Format: Paperback
Monroe Mann's journal, To Benning And Back, is a personal diary of his experiences at the Army's two most physically and mentally challenging schools. Not just a personal diary, it's an intimate portrait of one man's survival through basic training and the officer candidate school, seen through the indecisive eyes of a patriot and aspiring actor. I thought when ordering this book that it would be the typical story about a soldier who, despite all odds, achieves his goals and has his life projected into superstar status. Boy, was I close but there's more to it than that. Throughout Mann's experiences, we learn great insights into surviving and succeeding in the Army. The stories are good, the writing is amusing and the references are priceless. Lt Mann has saved many inquisitive soldiers hours of research in figuring out what it takes be an outstanding officer candidate. He does it with a sharp wit, criss-crossing his acting anecdotes with his experiences at Ft. Benning, GA. I know that for me, the book left me feeling more comfortable about OCS and more focused and passionate about the military than ever.I look forward to his next book! Enjoy!!

David, Army SPC
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