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Prodigal Soldiers: How the Generation of Officers Born of Vietnam Revolutionized the American Style of War Paperback – June 1, 1997
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From Publishers Weekly
Freelance journalist Kitfield relies heavily on personal accounts in this story of the officers who reshaped the U.S. Army and Air Force after the experience of Vietnam and then led our troops in Operation Desert Storm. In the 1970s the U.S. began to adjust to a professional military after depending on the Selective Service system. In the 1980s, increased defense budgets enabled the modernization of arsenals and the stockpiling of supplies and equipment, while cumbersome higher command systems were simplified. By the time of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, America's military leaders were eager to demonstrate what 20 years of reform had wrought. This is a highly favorable account of that effort.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
The transformation of the American armed forces from the dispirited shell-shocked military at the close of the Vietnam era to the superbly trained, highly motivated, and universally respected victors in the Persian Gulf War is as dramatic a tale as any in American military history. Kitfield, an award-winning journalist on defense issues, follows the careers of dozens of army, navy, air force, and marine officers from their early service years in Vietnam to their success as commanders in the defeat of the Iraqis. While organizational and technical issues play a role, the book concentrates on the human aspect of this startling redirection of the U.S. military. A useful supplement to Michael Gordon's The Generals' War (LJ 12/94) and Al Santoli's overlooked Leading the Way (LJ 9/15/93), this is an essential addition to Vietnam and Persian Gulf War collections. Strongly recommended for academic and public libraries.
John R. Vallely, Siena Coll. Lib., Loudonville, N.Y.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
One of the officers who was featured quite prominently was Barry McCaffrey. I have come to appreciate his interesting analysis on television, but I never knew his life story. Though it didn't surprise me as I knew he retired as a general, but what an impressively courageous man he has been throughout his military career! What he went through in Vietnam is enough to amaze even the gutsiest American.
Another interesting aspect of the book was the coverage of contentious social issues that the military has had to deal with: race, women, and gays and lesbians. Kitfield pointed out the increasingly important role that blacks and women have played in the US Armed Forces.
Regrettably we are left to wonder what happened since then when our powerful military get sucked into a war in Iraq, starting in 2003 with no end in sight, without a plan to finish it. It's easy enough to point to Tommy Franks, Richard Myers, and others, but maybe there's a larger institutional story to tell about the debacle that is now Iraq. Hopefully Kitfield will tell that story too. He has a book out about Iraq, but since it was written a year or two ago, it can't possibly accommodate for all that has occurred since publication.