Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: The Real Language of the Modern American Military

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: The Real Language of the Modern American Military

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by Alan Axelrod
     
 

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Few areas of human endeavor have produced more—or more colorful—terms than has the military. Soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen have over centuries come up with words, phrases, and acronyms to express everything from raw emotion to complex technology. The military is both a distinctive way of life and a community, and a command of its slang is…  See more details below

Overview

Few areas of human endeavor have produced more—or more colorful—terms than has the military. Soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen have over centuries come up with words, phrases, and acronyms to express everything from raw emotion to complex technology. The military is both a distinctive way of life and a community, and a command of its slang is essential to admission to full membership within the group.

Most military slang is almost always familiar only to the troops. Mating mosquitoes, for example, refers to the two-chevron insignia of the Army corporal. Gadget describes an enlisted man or woman who is temporarily promoted to a position of increased responsibility to fill an urgent need, while a panty raid is a foray into enemy territory for the purpose of gathering evidence of adversary activity.

Among the less delicate entries are the day the eagle shits, or payday, and skimmer puke, a submariner’s term for any surface ship sailor. (And then there’s the book’s title, the acronym for What The F-ck).

Many elements of military vocabulary have become part of our national speech: John Wayne, boondocks, attaboy, and hot dog. But whether the words and phrases are the exclusive property of our fighting men and women or are also in general use, the “real” language of the modern military set forth in this lively book embodies a uniquely American attitude and an exuberantly colloquial, unwaveringly honest, and enduringly American grace under pressure.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Axelrod, a prolific writer on military topics, tours modern military slang via six topical chapters, including "Cake Eaters and Chicken Guts." As the author acknowledges, the sources for some of his entries are from "official" authorities such as the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military Terms (available online at dtic.mil/doctrine/dod_dictionary/ and Stephen F. Tomajczyk's Dictionary of the Modern United States Military, (LJ 2/1/96), but Axelrod's main focus is "unofficial" terms, such as soldiers' rework of the "What the…" curse as expressed in this book's title. While highly readable, this reference would have benefited from an overall index. VERDICT A colorful reference for libraries serving veterans and veteran studies audiences.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781626363687
Publisher:
Skyhorse Publishing
Publication date:
06/01/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
1,046,766
File size:
630 KB

Meet the Author

Alan Axelrod is the author of more than forty books on military history, business management, trade reference, and other nonfiction. He and his work have been featured in BusinessWeek, Fortune, Men’s Health, Cosmopolitan, Inc., Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and USA Today. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

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