In 1973, not long after the last American combat troops returned from Vietnam, President Nixon fulfilled his campaign promise and ended the draft. No longer would young men find their futures determined by the selective service system; nor would the U.S. military have a guaranteed source of recruits.
America's Army is the story of the all-volunteer force, from the draft protests and policy proposals of the 1960s through the Iraq War. It is also a history of America in the post-Vietnam era. In the Army, America directly confronted the legacies of civil rights and black power, the women's movement, and gay rights. The volunteer force raised questions about the meaning of citizenship and the rights and obligations it carries; about whether liberty or equality is the more central American value; what role the military should play in American society not only in time of war, but in time of peace. And as the Army tried to create a volunteer force that could respond effectively to complex international situations, it had to compete with other "employers" in a national labor market and sell military service alongside soap and soft drinks.
Based on exhaustive archival research, as well as interviews with Army officers and recruiters, advertising executives, and policy makers, America's Army confronts the political, moral, and social issues a volunteer force raises for a democratic society as well as for the defense of our nation.
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About the Author
Beth Bailey is Foundation Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Kansas.
Table of Contents
- Individual Freedom and the Obligations of Citizenship
- Repairing the Army
- The Army in the Marketplace
- Race, “Quality,” and the Hollow Army
- “If you like Ms., you'll love pvt.”
- The All-Recruited Army
- The Army as Social Good
- The Warrior Ethos
What People are Saying About This
America's Army will be indispensable reading for anyone who wants to understand how the modern army works and how this democracy 'provides for the common defense.'
Colonel Matthew Moten, Professor, United States Military Academy at West Point and author of The Delafield Commission and the American Military Profession
An excellent history on a very complicated and controversial topic that deals with such emotional subjects as race, the role of women, and the Army's commitment to combat.
Brian McAllister Linn, Professor of History, Texas A and M University
Compact, comprehensive, and empathetic, America's Army provides a much-needed account of the all-volunteer army, from its difficult birth after Vietnam down to its challenging present. An important story exceedingly well told.
Andrew J. Bacevich, author of The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War
America's Army will become a major addition to the history of the post-Vietnam armed forces.
Ronald Spector, Professor of History and International Affairs, The George Washington University
The powerful and remarkable story of how the All-Volunteer Force confronted the challenges surrounding race, gender, sexuality and citizenship in creating today's American Army.
Michael Sherry, author of In the Shadow of War: The United States Since the 1930s
Every American should read Beth Bailey's excellent book on America's Army. It brilliantly charts how the huge shift away from the draft came to be and what we might expect in the future.
The Honorable Patricia Schroeder, Former Congresswoman, Colorado