Beginning with the history of the U.S. Coast Guard (up to the coalition remaining in Iraq in 2004), this title in the "U.S. Armed Forces" series provides information for the casual browser, the person considering joining up, boat and sea warfare buffs, and report writers. Four sections are included: History, Recruitment, Training, and Life in this particular branch. The recruitment section includes the specifications and preparation for admission to all levels of the Coast Guard and includes descriptions of what happens in each level, who pays for what, obligations upon finishing, and roles various people may take on. A page on uniforms, another on typical ships, communication, and air power, a spread on insignias and what they indicate, a structural chart, and a timeline all provide concise information for the interested reader. Color photographs show men and women of many hues in many roles. The sidebars are a particularly compelling feature as they are substantial enough for the general reader but short enough to assist less able readers; topics include information on cutters, women in the Coast Guard, and the reason for and content of the honor code. End matter includes a glossary, timeline, biographical sketches of famous people in this service, further reading, bibliography, related websites, and an index. All in all, it is informative coverage of a high-interest topic, with a presentation that is sure to satisfy high school-aged potential recruits, as well as anyone else interested in the nuts and bolts of this branch of the armed forces. 2005, Lerner, Ages 12 to 16.
Susan Hepler, Ph.D.