military

  Once, war was a temporary state of affairs—a violent but brief interlude between times of peace. Today, America’s wars are everywhere and forever: our enemies change constantly and rarely wear uniforms, and virtually anything can become a weapon. As war expands, so does the role of the US military.

Rosa Brooks traces this seismic shift in how America wages war from an unconventional perspective—that of a former top Pentagon official who is the daughter of two anti-war protesters and a human rights activist married to an Army Green Beret.

By turns a memoir, a work of journalism, a scholarly exploration into history, anthropology and law, and a rallying cry, How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everythingtransforms the familiar into the alien, showing us that the culture we inhabit is reshaping us in ways we may suspect, but don’t really understand.

Caleb Carr, bestselling author of The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness, has created a contemporary psychological thriller haunted by the shadowy hands of established power. His new novel is Surrender, New York.

Carr is an American novelist and military historian. He has worked at the Council on Foreign Relations, Foreign Affairs Quarterly, MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, and taught military history, including World Military History, the History of American Intelligence, and Insurgency/Counterinsurgency, at Bard College. We talk with him about his new novel on The Book Show this week and discuss current affairs with him in this interview.

  From the end of World War II until 1980, virtually no American soldiers were killed in action while serving in the Greater Middle East. Since 1990, virtually no American soldiers have been killed in action anywhere else. What caused this shift? Andrew J. Bacevich, one of the country’s most respected voices on foreign affairs, offers an incisive critical history of this ongoing military enterprise—now more than thirty years old and with no end in sight.

His book is America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History .

  Historian Chris Bray (himself a former soldier) has a new book: Court-Martial: How Military Justice Has Shaped America from the Revolution to 9/11 and Beyond. It is an account of how military justice has shaped American society since the nation’s beginnings.

With a great eye for narrative, tells the sweeping story of military justice from the institution of the court martial in the earliest days of the Republic to contemporary arguments over how to use military courts to try foreign terrorists or soldiers accused of sexual assault.

Throughout, he shows that the separate justice system of the armed forces has often served as a proxy for America’s ongoing arguments over equality, privacy, discrimination, security, and liberty. Chris Bray is a former infantry sergeant in the United States Army and holds a PhD in history from UCLA. 

  Annie Jacobsen is the best-selling-author of Area 51 and Operation Paper Clip. Now drawing on years of research, exclusive interviews, and private documents Jacobs has written a history of Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA) the world's most powerful and advanced military science agency and the Government's most controversial secret weapon. 

The name of the book is The Pentagon's Brain: An Uncensored History Of DARPA, America's Top-Secret Military Research Agency.

  In his book, Men of War: The American Soldier in Combat at Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, and Iwo Jima, Alexander Rose draws on an immense range of firsthand sources from the battlefield. He begins by re-creating the lost and alien world of eighteenth-century warfare at Bunker Hill, the bloodiest clash of the War of Independence, and reveals why the American militiamen were so lethally effective against the oncoming waves of British troops.

Then, focusing on Gettysburg, Rose describes a typical Civil War infantry action, vividly explaining what Union and Confederate soldiers experienced before, during, and after combat. Finally, he shows how in 1945 the Marine Corps hurled itself with the greatest possible violence at the island of Iwo Jima, where nearly a third of all Marines killed in World War II would die. As Rose demonstrates, the most important factor in any battle is the human one: At Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, and Iwo Jima, the American soldier, as much as any general, proved decisive.

  Denied recognition during his lifetime, Henry Johnson recently received the nation’s highest military honor.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York representative Paul Tonko tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock about Albany’s favorite son.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has launched his first push to pass the Military Consumer Protection Act.

  On June 23, 2008, President George W. Bush nominated Ann Dunwoody as a four-star general in the US Army—the first time a woman had ever achieved that rank. The news generated excitement around the world.

Now retired after nearly four decades in the Army, General Ann Dunwoody shares what she learned along the way in her book, A Higher Standard: Leadership Strategies from America's First Female Four-Star General.

  When you enlist in the United States military, you don’t just sign up for duty; you also commit your loved ones to lives of service all their own. No one knows this better than Elaine Brye, an “Army brat” turned military wife and the mother of four officers—one each in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps.

For more than a decade she’s endured countless teary goodbyes, empty chairs at Thanksgiving dinners, and sleepless hours waiting for phone calls in the night. She’s navigated the complicated tangle of emotions—pride, worry, fear, hope, and deep, enduring love—that are part and parcel of life as a military mother.

Barnes Air National Guard Base is holding a memorial service to honor the 13 members of its 104th Fighter Wing who have died on duty since 1948.

  When Emma Sky volunteered to help rebuild Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003, she had little idea what she was getting in to. Her assignment was only supposed to last three months. She went on to serve there longer than any other senior military or diplomatic figure, giving her an unrivaled perspective of the entire conflict.

  They met in person only four times, yet these two men—Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee—determined the outcome of America's most divisive war and cast larger-than-life shadows over their reunited nation. They came from vastly different backgrounds: Lee from a distinguished family of waning fortunes; Grant, a young man on the make in a new America. Differing circumstances colored their outlooks on life: Lee, the melancholy realist; Grant, the incurable optimist.

  How did the Vietnam War change the way we think of ourselves as a people and a nation? Christian Appy, author of the oral history of the Vietnam War Patriots, now examines the relationship between the war’s realities and myths and its impact on our national identity, conscience, pride, shame, popular culture, and postwar foreign policy.

Drawing on a vast variety of sources from movies, songs, and novels to official documents, media coverage, and contemporary commentary, Appy offers an interpretation of the war and its far-reaching consequences. The new book is American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity.

He will be speaking about and signing his new book at Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, MA on Tuesday, February 24th.

  Nicholas Irving became the first African American sniper assigned to the Army's Third Ranger Battalion, which had fought in Somalia in the historic "Black Hawk Down" mission.

His autobiographer, The Reaper, was released this week and coincides with the controversy over the hist film, American Sniper, about the most lethal sniper in US history.

Irving's fascinating story tells of his bloody final tour in Afghanistan that made him a legend and earned him the nickname, "Reaper," after he set a record for enemy kills on a single deployment.

His first-person account of his development into an expert assassin offers a rare view of special operations combat missions through the eyes of a Ranger sniper during war.

  In January 2011, in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, a group of strangers sparked a revolution. Basem, an apolitical middle-class architect, jeopardized the lives of his family when he seized the chance to improve his country. Moaz, a contrarian Muslim Brother, defied his own organization to join the opposition.

These revolutionaries had little more than their idealism with which to battle the secret police, the old oligarchs, and a power-hungry military determined to keep control.

In Once Upon A Revolution: An Egyptian Story, Thanassis Cambanis tells the story of the dreamers who brought Egypt to the brink of freedom, and the dark powerful forces that—for the time being—stopped them short.

    When America entered World War II in 1941, we faced an enemy that had banned and burned over 100 million books and caused fearful citizens to hide or destroy many more. Outraged librarians launched a campaign to send free books to American troops and gathered 20 million hardcover donations. In 1943, the War Department and the publishing industry stepped in with an extraordinary program: 120 million small, lightweight paperbacks, for troops to carry in their pockets and their rucksacks, in every theater of war.

Molly Guptill Manning joins us to talk about her book, When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II.

  W.E.B. Griffin is the #1 best-selling author of more than fifty epic novels in seven series, all of which have made The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly best-seller lists.

With decades of military service behind him, he first wrote under various pen names and didn't begin writing his bestselling string of military novels until he was well into his 50s. His first Brotherhood of War novel, The Lieutenants, was published in 1982 and touched off Griffin's well-known reputation for writing with historical accuracy and fascinating detail. He enjoys a well-deserved reputation as a master of the military thriller.

His latest is just out, The Assassination Option, which is book II in the Clandestine Operations Series.

  Bret Stephens, winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, is the foreign affairs columnist and deputy editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal. His new book is: America In Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder.

In the face of economic troubles at home, Americans have been weary of acting as the world’s policeman. Troops are coming home in some cases, certain military spending is being cut, and surveillance programs are being exposed and curtailed.

Stephens makes the case that there is a profound connection between the new global disorder and America’s diminishing international footprint.

    There are nearly twenty-five million veterans and active-duty soldiers in North America. Some experts estimate that more than one quarter of these men and women suffer from post-traumatic distress, and many other military persons experience difficulty reintegrating into civilian life.

The new book: Field Exercises: How Veterans Are Healing Themselves through Farming and Outdoor Activities shares the stories of men and women who are finding relief from stressful and traumatic military experiences, while also establishing community networks and other peer support initiatives. Stephanie Westlund has authored the book and holds a PhD in peace and conflict studies. She has been conducting research with veterans since 2009.

Everyone agrees that our troops deserve a return to productive and creative lives after service. Yet, in spite of billions spent on psychological care and reintegration programs, we face an epidemic of combat-related conditions like PTSD. What's the solution? In Warrior's Return, Dr. Edward Tick reveals what's missing in our approach to helping our veterans acclimate from the battlefield to civilian live.

    Christopher Hill was on the front lines in the Balkans at the breakup of Yugoslavia. In Outpost: Life on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy: A Memoir, he takes us from one-on-one meetings with the dictator Milosevic, to Bosnia and Kosovo, to the Dayton conference, where a truce was brokered.

He draws upon lessons learned as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon early on in his career and details his prodigious experience as a US ambassador. He was the first American Ambassador to Macedonia; Ambassador to Poland, where he also served in the depth of the cold war; Ambassador to South Korea and chief disarmament negotiator in North Korea; and Hillary Clinton’s hand-picked Ambassador to Iraq.

    Investigative journalist Eric Schlosser joins us to discuss the dilemma that has existed since the dawn of the nuclear age: how do you deploy weapons of mass destruction?

Drawing on recently declassified documents and in-depth interviews with the individuals who designed and routinely handled nuclear weapons, Schlosser reveals that America’s nuclear weapons have been plagued by accidents, mistakes, and near-misses since their inception and that even the best control systems are no match for human error.

    

  In the spring of 2001, three women enlisted in the Indiana National Guard. Each had her own idea of what a stint in the Guard might mean — free education, a sense of purpose, extra money. But just months after they signed up, the 9/11 attacks occurred and what they thought would be a couple days of drills each month turned into long overseas deployments.

In her new book, Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War, Helen Thorpe follows the lives of Desma Brooks, Michelle Fischer and Debbie Helton for 12 years.

    Russia continues to confound American leaders.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Connecticut representative Joe Courtney tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that readiness on the part of U.S. forces is important.

5/12/14 Panel

May 12, 2014

    

  Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, University at Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Reporter, Rosemary Armao and political consultant Libby Post.

Topics include:

Topics include:
Ukraine Vote
Rubio Ready
Nigerian Abduction
Hagel reviews military transgender policy
Michael Sam

    

  Four days before Christmas 1943, a badly damaged American bomber struggled to fly over wartime Germany. At its controls was a 21-year-old pilot. Half his crew lay wounded or dead. It was their first mission. Suddenly, a sleek, dark shape pulled up on the bomber’s tail—a German fighter. Worse, the German pilot was an ace, a man able to destroy the American bomber in the squeeze of a trigger. What happened next would defy imagination and later be called the most incredible encounter between enemies in World War II.

This is the true story of the two pilots whose lives collided in the skies that day—the American—2nd Lieutenant Charlie Brown, a former farm boy from West Virginia who came to captain a B-17—and the German—2nd Lieutenant Franz Stigler, a former airline pilot from Bavaria who sought to avoid fighting in World War II.

The story is told in historian Adam Makos’ new book - A Higher Call - that follows both Charlie and Franz’s harrowing missions.

4/21/14 Panel

Apr 21, 2014

    

  Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, newsman Ray Graf, and political consultant, Libby Post.

Topics include:
Afghan Runoff
Ukraine Fatal Clash
Boston Marathon
Sherpa Strike
Army Hairstyle Ban

    

  It’s time now for our weekly check-in with the humanities in our segment Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities. Today’s we’ll find out about humanities programming for veterans with the New York Council for the Humanities.

There is a new adult reading and discussion series for vets and their caregivers called Serving: Standing Down. Here to tell us all about it is Donald Whitfield - Vice President at the Great Books Foundation in Chicago where he directs the adult education division, Great Books Discussions. He is a veteran of the United States Army and a graduate of St. John's College in Annapolis.

    In the late summer of 1918, after four long years of senseless, stagnant fighting, the Western Front erupted. The bitter four-month struggle that ensued—known as the Hundred Days Campaign—saw some of the bloodiest and most ferocious combat of the Great War, as the Allies grimly worked to break the stalemate in the west and end the conflict that had decimated Europe.

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