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Military service was once taken for granted as a natural part of good citizenship, and Americans of all classes served during wartime. Not anymore. As Kathy Roth-Douquet and Frank Schaeffer assert in this groundbreaking work, there is a glaring disconnect between the "all volunteer military" and the rest of us. And as that gap between the cultural "elite" and military rank-and-file widens, our country faces a dangerous lack of understanding between those in power and those who defend our way of life. In America, it is increasingly the case that the people who make, support, or protest military policy have no military experience. As a result, the privileged miss the benefits of military service -- leadership, experience helpful to their future roles in public life, and exposure to a broader cross section of citizens -- while the military feels under-supported and morally distanced from the rest of the country. And when only a handful of members of Congress have military experience or a personal link to someone in uniform, perhaps it becomes too easy (or too hard) to send the military into combat. Based on research and including the voices of many young military members who understand firsthand the value of service, AWOL is also a very personal book. Frank Schaeffer, father of a former enlisted Marine, knows the anguish and pride that millions of American parents feel every day as their children are off fighting a war in a foreign land. Kathy Roth-Douquet, wife of a career officer, has experienced the struggle of trying to keep the family together with a husband at war as well as the often untold satisfaction of raising children in an ethic of service. To the authors and numerous other families who are intimately acquainted with the glory and the sacrifice of military service, America needs a wake-up call before it's too late.
"How Do We Ever Speak with One Voice Again in Our Divided and Angry Country?" It is amazing how one America is isolated from the "other" America. The red/blue state divisions run so deep that it is possible to live without any interaction-ideological or otherwise-with those who hold different opinions than oneself. We are a people alienated, from ourselves and from our government. The authors, an odd mix across the Blue/Red divide-one a founder of the modern evangelical movement, the other a liberal Jewish former Clinton aide-hold an extended conversation across many months, several states, and two countries-sometimes contentious, sometimes funny, exploring the idea of how unlikely pairings-and thus, the entire country-can come together. They argue that we're entering a new era in history, and now is the time to rise up to it; to make ourselves able to tackle the enormous problems in our laps; to, in effect, move mountains.
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