“Integrating the US Military: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation since World War II” edited by Douglas W. Bristol, Jr.— Examining Controversies

Bristol, Jr., Douglas W. (editor). “Integrating the US Military: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation since World War II”, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017.

Examining Controversies

Amos Lassen

The American military is a conservative institution yetit has often been at the forefront of civil rights. In the 1940s, the 1970s, and the early 2000s, military integration and promotion policies were often more progressive than similar policies in the civilian world. Today, the military is one of the best ways for those who are in marginalized groups to succeed based solely on job performance.

“Integrating the US Military” looks at the experiences of African Americans, Japanese Americans, women, and gay men and lesbians in the armed forces since World War II. It examines controversies from racial integration to the taking down of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to the recent repeal of the ban on women in combat and the essays collected here show that the military is an important institution in which social change is confirmed and even accelerated. What is remarkable is that those challenges launched against the racial, gender, and sexual status quo in the postwar years have also transformed ideas about power, citizenship, and America’s role in the world.

Looking within the armed services, we get a unique look at the history of military integration in theory and in practice. We see the complicated struggle that accompanied integration and learn much more about comparable issues that affect civilian society, (affirmative action, marriage laws, and sexual harassment).

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