The lowdown on military life, ably presented by Ensign, an attorney and the director of Citizen Soldier, a veterans' rights organization. Aimed mainly at prospective recruits, the frank text begins with the ways and hazards of recruitment itself ("Don't let yourself be rushed or pressured by the recruiter," warns Ensign, who goes on to tell the tragic story of one high-school dropout who did, resulting in the boy's suicide), then proceeds to cover military training, life, and punishment; foreign duty; the particular problems faced by minorities; life in the National Guard and reserves; and veterans' rights. Although the tone is often cautionary, the book packs in enough general information to double as a sound guide for those who already wear a uniform; for example, Ensign advises on which military skills ensure a bright civilian future; lists the pros and cons of serving in various countries (avoid Turkey, which is bitterly "cold in winter, dusty and hot in summer"); and discusses ways to respond to disciplinary actions, including court-martial. In short: a valuable handbook to surviving—and thriving—in what is, after all, "our country's largest employer."
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