Editor's Shelf

From Parameters, Summer 1997, p. 130.

When Dreams Came True: The GI Bill and the Making of Modern America is Michael J. Bennett's comprehensive treatment of the origin and early years of the GI Bill. The final three chapters--"Coming Home," "Storming the Campus," and "Making Modern America"--show how the pent-up energy of returning veterans helped to produce the suburbs, the growth of a prosperous blue-collar work force, and other attributes that came to characterize for many the essence of the 1950s.

The Military Center for Strategic Studies in Rome (Il Centro Militare di Studi Strategici--Ce.Mi.S.S.) has sponsored and conducted a large number of studies over the years on subjects relevant to Italian security. In view of the growing importance of NATO's Southern Region (e.g., the Maghreb, Balkans) Ce.Mi.S.S. now regularly issues précis of these reports in English. For additional information, contact Il Direttore, Ce.Mi.S.S., Palazzo Salviati, Piazza della Rovere, 83, Roma, I-00165.

Three oversize works--seemingly of the coffee table variety--could not provide a more complete look at the changing nature of soldiering if they had been issued as a set.

. On-Site Inspections Under the CFE Treaty provides a comprehensive account of how nations have been verifying the reduction of conventional armed forces in Europe. Many full color photos supplement the text; seven appendices include the treaty itself and a variety of other useful information about on-site inspections between 1990 and 1996.

. IFOR on IFOR: NATO Peacekeepers in Bosnia-Herzegovnia will suggest to some a collection of stills from a TV newscast: human relations faces and public relations narrative. Yet form and function are indeed in balance here. Generals and privates of many of the nations supporting the peace mission join local civilians to describe in words and images the need for their work, its complexity, dangers, and boredom, and the rewards associated with helping to maintain the peace.

. Black Soldier, White Army: The 24th Infantry Regiment in Korea, from the US Army Center of Military History, tells of a unit no better or worse prepared than its sister regiments for the shock of combat when it was thrown into the Pusan perimeter in August 1950. It includes courage under fire, heroism, and the debilitating effects of racist policies soon to be abandoned by the Army. What mattered was leadership; mutual trust and respect helped some elements of the regiment to perform very well under difficult conditions.

It seems somehow appropriate that the Korean experience, in the drab gray-tones of 1950s combat photography, stands in sharp contrast to the brightly colored faces--not all happy, to be sure--in the more recent books. That the former was truly a life and death struggle at the outset of the Cold War is well portrayed through the pictures. Nearly a half-century later, US and other military personnel verify the destruction of billions of dollars worth of material produced by former adversaries in that confrontation, while in Bosnia others describe the conditions and challenges of its successor, the regional conflict. The faces in all three volumes testify to the enduring need for capable and ready armed forces despite the apparent absence of threats to national interests. -- JJM

For details on publishers and prices of books mentioned email: usarmy.carlisle.awc.mbx.parameters@mail.mil.

Reviewed 12 May 1997. Please send comments or corrections to usarmy.carlisle.awc.mbx.parameters@mail.mil