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Elvis's Army: Cold War GIs and the Atomic Battlefield

by Brian McAllister Linn

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211845,578 (3.5)2
"What kind of army wants the king of rock-n-roll? Elvis's Army explores the great military and social experiment that was the Cold War atomic army. Militarily, the US Army transformed for the revolution in warfare initiated by the nuclear weapons. Traumatized by Cold War reductions and Korea, it seized on the vision of a great atomic land war against the Soviet Union. It not only adapted a radically new way of fighting, but fundamental changes in its equipment, concepts, and training. Socially, the 1950s the service underwent even more of a transformation. In large part due to the draft, the Fifties Army became the nation's most racially and economically egalitarian institution, the only place where black and white, college graduates and illiterates, rich and poor, urban and rural had to live, work, and, if necessary, fight together. In return for their service, the army was expected to provide young males not only with military skills, but also education, technical training, entertainment, and moral instruction. This social transformation was nowhere more evident than with Elvis Presley. He entered the service a notorious musical rebel hated by adult society; he emerged two years later a clean-cut young all-American boy in the movie G.I. Blues. Elvis's Army is the first history of the US Army's transformation for the atomic battlefield. But it also reveals the cultural importance of the US Army in Fifties America, from draft calls to ROTC, from basic training to overseas service, from Madison Avenue to Hollywood, and from atomic maneuvers to rock-n-roll."--… (more)
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The cover of this book is a little misleading, as it implies that one is going to get a study of the impact of nuclear testing on U.S. military personnel during the Cold War; that's not what this book is about. What one really has here is a study of personnel policy in the U.S. Army between Korea and Vietnam, as that service tried to respond to one institutional trauma after another while trying to muster a viable field force. It's not a pretty picture but it is a reminder that the more things change the more things stay the same; you get the army you're willing to pay for. It's also a case study in how while the current military may have its own personnel stresses there are good reasons why any modern career soldier is going to give you a hard look if you suggest bringing back the draft. ( )
  Shrike58 | Oct 12, 2017 |
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"What kind of army wants the king of rock-n-roll? Elvis's Army explores the great military and social experiment that was the Cold War atomic army. Militarily, the US Army transformed for the revolution in warfare initiated by the nuclear weapons. Traumatized by Cold War reductions and Korea, it seized on the vision of a great atomic land war against the Soviet Union. It not only adapted a radically new way of fighting, but fundamental changes in its equipment, concepts, and training. Socially, the 1950s the service underwent even more of a transformation. In large part due to the draft, the Fifties Army became the nation's most racially and economically egalitarian institution, the only place where black and white, college graduates and illiterates, rich and poor, urban and rural had to live, work, and, if necessary, fight together. In return for their service, the army was expected to provide young males not only with military skills, but also education, technical training, entertainment, and moral instruction. This social transformation was nowhere more evident than with Elvis Presley. He entered the service a notorious musical rebel hated by adult society; he emerged two years later a clean-cut young all-American boy in the movie G.I. Blues. Elvis's Army is the first history of the US Army's transformation for the atomic battlefield. But it also reveals the cultural importance of the US Army in Fifties America, from draft calls to ROTC, from basic training to overseas service, from Madison Avenue to Hollywood, and from atomic maneuvers to rock-n-roll."--

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