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Book Review: Citizen Soldier: An Overview of the US Military Reserve Forces by Blaine A. White

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It’s difficult to find books that walk you through the process of joining the military, and it’s even harder to find something to use as a guide for the Reserve forces of the various military branches. Blaine A.White’s Citizen Soldier: An Overview of the U.S. Military Reserve Forces fills in that gap by introducing the paths that are available to anyone considering wearing a uniform.

The choice you make regarding the branch of the military you wish to serve in won’t affect the usefulness of this book since the content covers all the Reserve branches, including one known as the Ready Reserve Corps of the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC), which I had never heard of before reading this book. You’ll also discover a few little-known details regarding the various military branches, which might possibly affect the path you choose to take. For example, did you know that two of the Reserve units are under the command of the state governor first and the United States president second, while the remaining branches are exclusively commanded by the president? It was something new to me.

The author is serious about his commitment to the military and his passion easily shows in his writing, yet he doesn’t completely sugarcoat things. He explains the importance of being in good physical and mental shape, and he does advise asking the recruiter every question you can think of so you don’t become one of those disillusioned enlistees that says he, or she, was “tricked” by their recruiter; when it comes to something as serious as serving your country, there is no such thing as a stupid question. The difference between entering the military reserves as an enlisted person or as an officer are also explained, with information provided on how to transition from one to the other if you decide to take a route that’s different from the one you originally chose.

The book is well-written and flows smoothly, with a natural progression that’s easy to follow. If you, or someone you know, is considering a future in the Reserves, I would highly recommend reading Citizen Soldier: An Overview of the US Military Reserve Forces because the information tucked within these 212 pages could prove to be a valuable learning tool.

(Reviewed by Marty Shaw for Reader Views)

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