Unfriendly Fire by Nathaniel Frank
How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America

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Synopsis

When the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy emerged as a political compromise under Bill Clinton in 1993, it only ended up worsening the destructive gay ban that had been on the books since World War II. Drawing on more than a decade of research and hundreds of interviews, Nathaniel Frank exposes the military’s policy toward gays and lesbians as  damaging     and demonstrates that “don’t ask, don’t tell” must be replaced with an outright reversal of the gay ban.
             Frank is one of the nation’s leading experts on gays in the military, and in his evenhanded and always scrupulously documented chronicle, he reveals how the ban on open gays and lesbians in the U.S. military has greatly increased discharges, hampered recruitment, and—contrary to the rationale offered by proponents of the ban—led to lower morale and cohesion within military ranks. 
            Frank does not shy away from tackling controversial issues, and he presents indisputable evidence showing that gays already serve openly     without causing problems, and that the policy itself is weakening the military it was supposed to protect. In addition to the moral pitfalls of the gay ban, Frank shows the practical damage it has wrought. Most recently, the discharge of valuable Arabic translators (who happen to be gay) under the current policy has left U.S. forces ill-equipped in the fight against terrorism. 
            Part history, part exposé, and fully revealing, Unfriendly Fire is poised to become the definitive story of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” This lively and compelling narrative is sure to make the blood boil of any American who cares about national security, the right to speak the truth, or just plain common sense and fairness.


 

About Nathaniel Frank

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Nathaniel Frank is a senior research fellow at the Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and teaches history on the adjunct faculty at New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study. His publications on gays in the military and other topics have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, Slate, Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, Newsday, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Lingua Franca, and others, and his research and opinions have been cited on the Congressional floor, in syndicated columns, in the blogosphere, the New York Post, The Advocate, National Review Online, the AP, and other venues, including university syllabi and media roundups. Frank earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in History at Brown University. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
 
Published March 3, 2009 by Thomas Dunne Books. 368 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, War, Gay & Lesbian, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Unfriendly Fire

Kirkus Reviews

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Wide-ranging critique of the U.S. military's controversial policy.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay ...

The New York Times

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The core message of Nathaniel Frank’s book about the American military’s ban on being openly gay can be summed up in a single slogan: “ ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Don’t Work.”

Mar 18 2009 | Read Full Review of Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay ...

NPR

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A study of five U.S. allies who ended bans on gays openly serving in their militaries showed that the wide-scale disruptions feared by opponents had never materialized, says historian and study author Nathaniel Frank. He discusses his findings and what they suggest for efforts to end the Pentagon...

Dec 07 2010 | Read Full Review of Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay ...

Chron.com

Enlisted troops and officers — from ground-pounding soldiers to military lawyers to pilots — have all been sent packing under the ban, and Frank also devotes a full chapter to military Arabic linguists who have been discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” In another chapter, he writes about the...

Mar 28 2010 | Read Full Review of Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay ...

Windy City Media

Check out Major Conflict: One Gay Man's Life in the Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell Military by Major Jeffrey McGowan, and Conduct Unbecoming: Gays and Lesbians in the U.S. Military by Randy Shilts.

Jun 24 2009 | Read Full Review of Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay ...

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