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Rough Draft: Cold War Military Manpower Policy and the Origins of Vietnam-Era Draft Resistance, Amy J. Rutenberg

Reviewed by Max Margulies

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The return to a military draft is barely a remote possibility in the United States today. However, this has not prevented a resurgence of scholarship on the topic of conscription and its consequences. Conscription now frequently appears in analyses of the civil-military gap in the United States, military behavior in the context of coup-proofing and protests, and renewed great power competition in a multipolar world.

Amy Rutenberg’s book Rough Draft is a timely and indispensable contribution for anyone who wants to better understand the role of military recruitment in any of these pressing issues. Her clear prose makes this an engaging read, and all the more impressive for how much she fits into the slim 195 pages of text. Though it is primarily a history of a single case (Rutenberg is a historian), Rough Draft provides vital information about the purpose and practical implementation of a draft, much of which will be new to all but the most dedicated students of military recruitment. This expertly researched and crafted book relies almost exclusively on primary source documents, including congressional hearings, memoirs, and government archives. The story that emerges about the American selective service system—or draft—from World War II through the 1973 creation of the A

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