Military Life
The Psychology of Serving in Peace and Combat
by Thomas W. Britt, ed., Amy B. Adler, ed., Carl Andrew Castro, ed.
December 2005, 1072pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
4 volumes, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-275-98300-0
$216, £160, 187€, A292
eBook Available: 978-0-313-01509-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Reveals the psychological challenges facing men and women in the armed forces, from the emotional after-effects of being a prisoner of war or mistakenly killing civilians, to the daily mental battles faced by single parents struggling to meet their children’s needs while serving in the military.

With global commitments and combat duty, our armed forces face life-threatening challenges on a daily basis. However, less visible threats also impact the mental health of our military men and women. Experts examine challenges on the battlefield, such as women coming to terms with life after being prisoners of war, or soldiers dealing with mistakenly killing civilians. But life in the armed forces presents less dramatic, daily challenges. Away from the front lines, soldiers have to raise their families, sometimes as single parents. Children have to learn what it’s like to be in a military family, and to make sense of war. Gay or lesbian officers cope with a don’t ask, don’t tell policy. An unprecedented range of contributors—military officers, medical doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and professors—take us onto the bases and the battlefields and inside the minds of military personnel who face far greater challenges than most of us ever see in the headlines.

These volumes also highlight factors that make members of the military resilient and stable, as well as programs and practices that can ease the psychological burdens of military personnel, families, and children. Readers can better understand how society views our military and military operations, and how each one of us can play a role in supporting our armed forces.


"This four-volume anthology incorporates psychological variables that have been empirically demonstrated to influence military performance. Discussions are organized around the four defining fields of applied military psychology. The timing of publication is fortuitous, given US military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. The significance of these works is enhanced further in light of the country's 30-plus years of experience with its All-Volunteer Force (AVF) and the diversity of missions the AVF has been asked to address. Each volume offers interesting perspectives for military scholars; each is introduced with a personal essay and concludes with a chapter on future directions....Recommended. Graduate students/faculty/specialists."—Choice, April 1, 2007

"Although we have been trying for centuries to understand human relationship with war, enhance human performance in various settings, develop psychological means to influence our enemies, and optimize emotional functioning in our warriors, there is relatively little published on the topic. Military Life: The Psychology of Serving in Peace and Combat, attempts to fill this void. This four volume set provides a framework for the psychological aspects of serving in the military and serves to enhance our understanding of our fighting forces, to optimize their functioning both personally and occupationally, and to put forth needed future research directions to advance the effectiveness of our service personnel."—PsycCRITIQUES, January 1, 2006

"This four-volume set, edited by Britt, Castro, and Adler, is organized around four defining fields of applied military psychology: military performance, operational stress, the military family, and military culture. Each volume on begins with a first person account relevant to the volume's theme, concludes with a discussion of future directions, and contains nine other contributions."—Reference & Research Book News, May 1, 2006

"The four volumes of Military Life: The Psychology of Serving in Peace and Conflict are a powerful addition to any military collection, with each volume providing in-depth details on military performance, stress, family relationships and internal culture....Each volume provides a scholarly analysis backed by research and reference notes, includes extensive quotes from journalist and research source materials, and analyze rationales, assumptions, and changing experience. An essential set for any serious military collection."—Midwest Book Review's California BookWatch, March 1, 2006

The four volumes of ^IMILITARY LIFE: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SERVING IN PEACE AND CONFLICT^R are a powerful addition to any military collection, with each volume providing in-depth details on military performance, stress, family relationships and internal culture....An essential set for any serious military collection.—California Bookwatch, March 1, 2006

"This extraordinary compilation could not be more timely. Military Life: The Psychology of Serving in Peace and Combat offers a path-breaking analysis of military performance coupled with much new data. We are indebted to the editors and contributors for insightful and original perspectives on military behavior in various contexts including combat, peacekeeping and fighting insurgents. These volumes are an invaluable resource of military leaders, social scientists and, most importantly, the concerned citizenry."—Charles Moskos, Professor Emeritus, Northwestern University, U.S. Army Distinguished Service Award Winner, author of The Post-Modern Military: Armed Forces after the Cold War, and The Military--More Than Just a Job?

"This four volume set is a milestone. It addresses a wide spectrum of psychological issues affecting military personnel with authenticity, depth, scholarship and sophistication. First person narratives keep everything appropriately grounded within the context of a deployed service member, a military psychiatrist, or a family member. As a result, readers can easily relate these personal experiences to the rich array of descriptive, scientific and policy-related chapters. It should be mandatory reading for anyone who wishes to understand this important area."—Matthew J. Friedman MD, Ph.D., Executive Director, National Center for PTSD, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology and Toxicology, Dartmouth Medical School

"This extraordinary effort provides convenient insight into basic challenges of military life. These volumes provide a comprehensive review of key issues in contemporary military psychology. They give to scholar and citizen alike an authentic picture of the enormous task of maintaining a competent, robust volunteer armed force within an increasingly complex domestic and international environment."—Walter F. Ulmer Jr., Lieutenant General, U.S. Army (Ret.), Former President and CEO, Center for Creative Leadership

"This four-volume series is a well-conceived, nicely executed, and at times moving examination of the psychological issues confronting military personnel and their families. The editors and chapter contributors have done an excellent job of providing a comprehensive evaluation of the factors that influence the performance, health, and morale of service members and their families. These volumes are a must-read for those interested in psychological issues related to military performance, operational and family-related stress, military culture, and the role of the military family in our services' and indeed society's collective mental health."—Walter C. Borman, University of South Florida and CEO of Personnel Decisions Research Institutes Inc.

"This monumental four-volume series on military life is an information treasure and a must-read for a broad audience, from military psychology practitioners and researchers to Pentagon policy makers. The rich mix of first-person operational experiences and empirical findings brings combat and its concomitant issues to life from a behavioral science perspective. Issues affecting the performance and health of military personnel and their families are addressed comprehensively in a readable and informative way--a splendid contribution to the military psychology literature."—Marty Wiskoff, founding editor, Military Psychology

"This set should be required reading for both military commanders and military psychologists alike. It is comprehensive in its coverage of military psychology yet is highly readable and easily digestible; it provides sensible, practical lessons as well as providing provocative discussions of some of the most important aspects of serving in any military force today. Perhaps most importantly, the first person accounts in each of the volumes provides a focus for the reader and an important reminder of the purpose of the book; that is, to do our best to protect the psychological health and wellbeing of those who serve. These books are to be highly recommended to all who wish to contribute to the effectiveness of modern military operations. As a military psychologist and former commanding officer of an operational unit, I wish that I had read them ten years ago."—Colonel Anthony J. Cotton, Former Director of Mental Health, Australian Defence Force

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