Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America (Paperback)

Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America By Nathaniel Frank Cover Image


Drawing on more than a decade of research and hundreds of interviews, Nathaniel Frank exposes the military’s policy toward gays and lesbians as the damaging one that it is and demonstrates that “don’t ask, don’t tell” must be replaced with an outright reversal of the gay ban. One of the nation’s leading experts on gays in the military, Frank’s even-handed and always scrupulously documented chronicle shows 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.

The author presents indisputable evidence showing that gays already serve openly in the U.S. military without causing problems, and that the policy itself is weakening the military it was supposed to protect. Part history, part exposé, and fully revealing, Unfriendly Fire 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 the Author

Nathaniel Frank is 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. 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, Huffington Post, Newsday"," ""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 Ph.D. and M.A. in history at Brown University. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Praise For…

Unfriendly Fire offers a sharp, vigorously framed analysis.”—The New York Times

Unfriendly Fire reads like a crisp, confident, tightly focused legal brief appealing an unconscionable decision; pity the opposing advocate who must answer it point by point. With this book, President Obama, who pledged to scrap don’t ask, don’t tell, has an instruction manual, as well as a blooper reel for avoiding Clinton’s mistakes.”—Washington Monthly

“Why does his book, Unfriendly Fire, need nearly three hundred pages of text to make the same relatively simple points? Because he makes them so discerningly, so substantively, and so well. Unfriendly Fire offers a sharp, vigorously framed analysis of this state of affairs. The main attraction in Unfriendly Fire is the agility and tough-mindedness with which Mr. Frank presents his arguments.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“This new book from the academic who first broke the story about the gay Arabic translators who were thrown out of the military is the best thing ever written about Bill Clinton’s disastrous policy of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ ”—Columbia Journalism Review

“A meticulously argued case for the dismantling of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and for the full reversal of the ban on gay and lesbian servicemembers.”—NPR.org

“The book is a definitive addition to Allan Berube’s Coming Out Under Fire and Randy Shilts’s Conduct Unbecoming, which each focused on eras before ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ when gay soldiers were simply banned without any epistemological baggage. But Frank differs from his predecessors with his insistently critical tone and laser-like attention to the policy’s shortcomings.”—The Advocate

“Frank examines the 1993 law that bans open homosexual service in the U.S. military . . . and provides compelling evidence why the law should be repealed. . . . Unfriendly Fire is recommended reading, especially for those who proudly serve our Nation, because of its well-reasoned insights on how the current ban on homosexuals in the armed forces is currently undermining our military might.”--Military Review

“Frank tears down the pro-ban position on multiple fronts [and] builds a solid case that the ban on gays in the military is not only wrong, it is endangering the country.”—Kirkus Reviews

Product Details
ISBN: 9780312603533
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: March 2nd, 2010
Pages: 368