Grateful Nation

Student Veterans and the Rise of the Military-Friendly Campus

Book Pages: 280 Illustrations: 10 illustrations Published: November 2017

Author: Ellen Moore

Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Pedagogy and Higher Education, Sociology

In today's volunteer military many recruits enlist for the educational benefits, yet a significant number of veterans struggle in the classroom, and many drop out. The difficulties faced by student veterans have been attributed to various factors: poor academic preparation, PTSD and other postwar ailments, and allegedly antimilitary sentiments on college campuses. In Grateful Nation Ellen Moore challenges these narratives by tracing the experiences of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans at two California college campuses. Drawing on interviews with dozens of veterans, classroom observations, and assessments of the work of veteran support organizations, Moore finds that veterans' academic struggles result from their military training and combat experience, which complicate their ability to function in civilian schools. While there is little evidence of antimilitary bias on college campuses, Moore demonstrates the ways in which college programs that conflate support for veterans with support for the institutional military lead to suppression of campus debate about the wars, discourage antiwar activism, and encourage a growing militarization.


"Through extensive work with hundreds of veterans and a detailed investigation into veterans in college, Ellen Moore has powerfully illuminated and analyzed the ways the military has strategically positioned itself in US society. She has done something unique and powerful in the scholarship of war and peace—a work that should be broadly disseminated and debated." — Rick Ayers, Huffington Post

Grateful Nation raises important insights as to what the veterans’ presence on campus might mean. And, much like the paratrooper’s rucksack, there is a lot in Grateful Nation to unpack.” — Robert G. Young, Military Review

"An insightful new book. Grateful Nation will contribute to both future research and practice among those who study and work on questions related to veterans and to higher education." — Alair MacLean, Social Forces

"[Moore] has done a remarkable job of highlighting those experiences and attitudes with which we who work with veterans every day are very famil­iar." — Marshall W. Thomas, Academe

"Due to its wide-ranging theoretical grounding and implications, Grateful Nation is a strong contribution for those interested in a variety of topics including education, militarism, and veteran experiences. This is an excellent book for those who work with student veterans and want to engage in depth with the complexity of this student population." — Michelle Sandhoff, American Journal of Sociology

"This is an excellent book for those interested in the ethnographic approach in general and/or the student veteran experience." — William Zywiak, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

"Insightful...." — Steve Early, Against the Current

"In this extremely well-written book, Ellen Moore sensitively and movingly portrays the experience of veterans and their challenges in higher education (and beyond) with the help of veterans' own powerful reflections on their experiences. Documenting the role of academic institutions and the U.S. military in the production of a militarized common sense, as well as broader attitudes about war and the military, she illustrates the subtle and generally little-noticed militarization of colleges and universities in an era of perpetual post-9/11 warfare." — David Vine, author of Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World

"Grateful Nation provides a deeply informed and fine-grained ethnographic account of the educational challenges facing veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ellen Moore's exemplary work will require scholars, administrators, and policymakers to rethink their assumptions about veterans' education and the reasons why so many student veterans struggle in the classroom. With its clear and compelling prose, this book will encourage dialogue in the classroom and improve the campus climate for veterans." — Roberto J. González, author of Militarizing Culture: Essays on the Warfare State

"Reflexively mythologizing veterans allows Americans to avert their gaze from wars fought in their name. In this subtle and sophisticated book, Ellen Moore challenges readers to take the experience of our veterans seriously. Doing so may provide a first step toward finding an antidote to militarism.” — Andrew J. Bacevich, Professor Emeritus of International Relations and History, Boston University


Availability: In stock
Price: $26.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Ellen Moore is a visiting scholar at the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues at the University of California, Berkeley.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface  ix
Acknowledgments  xi
Introduction  1
1. Basic Training: Making the Soldier, Militarizing the Civilian  25
2. What They Bring with Them: Effects of Military Training on Student Veterans  43
3. Campus Veteran Support Initiatives  77
4. Veteran Self-Help: Embracing, Re-creating, and Contesting Gendered Military Relations  97
5. Spectral Wars and the Myth of the Antimilitary Campus  127
6. "Thank You for Your Service": Gratitude and Its Discontents  165
Conclusion  189
Notes  201
Bibliography  237
Index  253
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6909-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6880-9
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