The Casualty Gap: The Causes and Consequences of American Wartime Inequalities

Hardcover | April 24, 2010

byDouglas L. Kriner, Francis X. Shen

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Many have long suspected that when America takes up arms it is a rich man's war, but a poor man's fight. Despite these concerns about social inequality in military sacrifice, the hard data to validate such claims has been kept out of public view. In The Casualty Gap Douglas Kriner and FrancisShen renew the debate over unequal sacrifice by bringing to light mountains of new evidence on the inequality dimensions of American wartime casualties. They demonstrate unequivocally that since the conclusion of World War II communities at the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder have borne adisproportionate share of the human costs of war. Moreover, they show for the first time that when Americans are explicitly confronted with evidence of this inequality, they become markedly less supportive of the nation's war efforts. The Casualty Gap also uncovers how wartime deaths affect entire communities. Citizens who see the high price war exacts on friends and neighbors become more likely to oppose war and to vote against the political leaders waging it than residents of low-casualty communities. Moreover, extensiveempirical evidence connects higher community casualty rates in Korea and Vietnam to lower levels of trust in government, interest in politics, and electoral and non-electoral participation. In this way, the casualty gap threatens the very vibrancy of American democracy by depressing civic engagementin high-casualty communities for years after the last gun falls silent. The Casualty Gap should be read by all who care about bringing to light inequalities in military sacrifice and understanding the effects of war on society and democracy.

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Many have long suspected that when America takes up arms it is a rich man's war, but a poor man's fight. Despite these concerns about social inequality in military sacrifice, the hard data to validate such claims has been kept out of public view. In The Casualty Gap Douglas Kriner and FrancisShen renew the debate over unequal sacrifice...

Douglas L. Kriner is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Boston University. Francis X. Shen is Fellow, MacArthur Foundation Law and Neuroscience Project.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.98 inPublished:April 24, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195390962

ISBN - 13:9780195390964

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Table of Contents

Preface1. The Casualty Gap2. Inequality and U.S. Casualties from WWII to Iraq3. Selection, Occupational Assignment and the Emergence of the Casualty Gap4. Do Casualty Gaps Matter?5. The Broader Consequences of Casualty Inequalities6. Political Ramifications of the Vietnam Casualty Gap7. Political Ramifications of the Iraq Casualty Gap8. The Casualty Gap and Civic Engagement9. The Future of the Casualty GapReferencesList of Tables and Figures