In This Review

The Minuteman: Restoring an Army of the People
The Minuteman: Restoring an Army of the People
By Gary Hart
Free Press, 1998, 188 pp.

Before Gary Hart's presidential campaign collapsed over accusations of adultery in 1987, he had made a name for himself as a military reformer -- an advocate of low technology and maneuver. In this book he attempts to recover that reputation, despite the triumph of high technology and firepower in the Persian Gulf War. In so doing, he resurrects a fascinating but virtually unknown American military thinker, John McAuley Palmer, a confidant of General George C. Marshall and a passionate advocate of a militia system of military service. Hart proposes slashing the active force by 50 to 65 percent, to be replaced with an overhauled National Guard and Reserve. The proposal is thin on the details, and thinner yet on the geopolitics -- how is the United States to maintain its global commitments with weekend warriors? Hart's argument draws on formidable traditions of democratic thought, however, and even if this is very old wine in new bottles, it cannot be dismissed.