How Reservists Bear the Burden of Iraq
Michael Musheno and Susan M. Ross
The stories of the citizen soldiers of an Army Reserve unit who were among the first wave of reservists mobilized after September 11


What is it like to be one of the citizen-soldiers summoned to duty in Iraq and Afghanistan? The events of 9/11 were a call to arms for many reservists, as shock, anger, and fear propelled large numbers to volunteer for the opportunity to serve their country in the Middle East. Even the most patriotic, however, had not expected that the wars would last so long or that the Army Reserve would supply so much of the manpower.

Using the soldiers' own voices, Deployed draws upon the life stories of members of an Army Reserve MP Company, who were called to extraordinary service after September 11. The book explores how and why they joined the Army Reserve, how they dealt with the seismic changes in their lives during and after deployment, the evolution of their relationships inside and outside their military unit, and their perspectives on the U.S. Army.

Musheno and Ross uncover five pathways that led these citizens to join the reserves, showing how basic needs and cultural idioms combined to stimulate enlistments. Whatever path led to enlistment, the authors find that citizen-soldiers fall into three distinct categories: adaptive reservists who adjust quickly to the huge changes in their lives abroad and at home, struggling reservists whose troubles are more a product of homegrown circumstances than experiences specific to serving in a war zone, and reservists who are dismissive of military life while they live it and oppose the war even as they fight it. Perhaps most important, Deployed challenges the prevailing stereotype of returning soldiers as war-damaged citizens.

Read "New Transfer Orders: An Update on the 893rd," by Susan M. Ross, following the 893rd's re-deployment during the Bush Administration's Surge in Iraq plan.

Jacket photograph: AP Photo/Hutchinson News, Travis Morisse.

Michael Musheno is Professor and Chair in the Department of Criminal Justice Studies at San Francisco State University and Distinguished Affiliated Scholar at the Center for the Study of Law and Society at the University of California at Berkeley.

Susan M. Ross is Associate Professor of Sociology and Chair of Criminal Justice for Lycoming College.

Praise / Awards

  • "Deployed is an important and deeply moving book. Here, in this story, the heroic tradition of the American citizen-soldier lives on."
    —Andrew J. Bacevich, professor Boston University, author of The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War

  • "Currently, there are few to no books dealing with the sociology of Iraq and even fewer have empirical data on the experiences of American soldiers. More important this work provides a strong and needed voice for Soldiers—their words are compelling, rich, and moving."
    —Morten Ender, Professor of Sociology, United States Military Academy at West Point

  • "This is a unique book that weaves historical, ethnographic, and organizational approaches for a study of Iraq-war military reservists. Cleanly written in a manner accessible to a wide range of academic and public audiences, the authors' findings challenge the pervading wisdom on reservists' motivations for service, the chemistry between family, reserve duty, and relations with regular military, and the effect that service in Iraq had on them."
    —Jerry Lembcke, Associate Professor of Sociology, College of the Holy Cross

  • "Whatever your feelings about Iraq, "Deployed" is an important and compelling work that illuminates the real human cost of the war, and gives voice to those compelled to fight it."
    —Ken Wells, Senior Editor, CondeNast Portfolio

Look Inside

Copyright © 2008, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

News, Reviews, Interviews

Read: Review Law and Politics Book Review

Read: Review History News Network

Read: Review | 11/1/2008

Read: Article Inside Higher Ed

Read: Q&A with Michael Musheno and Susan Ross | PDF | March 1, 2008

Listen: UMP Author Podcast Series: Michael Musheno and Susan Ross | MP3 | March 2008

Product Details

  • 216 pages.
  • 2 Tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Ebook
  • 2009
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-02125-3

  • PDF: Adobe Digital Editions e-book (DRM Protected)

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  • citizen soldiers, Army Reserve, National Guard, all volunteer army, Total Force Policy, conscription, post-traumatic stress disorder