Unfriendly Fire is the definitive story of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ Written by the nation’s most widely recognized expert on the policy, it draws on decades of research on gay service and hundreds of exclusive interviews with policymakers, government officials, academics and service members, to show the cruel and unaffordable costs of the gay ban.
The book contains never-before-published material about behind-the-scenes jockeying by participants in the creation of “don’t ask, don’t tell” who reveal the shockingly dishonest process that led to a disastrous policy that has pleased almost no one.
A lively and compelling narrative, 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 fairness.
A sharp, vigorously framed analysis argued so discerningly, so substantively and so well. With agility and tough-mindedness, Mr. Frank brings hard evidence to bear on the gay ban's cost and consequences.
Janet Maslin, New York Times
In a bracing new account, historian Nathaniel Frank shows how ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ has utterly failed… It's all here in gripping detail.
Sean Kennedy, The Advocate
This book lays out clearly, fairly, dispassionately and accurately the terrible cost to our national security of this insane policy. It brings light not heat to the debate - and the light makes change seem not just necessary but urgent.
Andrew Sullivan, blogger at The Daily Dish and author, The Conservative Soul
Frank makes a compelling case not only that there has been a shift within our society, but that the time has come to look beyond our preconceptions and focus on capabilities. This book should be mandatory reading for anyone with an interest in the state of our society or the readiness of our military.
General John Shalikashvili, former Chair, Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Armed Forces
Frank tears down the pro-ban position on multiple fronts… dismantles many of the most vicious prejudices… builds a solid case that the ban on gays in the military is not only wrong, it is endangering the country.
Frank's lucid and timely book should put to rest any lingering doubt about whether ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is working—it's been a failure from day one and should finally be put behind us.
Congressman Patrick J. Murphy, Member of the House Armed Services Committee and Select Committee on Intelligence, and former Captain, U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division
Empirical evidence and systematic analysis rarely have an impact on such emotional topics as gays in the military. But here is a book from a leading scholar that cuts through the ignorance, the denial and the prejudice to explain how we got stuck with a policy that was doomed to fail. Our military and our nation owe Frank a debt of gratitude.
Dr. Lawrence J. Korb, former Assistant Secretary of Defense under Ronald Reagan
Unfriendly Fire is a beautifully written and brilliantly researched book about one of the great, under-reported scandals of our time. This is an exposé of a policy which has done more damage to our national security than anything else the military has done since 1993. Almost every page contains news, even for those who have followed this disgrace closely. And the analysis is just as good as the reporting: all of Frank’s judgments are nuanced, intelligent—and extremely convincing. What is most unusual for a book of this kind: practically every page provides genuine reading pleasure.
Charles Kaiser, author of The Gay Metropolis
No intellectually honest American general or flag officer can read Unfriendly Fire and continue to support the failed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy.
Major General Dennis Laich, U.S. Army (Ret.)