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Kathryn Roth-Douquet       



  AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes  from the Military – and How it Hurts Our Country by Kathy Roth-Douquet and Frank Schaeffer published by Collins Books, of Harper Collins, due out May 2006. 

AWOL brings a critical but hidden issue to national debate.  AWOL discusses the absence of the leadership classes from the military and how that absence creates a failure of democracy.  When those who make, support and protest defense policy to the greatest effect have the least actual experience with military – either through their own service, or the service of those close to them – America does not get the best policy possible.  The class gap undermines our nation's solidarity and ability to sustain engagements.  AWOL urges a broader sense of ownership and participation in the military among those in the privileged classes. Authors Kathy Roth-Douquet and Frank Schaeffer argue that military service is not bitter medicine, that those who experience it – including the most privileged – often find it to be inspiring and sustaining, and it can reaffirm their connection to their country.  

AWOL makes a policy argument, using surveys and current research, but it is also written from a personal perspective. Kathy Roth-Douquet is a former Clinton White House and Pentagon appointee, now married a Marine Corps officer who has deployed twice to Iraq. Frank Schaeffer was a filmmaker and is a novelist in Boston – his son enlisted in the Marine Corps out of prep-school, and deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. 



   What People are Saying about AWOL


Publisher's Weekly

  "In this impassioned, convincing manifesto, Schaffer (Keeping Faith ) and Roth-Douquet, a former Clinton White House and Department of Defense staffer, call for class integration of the military. Their arguments are personal: Roth-Douquet is a military wife and Schaffer's son is a marine, and the authors fall within the demographic they critique. Alternately narrating, they relate their experiences with the military and detail the liabilities of the present all-volunteer "corporate" force: the hindered policy-making ability of a civilian leadership without significant ties to the military, the weakening of the armed forces themselves, and "the sense of lost community and the threat to democracy that results when a society accepts a situation that is inherently unfair."  


Senator John McCain: 

"Frank Schaeffer and Kathy Roth‑Douquet have done our country a great service with the publication of their book, AWOL.  The authors, who watched with anxious hearts a son and a husband leave for war, discovered in that difficult experience a more genuine and wiser patriotism than they had known before.  And now they call on their fellow citizens, for whom national service and sacrifice is an abstraction, to recognize that love of country is a more personal and consequential attachment than is popularly understood among many of the most fortunate Americans.  I commend their wisdom and patriotism to all Americans as I honor their loved ones whose military service has entailed danger and sacrifice and has been a burden on the heart fearfully but proudly borne by their families."

Tom Brokaw:

“AWOL is a powerful and timely account of those missing in action – the privileged class of America staying out of uniform and out of harm's way.”





General Tommy Franks

  "Compelling – sure to spark dialogue on issues of patriotism and service to our country. Written with warmth and genuine respect for those who serve. I am impressed by the research – this book is based on fact, not fiction. As America looks for balance in a dangerous and complex world, AWOL is a great place to start.”



Mike O'Hanlon, Brookings Institute

  "For such a provocative and hard‑hitting book, AWOL is also rather fair and balanced‑‑and generally quite persuasive.  Best of all, Roth‑Douquet and Schaeffer are constructive and forward‑looking, with an excellent concluding debate between the authors about the pros and cons of mandatory national service versus other options for bringing the "upper classes" back into the nation's armed forces.”






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Kathryn Roth-Douquet is a writer, lawyer, political activist and Marine Corps wife.  She writes on issues of the military in society.  Kathy's forthcoming book is AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes from the Military and How it Hurts Our Country, co-authored by Frank Schaeffer, published by Collins Books/Harper Collins, due out May 2006.  It discusses how the country, its decision-making an democracy is hurt by the growing disconnect between those who dominate our political, cultural and professional institutions and those in the military.

Roth-Douquet has been a veteran of every presidential campaign of the past twenty years, and served in the Administration of President Clinton in the White House and the Department of Defense.  In the White House Kathy was associate director of presidential advance, and traveled with or ahead of the president around the world, negotiating on behalf of the White House and producing presidential events, from G-8 summits, to rallies of several hundred thousand to celebrate the end of the Cold War, to town hall meetings in America.   At the Pentagon, Kathy served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense primarily on defense reform issues.  Her final title was acting Principal Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Industrial Affairs and Installations).  For her work there she was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service. 

She is a member of the Democratic Leadership Council, a Fellow with the Truman Project, and continues to act as a strategist and fundraiser within the Democratic Party.  Outside of politics and government, Kathryn has been involved with private foundations, as vice president of the Revlon Foundation, and as director of special projects for the Nathan Cummings Foundation.  She was a weekly commentator on a current-affairs television show in Japan, and has taught American Government for the University of Maryland’s University College in Japan.  She is as an attorney and currently serves on the panel for the California Court of Appeals.

Kathy graduated from Bryn Mawr College, holds a masters in public and international affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University, where she was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and editor in chief of the journal of public and international affairs. Kathy holds a law degree, magna cum laude and Order of the Coif, from the University of San Diego.


Visit CO-AUTHOR FRANK SCHAEFFER's site!  Click Here


Articles Written By Kathryn:

Military service can open the eyes of country's 'elite' , January 17, 2005

'For love and for country', May 25, 2005



Individuals or organizations interested in contacting Kathryn may email