"Empires, by nature, are competitive…. Tension can be resolved by war or compromise…. Empires tend to choose war."

Burton shares the life of his long-time friend, ninety-six-year-old William H. Drumm, Jr., Lt. Col. USAF (Ret.) in this part biographical, part historical narrative. Set against the backdrop of World Wars I and II and through the Vietnam conflict, Burton explores the historical contexts that influenced Drumm's coming of age and his twentieth-century military career. He tells Drumm's story in an unusual memoir-like first-person viewpoint, presumably with many of Drumm's own words.

Drumm's descriptions of his awakening awareness of the "transition from peace to war" during his high school years and, consequently, his multi-faceted training at various U.S. Army Air Corps bases after just one semester of college are basic but adequate. Descriptions such as his training adventures during 1942–45, which culminated in his highly dangerous missions flying B-24 bombers carrying aviation fuel from India into China over the Himalayan Mountains, will likely intrigue those interested in military history. Readers not already familiar with how young men of the WWII era prepared for their military service will also find both the ordinary and the exotic settings and circumstances that Drumm served in fascinating. Drumm maintains his military career stateside and abroad through marriage and raising six children, serving again in Cold War Germany, in Japan as the clouds of the Korean War gathered, and later in Vietnam.

Burton's and Drumm's heartfelt examination of the events that led to the twentieth century's wars is mostly apolitical, historical, and cited appropriately. However, there are times when Drumm's personal views are made evident: "But now in the year 2020, the enemy is domestic. It is here in our country, and they are determined to… take away our freedoms I fought for…." Overall, this is a text worth examining, perhaps even in the context of classroom discussion.

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