This book focuses on military conscription in 22 countries that represent the world's regions. The purpose is to shed light on the history, politics, and main events that led to the choice of conscription or professional military forces in the countries under study. While we acknowledge that practical and technological developments played major roles in this choice, we also understand that racial and gender relations, social group and political regime dynamics, regional influences, and international forces also affected military composition and relations to the rest of the society. Through this review, we aim at providing an easy-to-access source of knowledge about military mobilization policies and historical developments as well as the main ideas, politics, and events that shaped them. Through this review, we offer a glimpse on developments that influenced societies and political systems and were reflected in their militaries.
Simon, Rita J. A handbook of military conscription and composition the world over, by Rita J. Simon and Mohamed Alaa Abdel-Moneim. Lexington Books, 2011. 224p index afp ISBN 0-7391-6751-0; ISBN 9780739167519. Reviewed in 2012mar CHOICE.
This book by Simon and Abdel-Moneim (both, American Univ.) begins with a broad introduction to military conscription throughout history, followed by chapters on 22 countries, 10 of which have conscription. It covers the major national military establishments worldwide. Chapters address the history of conscription in a particular country, the composition of the armed forces, and information on who can serve, along with the status of minorities, women, gays, and lesbians. Graphs feature, for a period of several years, the percentages of military expenditures related to the country's GDP, armed forces personnel as a percentage of the national labor force, and total armed forces personnel. Reference source notes appear at the end of chapters. Some brief, relevant, updated information can be found in the CIA's The World Factbook https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html (CH, Dec'09, 47-1794). Having this information in one place is convenient so that readers can avoid having to locate it in each country's ministry of defense website. This title is the 14th volume in the publisher's "World Over" series, which includes a related work by Simon (with Alison Brooks) titled Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship the World Over (2009)--useful because many countries do officially perceive military service as an individual's civic duty. This new handbook could be placed in either the reference or general circulating collections of a large public library or academic library, and in appropriate special collections.
Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty; general readers. -- D. K. Blewett, College of DuPage
Copyright © 2013 American Library Association
Rita J. Simon and Mohamed Alaa Abdel-Moneim have produced a one-of-a-kind handbook that is both informative and insightful. The comprehensive country-by-country reviews of the social and political history, recruitment and conscription policy, and personnel demography of each national military provide a unique window into the sociological fabric of the world's armed forces.
— University of Nevada, Las Vegas