This edited volume provides a comprehensive and critical review of what we know about military service and the life course, what we don’t know, and what we need to do to better understand the role of military service in shaping people's lives. It demonstrates that the military, like colleges and prisons, is a key social institution that engages individuals in early adulthood and shapes processes of cumulative (dis)advantage over the life course.  The chapters provide topical synthesizes of the vast but diffuse research literatures on military service and the life course, while the volume as a whole helps to set the agenda for the next generation of data collection and scholarship. Chapter authors pay particular attention to how the military has changed over time; how experiences of military service vary across cohorts and persons with different characteristics; how military service affects the lives of service members’ spouses, children, and families; and the linkages between research and policy.

chapter 1|18 pages

Life-Course Perspectives on Military Service

An Introduction
ByJanet M. Wilmoth, Andrew S. London

chapter 2|29 pages

The Military as a Transforming Influence

Integration into or Isolation from Normal Adult Roles?
ByRyan Kelty, David R. Segal

chapter 3|20 pages

Women's Lives in Wartime

The American Civil War and World War II
ByD’Ann Campbell

chapter 4|29 pages

Race-Ethnicity and Immigration Status in the U.S. Military1

ByAmy C. Lutz

chapter 5|22 pages

Military Service and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Lives

ByMaria T. Brown

chapter 6|25 pages

Military Service as a Pathway to Early Socioeconomic Achievement for Disadvantaged Groups

ByPamela R. Bennett, Katrina Bell McDonald

chapter 7|21 pages

Labor Market Outcomes among Veterans and Military Spouses

ByMeredith Kleykamp

chapter 8|20 pages

The Best Years of Our Lives

Military Service and Family Relationships—A Life-Course Perspective
ByDaniel Burland, Jennifer Hickes Lundquist

chapter 9|15 pages

Military Employment and Spatial Mobility across the Life Course

ByAmy Kate Bailey

chapter 10|21 pages

A Matter of Life and Death

Military Service and Health
ByAlair MacLean

chapter 11|22 pages

Military Service, Social Policy, and Later-Life Financial and Health Security

ByDebra Street, Jessica Hoffman

chapter 12|11 pages

United States Military Services' Sponsorship of Life-Course Research

Past, Present, and Future
ByPaul A. Gade, Brandis Ruise

chapter 13|21 pages

Methodological Problems in Determining the Consequences of Military Service

ByDouglas A. Wolf, Coady Wing, Leonard M. Lopoo