Holmes spent a year reporting this story about two drill sergeants—one black and one white—in a company at Fort Knox, Ky. The piece chronicles their jockeying for power, advancement and recognition. The men’s candor is remarkable—their comments about each other frank and accusatory. We assume Holmes’ lengthy reporting time encouraged their outspokenness. We imagine Holmes, notebook in hand, hustling from one man to the other, as each offers an earful about his rival. The piece sheds light not just on race relations in the military but on other important elements of military culture: competition, insecurity, machismo.

Read “Which Man’s Army,” by Steven A. Holmes

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