By: Melissa Bass.

This book is a superb study of the politics and civics of national service over three periods of innovation: the 1930s (Civilian Conservation Corps), the 1960s and beyond (Volunteers in Service to America), and the 1990s and beyond (AmeriCorps). It is careful and nuanced, evenhanded in terms of probing political and ideological arguments for and against the idea of national service itself, as well as specific programmatic developments across multiple presidential administrations. Its analytic and normative perspective elaborates the possibilities and challenges of “public policy for democracy” at the national level and can guide further development of national service generally, which has an increasingly important place for the work of developing more sustainable and resilient communities in the face of climate change.