Once considered a bastion of learning, leadership, and disciplined lifestyle, today’s private military academies are often regarded as expensive holding facilities for unwanted, incorrigible boys who have nowhere else to go. Their depiction in popular media has reinforced the impression that they are boot camps disguised as educational institutions. The reality is far more complex and far more encouraging. Using a decade of participant observation research, including serving as an instructor at some of these schools, anthropologist William Trousdale explores the contemporary experience of military school life. From the admissions office to daily life in barracks, classrooms, playing fields, and social events, he describes how these schools endeavor to realize their mission of creating educated, mature young men from largely at-risk youth and the challenges—both met and unmet—in doing so. This volume will be of interest to those studying secondary and alternative education, at-risk youth, and the role of the military in society.