Kirk's drifting ended abruptly in August 1942 when he was drafted into the Army. For nearly four years he lived in the desolate wastes of Utah (and, later, at a camp in Florida) as a sergeant in the Chemical Warfare Service. In one respect, Kirk's wartime experience proved to be invaluable: As a clerk with largely routine duties, he found a large amount of time to read. And read he did—Albert Jay Nock's Memoirs, Chesterton's Orthodoxy, Irving Babbitt's Democracy and Leadership, the political thought of Walter Bagehot, and countless classics of English and ancient literature.
hat tip to Denny