Today's Military History-Past Imperfect

By Carafano, James Jay | Army, January 2007 | Go to article overview

Today's Military History-Past Imperfect


Carafano, James Jay, Army


Today's Military History-Past Imperfect The Past as Prologue: The Importance of History to the Military Profession. Williamson Murray and Richard Hart Sinnreich, eds. Cambridge University Press. 287 pages; index; $23.99.

Military history is a discipline under siege. The military hardly has time for it any more. Civilian universities generally view the study of warfare with disdain, believing that if we studied wars less there would be fewer of them. Publishers prefer pop war books that entertain and sell briskly over serious scholarship.

Williamson Murray, a popular and prolific historian and teacher, and Richard Sinnreich, a retired artillery officer and now a highly regarded columnist, have launched a modest counteroffensive, editing The Past as Prologue: The Importance of History to the Militant Profession. A collection of 14 essays derived from a series of AngloAmerican conferences held in 2003, the book covers the practice and relevance of history as well as a variety of case studies. The Past as Prologue offers a sampling of the best modern practitioners of the craft have to offer.

It is hard to imagine a better one-stop shop for catching up on contemporary military thought than this book. In a lengthy overview, Murray and Sinnreich argue that today senior policy-makers and military officers underestimate the value of history in decision making. At the same time, they consider what makes the study of history so difficult and challenging. That is followed by a published lecture by Michael Howard, considered by many as the father of modern military history. Howard's importance to the subject is reflected in the numerous times his seminal 1961 essay "The Use and Abuse of Military History" (reprinted in the March 1981 edition of the Army War College's journal Parameters) is referenced by other contributors to the book.

The following chapters offer essays by Murray, Sinnreich and Generals Paul Van Riper and John Kiszely on the influence of historical writing and teaching. Van Riper's is particularly insightful. A retired Marine officer who has played a prominent role in the debate over the transformation of today's military, he offers a catalogue of the books he read through his career, when he read them and the impact they had on his thinking about the nature and practice of war.

The remaining chapters in the book offer case studies in military history. Historian Paul Rahe analyzes the writing of Thucydides, the chronicler of the Peloponnesian Wars and one of the first military historians in the ancient Western world. Colin Gray and John Gooch write on strategy. Andrew Gordon and J. Paul Harris provide essays on innovation in the British army and navy. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Today's Military History-Past Imperfect
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.