Academic journal article Military Review

Military Adaptation in War: With Fear of Change

Academic journal article Military Review

Military Adaptation in War: With Fear of Change

Article excerpt

MILITARY ADAPTATION IN WAR: With Fear of Change, Williamson Murray, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2011, 342 pages, $35.00

WILLIAMSON MURRAY WANTS his writing to make a difference. Perhaps more than any other living military historian, Murray has aimed his books and articles toward the edification of serving professionals. His success is evident by the use of two of his coauthored anthologies, The Dynamics of Military Revolution and Military Innovation in the Interwar Period, as core texts in the Command and General Staff College military history curriculum. However, some purists argue that Dr. Murray walks on thin ice because extracting practical lessons from complex historical experience is dicey business. In his defense, I believe historians must attempt to distill useful ideas from their research. Otherwise, those less aware of history's perverse ability to perplex and deceive will take charge of the business of finding lessons learned. Therefore, along with acknowledging his distinguished career and body of work, let us respect Murray's genuine concern for military education.

He is clearly in the teaching mode in his most recent volume, Military Adaptation in War: With Fear of Change. This book could be considered a sequel to Military Innovation in the Interwar Period, a collection of case studies that delve into the efforts of the major powers to examine the battlefield lessons of World War I as they prepared for the challenge of the next conflict. The problem then was changing militaries during peacetime. …

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