ENDURING BATTLE: American Soldiers in Three Wars, 1776-1945

By McIntyre, Jesse,, III | Military Review, July/August 2014 | Go to article overview

ENDURING BATTLE: American Soldiers in Three Wars, 1776-1945


McIntyre, Jesse,, III, Military Review


ENDURING BATTLE: American Soldiers in Three Wars, 1776-1945 Christopher H. Hamner, University of Kansas Press, Lawrence, 2012, 281 pages, $29.95

Christopher Hamner's Enduring Battle: American Soldiers in Three Wars, 1776-1945 tackles the age-old question of why men put themselves in harms' way despite their natural inclina- tion to survive. Hamner explores this question through battles in three American wars: Cowpens, Shiloh, and the Huertgen Forest. He describes the impact that technology, weap- onry, equipment, military doctrine, leadership, and the nature of war had on the individual soldier. He shares the individual soldier's experiences to aid the reader in understanding the ever-evolving nature of war.

Military historians and psychologists have offered theories about the changing aspects of the battlefield, the most popular being group cohesion theory (the bonds linking individuals together). Hamner challenges this theory using Omer Bartov's Hitler's Army, which says the savage fighting on the Eastern Front rendered unit cohesion an impossibility because of personnel attrition. …

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