The Past as Prologue: The Importance of History to the Military Profession

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Press:Cambridge Univ Pr Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (May 8, 2006)
Publication Date:2006-5-8
Author Name:Murray, Williamson (EDT)/ Sinnreich, Richard Hart (EDT)


Exploring the usefulness of the study of history for contemporary military strategists, this volume illustrates the great importance of military history while simultaneously revealing the challenges of applying the past to the present. 
Essays from authors of diverse backgrounds--British and American, Civilian and Military--present an overwhelming argument for the necessity of the study of the past by today's military leaders in spite of these challenges.
Part I examines the relationship between history and the military profession.
Part II explores specific historical cases that reveal the repetitiveness of certain military problems.

Book Description

The Past as Prologue explores the usefulness of the study of history for contemporary military strategists. 
Essays from authors of diverse backgrounds-British and American, Civilian and Military-come together to present an overwhelming argument for the necessity of the study of the past by the today's military leader's in spite of these challenges.
The essays of Part I examine the relationship between history and the military profession.
Those in Part II explore specific historical cases that show the repetitiveness of certain military problems.

About the Author

Williamson Murray is Professor Emeritus of European Military History at Ohio State University and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Defense Analysis. 
He is the author of a number of books including The Changes in the European Balance of Power, 1938-1939, The Path to Ruin; Luftwaffe; German Military Effectiveness; The Air War in the Persian Gulf; Air War, 1914-1945; The Iraq War: A Military History, with Major General Robert Scales, Jr.; and A War to Be Won: Fighting the Second World War, with Allan R.
He also co-edited numerous collections, including Military Innovations in the Interwar Period (1996) with Allan R.
Millet and The Dynamics of Military Revolution, 1300-2050 (2001), with MacGregor Knox.Richard Hart Sinnreich works as an independent consultant in areas ranging from Army wargaming to defense transformation.
His recent writings include 'The Changing Face of Battlefield Reporting', ARMY, November, 1994; 'To Stand & Fight', ARMY, July, 1997; 'In Search of Victory', ARMY, February 1999; 'Whither the Legions', Strategic Review, Summer, 1999; 'Conceptual Foundations of a Transformed US Army with Huba Wass de Czege', The Institute For Land Warfare, March 2002; 'Red Team Insights From Army Wargaming', DART, September 2002; 'Joint Warfighting in the 21st Century' (with Williamson Murray), IDA (2002); and A Strategy By Accident: US Pacific Policy in the Cold War.
He writes a regular column for the Lawton Constitution and occasional columns for ARMY and The Washington Post.


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Comment List (Total:10)

  •     Ótima obra para quem deseja estudar uma linha de continuidade histórica na evolução da arte militar. Boa compra e bons estudos para os interessados.
  •     This book is an intriguing collection of essays from American and British civilian and military thinkers on the importance of history to the military profession. Included among this book's essays are thoughtful examinations of the relationship between military history and the history of war, British and American Marine views on he relevance of history to serving military professionals, the sometimes awkward relationship between history and the military education, the role of Thucydides as an educator, a subtle and excellent examination of Clausewitz's views on history and the future strategic world, as well s some intriguing case studies on the Victorian Royal Navy, the Russo-Japanese War, the British army's readiness between WWI and WWII, and terrorism. The closing essay of the book, a frightening examination of the gaps between history and the future of civil-military relations, gives plenty of food for thought in this well-thought out and relevant work.
  •     The book arrived in good condition
  •     Written by a variety of scholars and current and former military officers, this collection of essays discusses the importance of studying military history to: (1) learn valuable lessons about past military successes and failures; (2) better understand some of the recurring problems in warfare throughout the ages; and (3) gain a historical perspective to better address present and future military developments. The essays strongly encourage military professionals to study history, and discuss various ways that the study of military history can help military professionals do their jobs and fulfill their professional obligations better. Given the long-standing tradition of civilian control of the military in the United States, these essays could also be helpful to elected officials and government officials and employees with any responsibility for civilian control or oversight of the military.The essays are scholarly and technical in nature, and are written in a style intended for readers who are historians, military professionals, or serious students of military and political history. Readers with a casual or passing interest in military history probably would find this book too scholarly and technical.
  •     excellent book.
  •     American strategic thought is cyclic. Ever since the end of the Civil War the study of military history has fallen in and out of style, even within U.S.
  •     We all think that our times are unique. And little makes this as clear as the opening few pages of this book.
  •     History has long been the "school of the soldier." This book spells out why that is the case and why history needs to continue to be the centerpiece of all professional military education.
  •     The editors of this book have put together an outstanding series of essays derived from a conference at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and later presented at the Marine Corps University, Quantico. The book's theme is stated in the subtitle; "The Importance of History to the Military Profession;" its view point is that the study of military history is critical for the military. There are two introductory chapters. The first, by Editor Williamson Murray, argues that only by studying military history can a soldier begin to understand war. Not that there aren't pitfalls and, "for history to be of any use, its very complexities demand skeptical inquiry rather than reliance on a smattering of inevitably oversimplified historical anecdotes." The second chapter, by eminent military historian Sir Michael Howard, argues that only military history can provide contextual understanding for many more conventional historians in explaining many issues, such as the impact of World War's I and II on society.The rest of the book is divided into two sections; the first focuses on the relationship of military history to the military profession, and the second looks at historical cases that illustrate recurring military problems. The essays rely on academics and on military officers both of whom provide insight into history's role in understanding war. The authors include many familiar names such as LTG (R) Paul Van Riper, USMC, MG (R) Jonathan Bailey, British Army, John Gooch, Colin S. Gray, and the two editors themselves.If you believe military history allows a better understanding of war, or if you just enjoy military history, this book will give you insight into the positive aspects of the field and its pitfalls - and there are many. At the same time, if you tend to believe today's problems are unique, read the book so that you can find the true path.
  •     This volume of essays edited by scholars Williamson Murray and Richard Sinnreich provides an excellent review of why and how military history in particular, and history in general, adds value to the professional development of those interested in or working in military and security issues. Covering general topics as well as specific campaigns the study of which would add greatly developing professionals, this volume covers all bases with regard to military history.

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