The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire
Instituted in 1991, the Arthur
Goodzeit Award, named
after the late Arthur Goodzeit, a founding member of NYMAS and the first
editor of the Newsletter, is
given annually to an original work in military history which the members
of the NYMAS editorial committee consider to be of unusual value.
The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire, by Richard B. Frank. New
York: Random House, 1999. Pp.
xix, 484. Illus, maps,
append, notes, biblio., index. $35.00.
A complete list of Arthur Goodzeit Award
books can be found on the NYMAS website.
Total War: The German and American Experiences, 1871-1914
by Manfred F. Boemeke, Roger Chickering, and Stig Förster
second in a series of volumes that began with On the Road to Total War, Anticipating Total War is a clear
improvement over the earlier book, largely because the theme of this
volume runs through all of its articles much more strongly than in the
earlier one. There are four
parts. A general
introductory section is followed by sections on war and society, memory
and war, and finally the experience of war.
The opening essay by Roger Chickering examines the
concept of “total war.” This
alone makes the book worth reading.
Chickering thoughtfully considers not only the concept itself,
but also how, like so many other ideas, it has been abused. There
follows an interesting comparative piece by Irmgard Steinisch covering
the U.S. and Germany in terms of imperialism and militarism during the
last half of the 19th century.
The rest of the book has its share of articles that
are, by and large, quite interesting.
worth are David Trask’s article on military imagination in the United
States, which deals with what the U.S. Army and American military
writers believed war would look like in the future, and Stig Förster’s
similar piece about German perspectives on the future.
Alfred Kelly’s piece on memory and the Franco-Prussian (or
Franco-German, as he puts it) War is most interesting in several ways. In
1903 a young doctor named Ernst Rodenwaldt tested the educational level
of a number of Silesian working class Army recruits.
For comparatively poorly educated men, the results should give
many pause over the present state of American education. In
connection with the Kelly article, it might have been a good idea to
include an essay by Carol Reardon, whose book on Pickett’s Charge and
“memory” has become a classic of the genre.
Taken all together, Anticipating Total War is
a considerable improvement over its predecessor. While not as fully comparative as this reviewer would prefer, it takes a
long stride in the right direction. This
trend should continue with the next three projected volumes, which will
deal with the world wars and the inter-war period.
Total War: The German and American Experiences, 1871-1914, edited
by Manfred F. Boemeke, Roger Chickering,
and Stig Förster. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1999. Pp.
--R. L. DiNardo
On Dec. 19, 1999, The New York Times Book Review ran a piece by Carlo D'Este on Robert Remini's recent
book The Battle of New Orleans.
line is quite interesting:
Arrayed against [the rag-tag forces of Maj. Gen. Andrew
Jackson] were the mighty British Navy and the most elite regiments of
the Duke of Wellington's victorious army, fresh from their defeat
of Napoleon at Waterloo.
the Battle of New Orleans was fought on Jan. 8, 1815, while Waterloo
took place 161 days later, on June 18th.
of course, the Brits were using a time machine.
Philippine War, 1899-1902,
by Brian McAllister Linn. Lawrence,
Ks.: University Press of Kansas, 2000.
Pp. xiv, 427. Illus,
maps, notes, biblio., index. $39.95.
The “Philippine Insurrection” is one of the most
controversial of America’s wars.
Most treatments have lacked grounding in serious research and
have invariably been based on a priori partisan assumptions.
As a result they have glossed over unpleasant realities, either
to depict the American war effort as a noble cause, nobly conducted or
to indict the U.S. for conducting a campaign of criminality hardly
equaled until the Nazi darkness.
In that regard The
Philippine War is different. Well-grounded
in original documents, including the letters and diaries of soldiers
from both sides, the book does not take a Manichean “good vs.
evil” look at the war, but tries to sort the truth from the enormous
weight of fabrication and myth that have long dominated treatments of
Philippine War provides
a solid operational treatment of the struggle, putting it into its
political framework. It
follows events from the initial contacts between representatives of the
U.S. and of the exiled insurgents, on the eve of the Spanish-American
War, to the collapse of resistance following Emilio Aguinaldo’s oath
of allegiance to the United States.
In a remarkably even-handed treatment, myths, heroes,
and villains fall by the wayside. Neither
Arthur MacArthur nor Emilio Aguinaldo come off with reputations intact,
the former stubborn and inflexible, and the latter inept, brutal, and
treacherous. The famous
Marine expedition across Samar (“Stand, gentlemen, he served on Samar.”)
is depicted for what it really was, a poorly-conceived, ill-planned, and
badly led undertaking that turned what should have been a “walk in the
sun” into a disaster despite the fact that there was virtually no
fighting. Linn also points
out that while there was little unity on the Filipino side, the
resistance was not merely confined to the Tagalog-speaking community in
The book has many effective word portraits of
people and events, including a number of good battle pieces.
There are some lapses in The Philippine War. Linn
says little about military organization on either side.
In discussing the volunteer troops who bore the brunt of the
fighting, Linn makes the interesting assertion that they were among the
best-trained soldiers the U.S. has ever sent into action, a claim which
might have been subject to a more detailed explanation.
Although he occasionally mentions Spanish prisoners-of-war, who
were sometimes found in the Filipino ranks, Linn omits what was one of
the most impressive feats of arms in Spanish military history, the
335-day defense by a small garrison of the town of Baler, on the east
coast of Luzon, against overwhelming Filipino forces. Arguably, these are minor failings, given the complexity of
the subject. But one
omission is of considerable importance.
Although he mentions that civilian casualties in the
islands were by no means as high as has traditionally been depicted in
leftist treatments, in which figures approaching a million have been
bandied about, Linn does so en
passant, and makes no either to cite what he considers a more
realistic figure, or, in fact, to discuss the subject at any length.
Despite this, The
Philippine War is the most important book so far on the “Philippine
Code Book: The Evolution of Secrecy from Mary, Queen of Scots, to
by Simon Singh. New York:
Doubleday, 1999. Pp. xiv,
402 pp. Illus, tables, diagr., append., glossary, biblio., index.
The Code Book is
one of the best popular treatments of the history of codes and ciphers
this reviewer has ever encountered.
Despite its subtitle, the work actually deals with the subject
from the earliest evidence of secret writing to the present, using the
story of how Mary, Queen of Scots, was done in by the timely
decipherment of a message as the “peg” on which to hang the rest of
what a tale it is, as Singh takes the reader on a 5000 year journey from
ancient Egypt into the near future.
Along the way he gives the reader a series of simple, clearly
understandable explanations of the many different types of secret
writing, including a side-trip into the decipherment of several “lost”
languages. Various types of
codes and ciphers are discussed, along with the techniques by which they
were developed and cracked. As
is natural, the story gets more complex as technology and advanced
mathematics come into use in recent decades, but the author manages to
explain most developments simply, often using clever analogies. A numerous collection of appendices helps illustrate or
explain particular points in greater detail.
his well-written work, Singh does not neglect the people behind the
development and solutions of various codes and ciphers, and is usually
careful to explain the importance of each development.
is necessarily the case in a work of such scope, there are a number of
omissions from The Code Book. The most notable is the failure to mention the “Sacred
Three” codebreakers of the U.S. Military Telegraph during the Civil
War, and the Union’s amazingly successful use of
“route ciphers,” which are nowhere mentioned in the work in
any context. Despite
these omissions, The Code Book is
and British Aircraft Carrier Development, 1919-1941, by
Thomas C. Home, Norman Friedman, and Mark D. Mandeles.
Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2000.
Pp. xii, 248. Illus, append., notes, biblio., index. $39.95. ISBN:
This work is essentially a discussion of the
reasons why Britain and the U.S. developed different approaches to the
design and employment aircraft carriers during the 1920s and 1930s,
focusing on the ideas about the operational employment of carriers,
rather than providing a detailed technological treatment of the
evolution of the respective carrier forces.
It’s particularly good on the institutional factors that
fostered or impeded the development of carriers and carrier aviation in
the two countries. Taking
the heat off the allegedly nefarious “battleship admirals,” the
authors observe that in the U.S. it was the extreme advocates of
aviation, such as Billy Mitchell, who hampered carrier development,
while in Britain it was a combination of the lack of interest in
carriers on the part of the R.A.F., combined with a lack of vision in
the Royal Navy, not to mention the restrictions imposed by the various
naval limitations treaties, which made it difficult for both navies to
built adequate numbers of carriers, a sine
qua non for the development of sounder doctrine.
Despite the fact that the book is relatively
short, it covers an enormous amount of ground, including a short
appendix on the evolution of the Japanese carrier force..
For example, the authors point out that the full flowering of
carrier doctrine was not possible until carriers became relatively
numerous, radar became sufficiently sophisticated as to permit adequate
defense of carriers from air attack, and auxiliary vessels – tankers,
ammunition ships, stores ships, and the like – were available in
sufficient numbers to permit the formation of mobile fleet replenishment
squadrons, factors not present until 1943-1944, at which point American
carrier aviation finally demonstrated what could be done.
Nor did the fact that the U.S. did not enter World War II until
the end of 1941 hurt the evolution of American carrier doctrine, which
seems to have benefited greatly from observing British experience in the
first two years of the war.
Of course, there’s much more in American and British Aircraft Carrier Development than can readily
be summarized here. A good
book, worth reading.
Iron Knights: The United States 66th Armored Regiment, by
Gordon A. Blaker. Shippensburg,
Pa.: Burd Street Press, 1999. xxii,
411 pp. Illus, table, maps,
notes, biblio., index. $39.95.
A very good history of the oldest U.S. tank unit,
founded in World War I. The
66th Armored played an important role in the development of
tanks and mechanized doctrine in the U.S. Army between the world wars,
and later served with distinction in the 2nd Armored
Division. The book, which is profusely illustrated and well mapped,
wisely spends a lot of time on the regiment’s activities in the
immediate pre-World War II period, and there are a number of valuable
chapters dealing with the numerous pre-war maneuvers, most of which did
not get the press those in Louisiana got.
The book then goes on to give a solid account of the regiment’s
activities during World War II.
Delusion: Stalin and the German Invasion of Russia, by Gabriel Gorodetsky. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999. Pp. xvi, 408. Illus,
maps, notes, biblio., index. $29.95.
very scholarly inquiry into what John Erickson terms “the great
conundrum of 1941,” why Stalin did nothing in the face of mounting
evidence that Hitler was preparing to invade Russia.
After a short essay on the basic assumptions of Stalin’s
foreign policy, Gorodetsky focuses on the 22 months between the Molotov-Ribbentrop
Pact and Operation Barbarossa. He
touches a lot of bases, including the possibility of a lasting
Soviet-German alliance, the state of the Red Army’s preparations for
war, and Stalin’s psychological state.
In the process he refutes the claim that Stalin was about to
attack Hitler when the latter unleashed his hordes on the Soviet Union
in June of 1941. A valuable
work for anyone interested in the Second World War, and particularly on
the war in the east.
Blitzkrieg: The Battle for White Russia, 1944, by Walter S. Dunn, Jr., Boulder, Co.: Lynne Rienner, 2000. Pp. xii, 248. Maps,
tables, diagr., append, notes, biblio., index.
Despite more than 50 years of historiography, Soviet
Blitzkrieg is the first scholarly look at the destruction of Germany’s
Army Group Center by the Red Army in the summer of 1944, an event which
is apparently the greatest pitched battle in history. This is a strictly operational look at this battle.
As a result, while deals with details such as the production of
tanks and other weapons, or the availability of reserves, it never looks
at events on the tactical level, nor directly focuses on the concerns of
the front line troops on either side. Despite this, a work likely to be of interest to anyone
concerned with the Second World War on the Eastern Front.
Deadly Combat: A German Soldier’s Memoir of the Eastern Front, by Gottlob Herbert Bidermann, translated and edited
by Derek S. Zumbro. Lawrence,
Ks.: University Press of Kansas, 2000.
Pp. xiv, 330.
Illus, map, append, glossary.
Bidermann rose from Landser to lieutenant in the 132nd Infantry Division, one
of the un-sung “leg and hoof” divisions that formed the backbone of
the German Army during World War II.
The division served on the Eastern Front throughout the war,
until it surrendered in Courland.
The account is a purely military one, largely from the
perspective of the common front line soldier.
Although Bidermann occasionally refers to prisoners-of-war and
civilian refugees, he largely glosses over the less pleasant side of the
Russo-German War. Despite
this, In Deadly Combat is a
useful contribution to the literature on the war in the east.
War II: U.S.
Greatest War: Americans in Combat, 1941-1945, by Gerald Astor. Novato,
Ca.: Presidio Press, 1999. ix,
1033 pp. Illus, append.,
biblio., index. $39.95.
Greatest War is
an attempt to tell, in one volume, the story America’s soldiers,
sailors, marines, and airmen had to tell about the Second World War.
Despite an occasional minor error, the author has done a
remarkable job of weaving together an extraordinary amount of oral
evidence with more traditional narrative, turning
out a quite readable seamless treatment of the war.
Although not a scholarly treatment, The
Greatest War is a valuable addition to the literature of the war.
at Bay: The Lorraine Campaign, September to December, 1944,
John Nelson Rickard. Westport,
Ct.: Praeger, 1999. Pp. xx,
295 pp. Illus, maps, tables, append, notes, biblio., index.
rather detailed look at Patton’s unsuccessful attempt to take Metz.
Although the book is good, it fails to deal effectively with the
suggestion that the operation was a mistake on Patton’s part, bogging
him down in an essentially positional battle which, arguably, he might
have lost were it not for the necessity of breaking off the attack when
the Germans unleashed the Battle of the Bulge.
Friendly in the Vicinity . . . .” My Patrols on the Submarine USS Guardfish
During World War II, by Claude C. Conner.
Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Savas/Stackpole, 1999. Pp. viii, 230. Illus,
maps, append., biblio., index. $24.95.
A memoir by an enlisted man who spent most of World
War II aboard the submarine Guardfish.
Although the book provides an good look a the operations during
the war from a unique perspective, it is particularly valuable for what
is it’s primary focus, Guardfish’s “friendly fire”
sinking of the American salvage vessel Extractor near the
Marianas on January 3, 1945.
and the Enemy: Imperial Strategy in the Principate, by Susan P. Mattern. Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1999.
xx, 259 pp. Maps,
table, notes, biblio., index. $.35.00.
Observing that modern scholars looking at the
military policy and grand strategy of the Roman Empire generally use
modern concepts in reaching their conclusions, Prof. Mattern proceeds to
demonstrate that the Romans did not necessarily view matters in quite
the same way, due to the limitations of their concepts of geography,
politics, strategy, and other cultures,
As a result, Rome and the Enemy
is a ground-breaking work. It
covers a broad range of topics, from the Roman understanding of
geography, which differed greatly from modern, map-centric views, to
their perceptions of the character of foreign peoples.
Worth reading for anyone interested in Roman military and
in the Classical World: War and the Ancient Civilizations of Greece and
by John Warry. London:
Salamander, 1998. 302 pp.
Notes, index. Paper
- no price given. ISBN: 1-84065-004-4
A good general look at the art of war in the
Classical Antiquity, from the Homeric period through the fall of Rome.
The book is well written, accurate, and has occasionally valuable
insights. Although marred
by a total lack of maps, Warfare in the Classical World is certainly a very good introduction
to the subject.\
Casualties and Combat Losses in the Twentieth Century, edited by G. F.. Krivosheev.
London: Greenhill/ Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole, 1997.
Pp. xiv, 290. Tables,
notes. $39.95. ISBN:
One of the most valuable books to have appeared on
the history of the Soviet Union, Soviet
Casualties and Combat Losses in the Twentieth Century is an
extraordinary mass of hitherto unavailable statistics culled from the
archives of the former Soviet Union.
Although it does not cover losses from the genocides, purges, and
political murders of the Soviet regime, it does include losses during
military operations from the Russian Civil War through Afghanistan,
including Cold War casualties. The
book also includes analyses of strength figures at various periods,
which have themselves been quite elusive.
The total combat losses during the approximately 70 years of
Soviet rule approach ten million dead and 30 million non-fatal
indispensable reference for anyone with a serious interest in the
history of the twentieth century.
on the Sea: American Destroyers Lost in World War II,
by Robert Sinclair Parking. New
York: Sarpedon, 1996. Pp.
xiv, 360. Illus, maps, tables, append, glossary, biblio., notes.
This work treats every
American destroyer loss in the war in considerable detail. Each ship has a short, separate chapter, which covers the
origins of the ship’s name, a couple of pages detailing the
circumstances of her loss, and then information her class and technical
details, sponsor, commanding officers, and battle honors.
Not only is this an indispensable reference to anyone interested
in the U.S. Navy in World War II, but it happens to make excellent
reading as well. Recommended.
Official Chronology of the U.S. Navy in World War II, by Robert J. Cressman. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2000. Pp. xii, 367. Illus,
append., notes, glossary, index. $45.00.
An immensely valuable reference work, marred by the
complete absence of maps and a tendency for the amount of detail to
fall-off as the intensity of the war deepened.
There are also a number of minor errors, such as the description
of a naval gun as a ‘4”/.50’ rather than a ‘4”/50’ (p. 184)
and the misdesignation of the U.S. Fifth Army as the “Third Army”
(p. 206). But these are minor quibbles.
The work deserves a place on any reference shelf devoted to the
Second World War.
Oxford Companion to American Military History, edited by John Whiteclay Chambers II. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
Pp. xxxiv, 916. Maps, append, index. $60.00.
A major dictionary-style reference of American
military institutions and history, with contributions by some notable
scholars, such as Stephen Ambrose, Martin Blumenson, Donn Starry, and
William Piston. Some
of the essays are excellent. Unfortunately,
the quality is uneven. There
are numerous errors (e.g., Civil War casualty figures are wrong,
and omit civilian losses entirely, the percentage of troops in Vietnam
who were black is overstated, and the book repeats S.L.A. Marshall’s
long-refuted claim to have earned a commission in France during World
War I), there are many omissions (e.g., James Wilkinson or Jacob Brown, the principal senior officers
in the for the first quarter of the nineteenth century, are missing, as
is Little Turtle, the most
effective of all Indian commanders, while Catholic chaplains are not
mentioned in the entry on the Chaplaincy, which is actually titled “Religion
in the Military), odd priorities (e.g.,
Pat Schroeder merits more space than Benedict Arnold or William F.
Halsey, and there is actually an entry for pro-communist “pacifisit”
Paul Robeson), much duplication (e.g.,
women and African-Americans in the service are each treated in two
separate essays, with much overlap), and many typos that ought to have
been caught by proper editing (e.g.,
“agreed” where “argued” is clearly intended, in the entry on
Useful, if used with caution.
German Order of Battle: Panzers and Artillery in World War II,
by George F. Nafziger. Greenhill:
London/Stackpole, Mechanicsburg, Pa., 1999.
463 pp. Biblio.
Although not as complete as the famous Tessin series
on the German order of battle in World War II, this is much less
expensive and much easier to use. As
always in such works there are occasional errors (e.g., the Reichswehr
was limited by the Treaty of Versailles to three cavalry divisions, not
to a single cavalry brigade, as stated).
In addition, the book could have benefited from the use of
tables, which would have made it much easier to compare the ways in
which unit structure and equipment allocations changed over the life of
the Third Reich.
“It is just as legitimate to fight an enemy in the
rear as in the front.”
Economics and War
War, Pursuing Peace: The Political Economy of American Warfare,
Paul A.C. Koistinen. Lawrence,
Ks: University Press of Kansas, 1998.
xix, 432 pp. Notes,
biblio., index. No price
given. ISBN: 0-7006-0890-7
This is the third and least satisfactory
volume in a series of five that will treat the “Political Economy of
American Warfare” from 1606 to the present.
The work focuses on American economic mobilization planning
during World War I, the Depression, and 1930s.
The book is virtually devoid of statistics, concentrating instead
on organizational planning. Moreover,
the author does not correlate economic and industrial mobilization
planning with war plans, so that the reader gains no notion of the scale
of forces that were being considered.
In addition, Koistinen makes virtually no mention of the ways in
which F.D.R. used anti-Depression legislation to promote the expansion
of the armed forces. More
seriously, he betrays a certain sympathy for the anti-readiness faction
in American politics, with considerable attention given to the shakier
conclusions of the Nye Commission, which investigated the alleged
machinations of the “Merchants of Death.”
A poor book.
Economics of World War II: Six Great Powers in Industrial Competition,
edited by Mark Harrison. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1998. xxiii,
307 pp. Tables, figures,
notes, references, index. $49.95.
A serious look at the industrial side of World War
II. Following a very useful
introductory essay that reviews the economic resources and achievements
of the collective Allied and Axis powers, a series of essays examines
each of the major powers – Britain, the U.S., the U.S.S.R., Germany,
Japan, and Italy – in some detail.
The work includes an enormous volume of statistical data, some of
which is rather surprising (e.g., Italy
had a higher per capita GDP
than Japan). Unfortunately
this very wealth of data sometimes makes the book difficult going,
particularly since the individual essays are not all structured in the
same way, nor do they convert money figures into one standard currency,
which often makes direct comparisons difficult.
Nevertheless, valuable for anyone interested in industrial
mobilization and the grand strategy of the war.
The Conduct of War
War in the Early Modern World, 1450-1815, edited by Jeremy Black.
Boulder: Westview Press, 1999.
Pp. xi, 268. Notes,
biblio., index. $28.00
paper. ISBN: 0-8133-3611-2.
Although short, the introduction and nine essays
in War in the Early Modern World provide
a surprisingly solid overview of the different ways in which various
societies conducted war during the period of European expansion.
Individual essays focus on the conduct of war in various regions
– Japan, China, India, North America, Africa, and so forth – with a
particularly insightful treatment of the Spanish conquest of Mexico.
Most of the essays take a non-European perspective, and for the
most part are well reasoned, and rooted in serious scholarship, though
there are occasional dubious conclusion (e.g.,
acceptance of the Aztec oral tradition that says Montezuma was slain
by the Spanish – how would they know?).
Valuable for anyone interested in military history.
and Native American Warfare, 1675-1815, by Armstrong Starkey.
Norman, Ok.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998.
Pp. vii, 208. Notes, biblio., index. $17.95
This is a revisionist look
at the nature of war in North America, but it is not a strident one.
Starkey refutes a lot of the myths on both sides, such as the “sharpshooting
yeoman farmer” as well as the equally stereotyped “noble” and “ignoble
the limits of the evidence on Indian practices, he nevertheless rejects
falling back on unconfirmed “oral tradition,” which is often of
recent invention. Although
there are occasional minor errors of fact, such as putting Fallen
Timbers in 1813, nearly 20 years too late, but overall a useful work.
Submissions for The
Newsletter should be sent directly to the editor, at
A. A. Nofi
Seminary Rd (#1606)
or by email, to
Sky, Black Sea: Aircraft Carrier Night and All-Weather Operations,
by Charles H. Brown. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1999. Pp. x, 252. Illus, diagr., append., notes, biblio., index.
A history of the night and all-weather carrier
operations from the first experiments on the old Langley in the mid-1920s to 1991 Gulf War.
Although the work is somewhat on the thin side when it comes to
technical matters, it provides an adequate survey of the subject.
Worth reading for students of naval aviation.
of Britain Day: 15 September 1940,
by Alfred Price. London:
Greenhill Books/Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 1999. xi, 180 pp. Illus,
maps, append., biblio., index. $34.95.
When originally published, in 1990, Battle
of Britain Day, was, surprisingly, the first treatment of that
momentous occasion which was based on a thorough examination and
comparison of both British and German documents.
Liberally seasoned with interviews of common citizens as well as
pilots, this ground-breaking work remains the best treatment of the day’s
events. Of particular value is the final chapter, in which the author
summarizes some of the main points of the book by posing and answering a
series of questions (“How many German aircraft were shot down . . . ,”
“What role did Ultra play .
. . ,” and so forth). A
very valuable work for anyone interested in air power or the Battle of
Airpower Strategy in Korea, 1950-1953, by Conrad C. Crane. Lawrence,
Ks.: University of Kansas Press, 2000.
x, 252 pp. Illus,
maps, notes, biblio., index. $35.00.
A general survey of American air operations
in Korea, with some particularly valuable chapters on personnel and
technical problems. There
is a thoughtful section on the well-orchestrated Communist “disinformation”
campaign about the use of chemical and biological weapons, which
includes a critical look at American capabilities in those areas, to
support the argument that such were not used.
The books’ principal flaw is that although when it treats naval
and marine aviation it does so honestly, it fails to accord them
appropriate coverage – in the opening weeks of the war, U.S. and
British carriers provided close to half the tactical air coverage
available to the U.N. command – which thus suggesting that naval
aviation was of marginal importance.
Shots: An Oral History of the Air Force Combat Pilots of the Korean War, edited by Jennie Ethell Chancey and William
R. Forstchen. New York:
William Morrow, 2000. Pp.
ix, 240. Illus, map.
Drawing upon the first-hand accounts of a
couple of dozen Air Force fighter and bomber pilots, the editors manage
to weave a readable, coherent tale of the air war over Korea. Of particular importance are the treatments of the very
earliest days of the war, the often difficult transition from piston to
jet aircraft, and the complexities introduced by restrictive rules of
engagement. In a timely
note, there are several references to the problems created by the North
Korean penchant for attempting to infiltrate U.N. lines hidden among
masses of refugees. A good
book for air enthusiasts.
for Glory: Dive Bombing, Midway, and the Evolution of Carrier Airpower,
by Thomas Wildenberg. Annapolis:
Naval Institute Press, 1998. Pp.
xvi, 258. Illus, diagr., tables, notes, biblio., index. $34.95.
A well-written, readable look at the
introduction and development of the dive bombing in the U.S. Navy. The author effectively weaves a lot of technical information
about aircraft design trends in with the evolution of the dive bombing
tactic and the development of naval carrier doctrine. Worth reading for anyone interested in the Pacific War
or naval aviation.
Short Rounds: Some Recent
Books of Interest
on War and National Character, by Robert D. Luginbill. Boulder:
Westview Press, 1999. Pp.
vii, 232. Notes, biblio.,
philosophical inquiry into Thucydides’ notion of “national character”
and how it shaped the development of his history.
Valuable reading for anyone interested in the Peloponnesian War.
and Armour of the Crusading Era, 1050-1350, Western Europe and the Crusader
States, by David Nicole. London:
Greenhill/Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole, 1999.
636 pp. Illus, maps,
glossary, notes, biblio., index. $49.95.
Using over 2,400
contemporary illustrations, drawn from manuscripts, monuments,
tapestries, and so forth, the author provides a comprehensive look at
European arms and armor during the crusading era.
This large (8-inch by 10-inch) volume is of particular value for
anyone interested in the Crusades, Medieval Europe, or the evolution of
arms and armor.
This one part of a two
volume work, the other dealing with Islam,
Eastern Europe, and Asia, ISBN:
to the Drums: Eyewitness Accounts of War from the Kabul Massacre to the
Siege of Mafeking,
by Ian Knight. London: Greenhill/ Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole, 1999. Pp. 303. Illus,
maps, biblio., index. $34.95.
to the Drums tells
the story of some of the wars and expeditions of the British Empire
during in the mid- and late-nineteenth century, from the First Afghan
War to the South African War, using the personal testimony of “the
ordinary British soldier.” The
30 entries, some of which are rather gripping, derive from a series of
interviews with veterans that were published in The
Royal Magazine between 1905 and 1911.
A useful book for anyone interested in British military history
or the common soldier in war.
Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War,
by Mark Bowden. New York:
Penguin-Putnam, 2000. Pp.
vi, 392. Illus, maps,
notes, biblio., index. $13.95
paper. ISBN: 0-14-028850-3.
The paperback edition of Bowden’s well-received
account of the disastrous October 3, 1993 firefight in Mogadisciu, that
wrote finish to international
efforts to stabilize conditions in Somalia.
Well written, often gripping.
Grand Illusion: The Prussianizatin of the Chilean Army, by William F. Sater and Holger H. Herwig.
Lincoln, Nb.: University of Nebraska Press, 1999.
Pp. xiv, 247. Illus,
tables, notes, biblio., index. $50.00.
An interesting look at the ultimately unsuccessful
Chilean effort to create a “prussianized” army in the late
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the ways in which the army’s
German commander, Emil Korner, attempted to shape Chilean policy in
support of that of his mother country.
A worthwhile read for anyone interested in Latin American
military history, or in the problems of raising and maintain armed
forces in smaller, poorer countries.
History of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps,
by Mary T. Sarnecky. Philadelphia:
University of Pennsylvania, 1999. xiv,
518 pp. Illus, notes,
Beginning by examining provisions for nursing wounded
and sick soldiers in the long period before the formal founding of the
Army Nurse Corps at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, Col.
Starnecky has provided a readable, in depth study.
The range of the work is excellent, and well documented.
Specific chapters deal with particular periods in the history of
the ANC (there are two for World War II), making the book a valuable
read for anyone interested in the history of the Army or America’s
Battle of New Orleans: Andrew Jackson and America’s First Military
Robert V. Remini. New York:
Viking, 1999. xiv, 226 pp. Maps, chron., notes, biblio., index. $24.95. ISBN:
well written narrative treatment of the campaign of New Orleans in late
1814, which culminated in the disastrous British defeat before that city
in early 1815. The author,
who won a Pulitzer for his Andrew
Jackson, has a good story to tell, and does it well.
Although Remini overstates the importance of the battle, he does
make a number of interesting observations about it, which makes his
treatment of it valuable. Worth
Roots of Nazi Psychology: Hitler’s Utopian Barbarism, by Jay Y. Gonen.
Lexington, Ky.: University Press of Kentucky, 2000.
Pp. ix, 224. Biblio., index. $25.00.
A very serious inquiry into the many ideas – some
rational and intelligible, others illogical and crackpot – that helped
shape Hitler’s weird ideology. Interesting
reading for serious students of World War II.
Executive Secretary Prof. Kathleen Broome Williams has recently
presented three papers; "Mathematics at War: Grace Hopper and the
Harvard Computation Lab in WWII,"
before the North American Society of Oceanic History Point Clear,
Alabama, 6-9 April 2000, "Civilians in the Service"
at the annual Siena University Conference, 1-2 June 2000, and “A
Marine 'By Inclination and By Training': A Virginia Lawyer Goes to
War," at the Society for Military History Annual Meeting, 27-30
Member Ted Cook has recently returned from a
stint as Visiting Professor, School of History, Australian Defence Force
Academy and the University of New South Wales in Canberra.
While in Australia he also delivered a lecture at the Australian
War Memorial on "Japan's War in Living Memory and Beyond."
On June 3rd he addressed the Gunjishi Gakkai (The
Japanese Military History Association) Conference on "Asia at War
in the 20th Century" held at
in Tokyo, on the subject "Avoiding Death in China: A Japanese
Soldier's Experience of War.” This
summer he plans to complete research on the Japanese soldier’s war, in
Japan, supported by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation
Boardmember Steve Zaloga’s recent books
include U.S. Half-tracks in Combat
(Concord), and Russia's T-80U Main Battle Tank (Concord); The
M3Stuart Light Tank 1940-45 (Osprey New Vanguard).
Due later this year include are Lorraine 1944: Patton vs.
Manteuffel (Osprey Campaign), The
M26/M46 Pershing Tank (Osprey New Vanguard), US Amtracs at War
1942-45 (Concord); US Light Tanks at War 1941-45 (Concord),
and Scud: the History of the World's Most Infamous Missile
Steve’s current book project is The
Kremlin's Nuclear Sword: Russian Strategic Nuclear Weapons, 1945-2000, to
be published by the Smithsonian Institution Press.
He continues to write for many defense journals including recent
articles on the exaggeration of the cruise missile threat (Jane's
Intelligence Review) and on recent trends in the air defense missile
threat in light of Kosovo (Journal of Electronic Defense).
On June 2nd, NYMAS Boardmember Dr.
Albert A. Nofi addressed the Civil War Round Table of Northern
Illinois on “The Military Experiences of
Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis.”
His “Pompey the Great and the Campaign of 49 B.C.” was
recently published online on StrategyPage.
Al’s “Schlieffen’s Italian
Connection: An Overlooked Flaw in German Military Planning on the Eve of
World War I,” will be published shortly by Strategy & Tactics. He continues to contribute regular columns to both StrategyPage
and North &
South. Al’s currently
working on An Informal Military History of the American People,
and Warriors in the White House: The Military Experiences of the
Presidents, both intended for younger readers.
Website of Note:
Regiments and Corps of the British Empire and Commonwealth
Using numerous pages, this site deals with the
organization, history, and current status of the historic regiments and
corps not only of the British Army, but also of many of the former
colonies, the Dominions, and the other members of the British
Commonwealth, such as India and Pakistan, which are very well covered.
Depending upon the country,
coverage can be very extensive. In
some cases not only does this site direct the net surfer to regimental
sites, but also sites of related historical interest, re-enactment
companies, museums, biographies, and much more.
A site worth looking into
by anyone interested in the history of the British Empire and its