The NYMAS Newsletter.

A Publication of The New York Military Affairs Symposium


No. 26, Winter-Spring 2003


© 2003 NYMAS & The Authors


2002 Goodzeit Book Award Winner

Donald E. Vandergriff’s

The Path to Victory: America's Army and the Revolution in Human Affairs

Reviewed by

Lewis Finkelstein


When the Army Chief of Staff in the year 20xx boasts that he has just put a brigade half a world away in less than 96 hours the question will be how fit is the brigade for the task at hand.

According to Donald Vandergriff, the answer will be up for grabs. Vandergriff says there is a high probability that a good percentage of the brigade will have only been with it for less than a year. The result of this is that when the brigade starts its job some of its members will not have the instinctive feel for how each other reacts that comes with being part of a cohesive unit that has trained together for a long period of time.

Major Vandergriff argues that the Army suffers from two principal personnel problems; an officer corps that is too large for the tasks to be done and a personnel system that prizes "individual equity" over fighting ability. He then discusses the historical roots for each of these problems. The excessively large officer corps stems from the historical American system of mobilizing large numbers of "citizen soldiers" in times of conflict. In order to lead and direct these new soldiers an officer corps large enough to due the task had to be on hand as soon as the soldiers joined the Army. The "individual equity" focus comes about originally as the focus of keeping the enlarged officer corps "satisfied."

Maj. Vandergriff wants to make radical changes in the personnel system. He wants the Army to adopt a regimental (actually brigade) system. Brigades would have a territorial base, with the unity would result from recruiting from a fixed geographical area. Each of the three regiments in a brigade would be in a different state of readiness. One regimental group would be deployed in active operations. A second would be going advanced training (NTC, etc.), and the third would taking in and training new recruits. Under this program all training after basic would be done by the brigade, so that by the time a regimental group deployed for active assignment it would have trained and "grown up" together.

Needless to say this would make LARGE changes in how the Army operates. Even if Vandergriff is something of a voice howling in the wilderness, he has not gone entirely unheard. He has given briefings to personnel on the secretariat-level in DOD and made presentations before several military support organizations (e.g., Association of the U.S. Army). Thee has been lively discussion of his proposals, as one can determine by doing a web search using his name.

As to what the answer is going to be to the question of what the Army Chief of Staff will be able to do in 20xx, well, that will depend on what the army does with its personnel system.

The Path to Victory: America's Army and the Revolution in Human Affairs, by Donald E. Vandergriff. Novato, Ca.: Presidio/Ballentine, 2002. Pp. 320. Illus., tables, notes, biblio., index. $34.95. ISBN: 0-89141-766-4

Note: Named in honor of the late Arthur Goodzeit, one of the founders of NYMAS, the Book Award has been given annually since 1991 to a new work that, in the opinion of the NYMAS Board, represents the best example of scholarship in military history and related areas of scholarly interest. A complete list of Goodzeit Award winners may be found on the NYMAS website.

NYMAS Website

Webmaster, Bob Rowen


Feature Review

All the Factors of Victory: Adm. Joseph Mason Reeves and the Origins of Carrier Aviation, by Thomas Wildenberg. Dulles, Va.: Brassey’s, 2003. Pp. xiv, 326. Illus., tables, notes, biblio., index. $27.50. ISBN: 1-57488-375-5.

All the Factors of Victory fills a surprisingly gaping hole in the history of U.S. carrier aviation, providing an outstanding account of the single most important figure in its development. Reeves, the first aviation qualified naval officer to be promoted to flag rank , was the principal sea-going aviation officer of the Navy for many years during the 1920s. During the mid-1930s he served for a time as Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Fleet, the only aviation officer to hold that post, before retiring, only to be recalled to active duty during World War II.

Wildenberg, who has written extensively on the introduction of new technologies into the Navy in the interwar period, has provided a comprehensive account of the admiral’s life and career. This task was made the more difficult by the fact that the admiral left no private papers, not even letters; indeed, for some periods, such as from his retirement in 1936 until his recall to active duty in 1941, literally nothing is known about his private life.

Reeves’ importance to the development of carrier aviation cannot be understated. He fostered – and a times literally forced – the development of the techniques, tactics, and procedures that provided the foundation for the great carrier task forces of World War II. He accomplished this despite having to , battling not only the "Gun Club" – of which he was himself a distinguished member – but also, surprisingly often, the aviators themselves. Reeves demonstrated that carrier aviation could support the battleline in a variety of ways, and could also conduct daring offensive operations that would enhance the fleet’s effectiveness. And he did so in such a way that by the eve of the war the carrier was seen as an indispensable arm of sea power not only by the aviators, but also by the battleship navy as well aviators. He conducted "surprise" attacks on Hawaii and the Panama Canal during the 1920s, while pioneering the basic organization of what would become the "carrier task force," fought for greater autonomy for carriers, promoted the procurement of better aircraft, and more.

An immensely valuable contribution to the literature on the development of the fleet between the wars.

--A.A. Nofi, CNO SSG, Newport.



George Washington’s Indispensable Men: The 32 Aides-de-Camp Who Helped Win American Indepen-dence, by Arthur S. Lefkowitz. Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 2003. Pp. xviii, 411. Maps, notes, biblio., index. $29.95. ISBN: 0-8117-1646-5.

A valuable look at the role of the 32 men who served as military secretary or aides-de-camp to Washington during the Revolutionary War. An independent scholar who has done considerable work on the Revolutionary War, particularly in New Jersey, Lefkowitz provides extensive background information on each of the men in question, as well as on their activities while attached to Washington’s staff. He also provides some interesting, indeed surprising, material on the role of Martha Washington, who seems to have pitched in with the staff work from time to time.

While focused on Washington’s "Indispensable Men," Lefkowitz fits their activities firmly into the "Big Picture." As a result, his book is also a good account of the military side of the Revolutionary War, and provides a valuable look at the inner workings of an eighteenth century military headquarters.

Invaluable reading for anyone interested in the American Revolution, students of military organization and particular eighteenth century military practice, will find it worthwhile reading as well.

Bitter Victory: The Death of HMAS Sydney, by Wesley Olson. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2003. Pp. x, 437. Illus., maps, diagr., append., notes, biblio., index. $22.95 paper. ISBN: 1-59114-066-8.

An excellent treatment of one of the great mysteries of the Second World War, the fate of the Australian light cruiser Sydney. Opening with a technical account of the ship’s design and construction, Bitter Victory then leaps forward to November of 1941, when the ship literally disappeared while on a seemingly routine cruise in the Indian Ocean. The author the proceeds to cover the search for the ship in great detail, which turned up, not survivors of Sydney, but survivors of the German armed merchant raider Kormoran. On November 19, 1941, Kormoran and Sydney had fought a hot little engagement, which left the German ship sinking and the Australian one drifting away afire. What happened to Sydney after that remains a mystery.

Other chapters in Bitter Victory deal with the German war on Allied shipping, and the role of armed merchant raiders played in it, with the actual Sydney-Kormoran battle, technical analysis of the probable causes of the cruiser’s loss, some intriguing hints as to the fate of the ship, and even some speculation of her probable final resting place.

Bitter Victory is done more as a series of flashbacks and than as a straight narrative. Oddly, this strengthens the dramatic intent. A good book.

Stamping Out the Virus: Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War, 1918-1920, by Perry Moore. Atglen, Pa.: Schiffer, 2002. Pp. 408. Illus., maps, tables, biblio. $35.00. ISBN: 0-7643-1625-7

While ostensibly focused on Western intervention in Russia after World War I, Stamping Out the Virus actually provides the most detailed account this reviewer has seen of military events during much of the civil war between the Bolsheviks (the "Reds") and anti-Bolsheviks (the "Whites"). This is a difficult subject to handle, given that operations took place on many different fronts separated literally by continental land masses, and the author wisely excludes from his account the even more complex events in Siberia (can one expect a follow-on treatment of that campaign?). The work, which is profusely illustrated and well mapped, is particularly useful in unraveling operations in Central Asia and the Caucasus, where the conflict was for a time three-sides; Allied-White vs. Germano-Turkish vs., Bolshevik.

There are several notably useful items in the book. It includes an account of the financial cost to the Allies of supporting the Anti-Bolsheviks. For the campaign in southern Russia and Ukraine, the author provides a fairly detailed look at the organization and logistical problems of the White forces. There is also an interesting short, but comprehensive treatment of the use of tanks in some of the operations. In addition, for many of the operations the author provides valuable summaries of manpower and equipment, far more important than the often copious order-of-battle detail that would have best been relegated to an appendix.

The book has some flaws. More attention should have been devoted to fitting the military events into the broader political and diplomatic background. An index and a list of abbreviations would have been very useful. A more thorough editing would have been useful, as some usages are flatly inaccurate (e.g., "the H.M.S.") and there are a number of misspellings.

The book, which, by the way is extremely well made, is certain to be of value to those interested in Russian military history and the era of the First World War.

American War Plans, 1890-1939, by Steven T. Ross. London: Frank Cass/Portland, Ore: ISBS, 2002. Pp. xii, 212. Maps, notes, biblio., index. $29.50 paper. ISBN: 0-7146-8270-5.

A masterful survey of American contingency war planning from its inception until the eve of World War II. Ross, who has written several previous works on the subject, discusses the details of the many plans produced by the Army and Navy in this period, including the famous "Color Plans."

The book covers even minor war plans, such as those for intervention in China and almost literally all of Latin America, as well as more notable potential opponents such as Britain, Germany, and Japan. Ross takes a hard look at the rationale for these plans, and is often critical of them on a variety of grounds, including faulty reasoning and a frequent lack of realism. He devotes a good deal of attention to the process by which the armed forces developed plans, and provides the most extensive look available at the "Joint Army and Navy Board," one of the most neglected subjects in American military history.

An invaluable book for anyone interested in war plans, World War II, and jointness.

Afghanistan: A Military History from Alexander the Great to the Fall of the Taliban, by Stephan Tanner. New York: DaCapo, 2002. Pp. viii, 351. Illus., maps, glossary, biblio., index. $26.00. ISBN: 0-306-81164-2

A general survey that concisely looks the military history of what is now Afghanistan. The author manages to touch not only upon military events and practice, but also deals with many cultural, religious, and political trends.

The most valuable portions of the book are the chapters – three of twelve – that cover developments from the death of Alexander through the rise of the British Raj in nearby India, two millennia that are the least understood in the West. Three more chapters deal with the long and stormy relationship between Afghanistan and the British. These are followed by a chapter each devoted to the Soviet invasion, the Mujahideen resistance, the rise of the Taliban, and Operation Enduring Freedom.

A good read for anyone needing an introduction to the history of the region.



NYMAS Lecture Series

Tentative Fall 2003 Calendar *

Sep. 6 "The Salerno Operation, September, 1943", Jim Dingeman, NYMAS

Sep. 12 "The Contemporary Army and Air National Guard and Homeland Defense, Maj. Gen. Martha Rainville, Adjt. Gen. of Vermont

Sep. 19 "Information Warfare," Dr. Daniel Kuehl, National Defense University

Sep. 26 "America First: The Anti-War Movement and the Second World War," David Gordon, NYMAS/ Bronx Comm. College

Oct. 3 "Austro-Hungarian War Planning," Danny David, NYMAS

Oct. 10 "The 10th Mountain Division"

Oct. 17-18 Fall Conference, "The Bush Doctrine: War at Home and Abroad

Oct. 18 TBA

Oct. 24, " Weimar Germany, 1919-1933," Frank Radford, NYMAS

Oct. 31 "Native Americans in French and British Strategy during the French and Indian War (1754-1763), Maj. Joe Alessi, USMA

Nov. 7 "The Battles of Megiddo," Maj. Risa Cowher, USMA

Nov. 14 "The Rearming of Germany after WWII," Chuck Steele, USMA

Nov. 21, "Transform the Personnel System and You Transform the Army," Maj. Donald Vandergriff, Georgetown University

Dec. 5 "War and Boundaries in Medieval and Early Modern France," Louis Cooper, American University

Dec. 12 "On Vietnam Veterans," Maj. Erik Overby, USMA

Dec. 19 "The Lord Matilda," Valerie Eads, NYMAS

Unless otherwise noted, talks are held on Friday evenings at the new CUNY Graduate Center, at 365 Fifth Avenue, between 34th and 35th Streets, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Friday lectures are usually held in Room 6-495, but confirmation of the location should be obtained from the security desk when entering the building.

Talks are sponsored by NYMAS in conjunction with the CUNY Conference on History and Politics, Dr. George D. Schwab, Director. Support is also provided by the CUNY Military History and Defense Affairs Symposium and the CUNY Veterans Affairs Office. NYMAS is associated with the Society for Military History (Region 2).

*Consult the NYMAS Website for additions and changes


Short Rounds: The Second World War

Alamein, by John Latimer. Cambridge, Ma.: Harvard University Press, 2002. Pp. xxxii, 400. Illus., maps, append, notes, biblio., index. $27.95. ISBN: 0-674-01016-7.

As the author relies almost totally on English-language secondary sources, Alamein is not a ground breaking treatment of the famous battle. It is, however, valuable for its analytic look at the British Eighth Army in the Summer and Autumn of 1942. Coverage of the Germans, and especially the Italians, is less good.


The Battle for Leningrad, 1941-1944, by David M. Glantz. Lawrence, Ks.: University Press of Kansas, 2002. Pp. xxiv, 660. Illus., maps, tables, append, dramatis personae, notes, biblio., index. $39.95. ISBN: 0-7006-1208-4.

A look at one of the most horrendous events of the Second World War, the protracted siege of Leningrad that resulted in perhaps a million deaths among the civilian population. As can be expected from the author, the work is very detailed, comprehensive, and well documented. Unlike several other treatments of the siege, this concentrates primarily on the military developments and implications, though it does discuss the devastating impact upon the populace.


Hitler’s Italian Allies: Royal Armed Forces, Fascist Regime, and the War of 1940-1943, by MacGregor Knox. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Pp. xiv, 207. Illus., map, gloss., chron, notes, biblio., index. $28.00. ISBN: 0-521-79047-6.

Despite its relatively short length, this survey of the Italian Armed Forces during World War II, manages to look deeply into its organizational, technological, doctrinal, and tactical shortcomings, as well as its leadership and cultural problems, while rebutting the wartime Allied propaganda. A very useful work for anyone interested in the Second World War.


The Road to Rainbow: Army Planning for Global War, 1934-1940, by Henry G. Gole. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2002. Pp. xxii, 224. Illus., map, append., notes, biblio., index. $34.95. ISBN: 1-55750-409-1.

A ground-breaking look at Army war planning, based on newly discovered archival material from the Army War College. The Road to Rainbow recounts how planning a coalition war against both Germany and Japan began soon after the advent of the Nazi regime, demonstrating that the Army early accepted the possibility of global war within an alliance. There is a great deal of valuable material on the war planning process, the influence of the Army War College on the service, and on individual officers who had an impact on the evolution of war plans.


Ghost Front: The Ardennes Before the Battle of the Bulge, The Story of America’s Worst Intelligence Blunder of World War II, by Charles Whiting. New York: Da Capo, 2001. Pp. 219. Illus., maps, append., biblio., index. $27.00. ISN: 0-306-81148-0

Although not well documented, an interesting, often engaging look at complex series of intelligence and command errors that permitted the German Army to achieve surprise in the Ardennes in December of 1944.


Hitler Strikes Poland: Blitzkrieg, Ideology, and Atrocity, by Alexander B. Rossino. Lawrence, Ks.: University of Kansas Press, 2003. Pp. xv, 343. Illus., notes, biblio., index. $34.95. ISBN:0-7006-1234-3

Hitler Strikes Poland is only incidentally an operational treatment of the German opening weeks of the invasion of Poland in September 1939. The focus of the book is actually on German racial policy and how it influenced atrocities not only by the SS and its minions, but also by regular units of the German Army. Some sample chapter titles will suggest some idea of the nature of this work: "Nazi Radicals and SS Killers", "Nazi Anti-Jewish Policy", "Institutional Brutality and German Army Reprisal Policy". An enormously valuable book for anyone interested in – or who doubts – German war aims during World War II.


The Fall of Hong Kong: Britain, China, and the Japanese Occupation, Philip Snow. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003. Pp. xxvii, 477. Illus., maps, gloss., abbrev., notes, biblio., index. $35.00. ISBN: 0-300-09352-7.

A very detailed, often insightful history of Hong Kong from the period leading up to World War II through 1945. Although there is an excellent account of the Japanese conquest of the British colony, the work focuses primarily on the political implications of these events, most notably the failure of the Japanese to effectively mobilize widespread anti-British sentiment. Worthwhile reading for those interested in the war in China and imperial studies.


Short Rounds: American Military History

Uncovering Ways of War: U.S. Intelligence and Foreign Military Innovation, 1918-1941, by Thomas C. Mahnken. Ithaca: Cornell University, 2002. Pp. x, 190. Tables, notes, bibliog., index. $35.00. ISBN: 0-8014-3986-8.

An analytic study of American intelligence gathering about technological developments in Britain, Germany, and Japan, as well as what was – or wasn’t – learned and the uses to which the information was put. In the process, the book discusses the American military attaché system, which, it appears, was the most extensive of any of the great powers, evaluates the overall effectiveness of the effort, and throws some light on a few surprising corners, such the obstacles created by the Neutrality Acts in terms of intelligence co-operation with Britain.


American Soldiers: Ground Combat in the World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam, by Peter S. Kindsvatter. Lawrence, Ks.: University of Kansas Press, 2003. Pp. xxvi, 420. Illus., notes, biblio., index. $34.95. ISBN: 0-7006-1229-7.

A comparative study of the experience of the American soldier in the era of the draft, looking not only at training and combat, but also comradeship, racial and social diversity, leadership, and the post-war experience. The work is of particular value for its look at early positive experiences in interracial relations and for helping to further dispel the pernicious myths about Vietnam veterans.


Doughboys, the Great War, and the remaking of America, by Jennifer D. Keene. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 2001. Pp. xvii, 294. Illus., maps, notes, biblio., index. $38.00. ISBN: 0-8018-6592-1

Less a history of the AEF in World War I than a history of the AEF, that is of the American experience of raising, fielding, and fighting a national army in a major war and the impact of that experience on the Army and the Nation, down to the famous G.I. Bill of a later world war. The author does an excellent job of addressing some important issues, notably race and race relations in the army, and the impact of the experience on the development of post-war military policy and planning. The chapter on the Bonus March is an excellent summary of those events. Worth reading.


Biography of a Battalion: The Life and Times of an Infantry Battalion in Europe in World War II, by James A. Huston. Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole, 2003. Pp. xxx, 306. Illus., tables, maps, notes, biblio. $21.95 paper. ISBN: 0-8117-2694-0.

A well-documented, day-by-day account of the operations of the 3rd Battalion, 134th Infantry, from July 1944 through the end of the war in Europe, written by the unit’s former operations officer. Originally published in 1950, Biography of a Battalion provides a plain, but business-like look at all aspects of an infantry battalion’s life. Worth reading for any student of the American war effort.


War Under Heaven: Pontiac, the Indian Nations, and the British Empire, by Gregory Evans Down. Balt-imore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002. Pp. xviii, 360. Illus., maps, notes, index. $32.00. ISBN: 0-8018-7079-8.

An insightful account of military operations in what would later be termed "the Old Northwest territories," after the surrender of New France, between the British and their American colonials on the one hand, and the Indian nations led by the great Pontiac. The work opens with a comprehensive survey of the earlier history of the region and its complex politics, and then plunging into a detailed account of the war. The author provides an analytic treatment, discussing the implications, consequences, and problems created by the Anglo-American victory, and is not afraid to point out and wrestle with difficult problems in historiography and interpretation.


Civilian in Peace, Soldier in War: The Army National Guard, 1636-2000, by Michael D. Doubler. Lawrence, Ks.: University Press of Kansas, 2003. Pp. xxiv, 460. Illus., tables, append., notes, biblio., index. $17.95. ISBN: 0-7006-1249-1.

Doubler, author of Closing with the Enemy: How GIs Fought the War in Europe, has produced an excellent history of the Army National Guard from its roots in the militia of the colonial period and early republic, and brings it down virtually to the present, weaving together often complex political, social, and operational threads. The book is well-documented, and includes a wealth of hard information.


The American Home Guard: The State Militia in the Twentieth Century, by Barry M. Stentiford. College Station, Tex.: Texas A&M University Press, 2002. Pp. xii, 319. Glossary, notes, biblio., index. $44.95. ISBN: 1-58544-181-3.

Given the heightened national interest in internal security, this is a timely account of one of the most obscure features of American’s military system, the "state defense forces" or "state guards." Created in the period of World War I so that states would have reserve military force for emergencies when their National Guard had been called into service, state guards have existed –and still exist -- in about half the states, and have rendered service on many occasions during emergencies and disasters, while providing security to vital installations. The American Home Guard is particularly useful for its treatment of the increased national interest in state defense forces during the late 1980s and early 1990s, and the disastrous impact the creation of the illegal right-wing "militias" had on the institution. A valuable work.




A Gentle Reminder: Dues are Due.


NYMAS memberships run from September through August. Members in arrears will be purged . . . from the mailing list.


Short Rounds: General

Richelieu’s Army: War, Government, and Society in France, 1624-1642, by David Parrott. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Pp. xxiv, 599. Map, glossary, notes, biblio., index. $90.00. ISBN: 0-521-79209-6.

A very detailed treatment of the French Army of the early seventeenth century, focused more heavily on matters of policy, national military organization and management, and civil military relations. An important work for anyone interested in the evolution of French military primacy from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries.


World History of Warfare, by Christopher L. Archer, John R. Ferris, Holger H. Herwig, and Timothy H.E. Travers. Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska Press, 2002. Pp. xii, 626. Illus., maps, diagr., suggested readings, index. $29.95. ISBN: 0-8032-4423-1

As a basic text for an introductory survey course in military history, World History of Warfare is adequate, though by no means outstanding. The focus is largely on the West, with treatment of other regions rather limited. More attention might have been paid to societal issues, organization, and the inter-relationship of these with technology, strategy, and tactics.


Civilians in the Path of War, edited by Mark Grimsley and Clifford J. Rogers. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002. Pp. xviii, 280. Maps., notes, index. $45.00. ISBN: 0-8032-2182-7

An introduction and nine essays address issues in the status of civilians in wartime that have essentially remained unresolved over the ages, drawing upon examples from the Peloponnesian War through late Medieval and Early Modern Europe, mid-nineteenth century America, the Second World War, and on to the 1990-1991 Gulf War.


The Civil Wars: A Military History of England, Scotland, and Ireland, 1638-1669, edited by John Kenyon and Jane Ohlmeyer. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Pp. xxiv, 392. Illus., maps, notes, biblio., chron., index. $18.95 paper. ISBN: 0-19-280278-X.

An introduction, eight essays, and a "postlude" treat the period of the civil wars in all its aspects. One essay deals with military and political background, one each devoted to events in England, Scotland, Ireland, and at sea, plus special essays on sieges and fortifications, logistics and supply, and the fate of civilians during the war, and a supplementary essay on the decade of relative "peace" during the Protectorate. Together these present a comprehensive survey of the often highly convoluted series of wars, rebellions, insurgencies, and outbreaks that characterized what is still proportionately the bloodiest struggle in the history of the British Isles.


Romanian Military Reform and NATO Integration, edited by Larry L. Watts. Iasi: Center for Romanian Studies/Portland, Ore: ISBS, 2002. Pp. 228. Tables, diagr., notes, biblio. $24.95. ISBN: 9-7394-3240-9.

A dozen essays address various aspects of the restructuring of the Romanian Armed Forces in the aftermath of the overthrow of the Communist régime and the country’s increasing integration in the European community. The subjects covered include civil military relations, personnel management, officer education, force restructuring, procurement, and so forth, culminating in a discussion of "NATO Accession Strategy."


Spies in the Vatican: Espionage and Intrigue from Napoleon to the Holocaust, by David Alvarez. Lawrence, Ks.: University Press of Kansas, 2002. Notes, biblio., index. $34.95. ISBN: 0-7006-1214-9.

A survey of the role of espionage in papal diplomacy, as employed both by and against the Holy See. Perhaps the most surprising revelation in this work is that contrary to the widely held view that the papacy’s intelligence networks were among the finest in the world, save for the Risorgimento, during the period in question the Vatican essentially had no intelligence service. There is some revealing information about external attempts to influence papal elections (oddly, in 1939 the British and French perceived Pius XII as likely to be pro-Axis, while the Axis perceived him as likely to be pro-Western, etc.). Treatment of the Holocaust is thin.


Membership Activities

This past winter and spring have seen a number of notable achievements by NYMAS members.

In January Boardmember Richard L. DiNardo, one of the founding members of NYMAS, was promoted to Full Professor by the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, at Quantico Virginia. Richard chaired a panel at the annual meeting of the Society for Military History in May and presented a paper on the Marine Corps. He is currently working on a book about Axis coalition warfare.

In March Executive Director Kathleen Broome Williams, was promoted to Full Professor at The Bronx Community College, CUNY. Kathy chaired a panel at the SMH conference in Knoxville, in May, and presented a paper on "The Right of Command: Applying Computers to Naval Warfare," before an all-navy panel chaired by NYMAS honorary president David Syrett.  SMH meeting. She is currently working on a biography of Rear-Adm. Grace Hopper.

Boardmember Albert A. Nofi’s term with the CNO’s Strategic Studies Group has been extended for another year by mutual agreement between the Director and the CNA Corporation. On March 19th, Al made a presentation to the Rhode Island Civil War Round Table, in Cranston, on "Longstreet and his Enemies." He is currently working Naval Experimentation the Old Fashioned Way, a study of the U.S. Navy’s inter-war fleet problems.


Short Rounds: Ancient to Early Modern


The Art of War, by Sun Tzu, translated by Lionel Giles. Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications, 2002. Pp. 96. $4.95 paper. ISBN: 0-486-42557-7.

A reasonably priced reprint of the 1944 Military Service Publishing Company (Stackpole) edition of the 1910 Giles translation of the Chinese military classic. The valuable introduction, carried over from the 1944 edition, not only firmly demonstrates that Sun Tzu was hardly unknown or unheeded by Western military thinkers prior to the recent fad for his works, but also provides a useful summary of Chinese military history for the uninitiated.


Reconquest and Crusade in Medieval Spain, by Joseph F. O’Callaghan. Philadelphia: University of Penn-sylvania, 2003. Pp. xviii, 322. Illus., maps, tables, notes, biblio., index. $39.95. ISBN: 0-8122-3696-3.

A political-military history of the Reconquista focused on events from the mid-eleventh through the mid-thirteenth centuries. The author manages to do a very good job of integrating political, military, and religious developments, not to mention dynastic conflicts and cultural issues. The work tends to tell the story from the Christian perspective, but there is sufficient coverage of the Moslem side to put events into perspective.


Medieval Chinese Warfare, 300-900, by David A. Graff. New York: Routledge, 2002. Pp. x, 288. Maps, notes, biblio., index. $29.95 paper. ISBN: 0-415-23955-9.

An attempt at a synthesis of military developments in China during a period roughly comparable to Western Medieval times. The author includes some treatment of social and economic issues, but the work is primarily focused on organization and operations. There are some useful comparisons with comparable European practice. The work does, however, tend to assume some familiarity with Chinese history and geography.


Western Warfare in the Age of the Crusades, 1000-1300, by John France. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999. Pp. xv, 326. Illus., maps, append., notes, biblio., index. $19.95 paper. ISBN: 0-8014-8607-6.

A well done analytical look at European warfare in the high middle ages. The author takes a deep "war and society" look, drawing heavily upon historical examples, to help further the case, developing since the mid-twentieth century that Medieval warfare was neither ill-organized, nor wholly dominated by the mounted knight. Chapter titles suggest the range of the effort, "War and Authority," "Castles and War," "Armies," and so forth. The notes are quite valuable, frequently containing alternative explanation, additional evidence, and more detailed analysis.


The Later Thirty Years’ War: From the Battle of Wittstock to the Treaty of Westphalia, by William G. Guthrie. Westport, Ct.: Greenwood, 2003. Pp. x, 307. Maps, tables, glossary, notes, biblio., index. $69.95. ISBN: 0-313-32408-5

Covering the period from roughly 1634 through 1648, in sequel to the author’s earlier Battles of the Thirty Years’ War, this volume is not exactly a narrative history of the war, and lacks a clear focus. It is, nevertheless immensely useful for the extraordinary amount of material that it contains, such as military organization, weapons’ characteristics, costs, and so forth.


Short Rounds: Naval History


Admirals in the Age of Nelson, by Lee Bienkowski. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2003. Pp. ix, 294. Illus., glossary, notes, bibliog., index. $36.95. ISBN: 1-55750-002-9.

Short biographies of eleven lesser-known British admirals from the mid-eighteenth century into the early nineteenth; Howe, the two Hoods, Jervis, Duncan, Elphinstone, Gambier, Duckworth, Warren, Saumarez, and Pellew. While the treatments are necessarily abbreviated, they do manage to be comprehensive, and include much material on the history and culture of the Royal Navy in the period. The only serious flaw is the curious absence of Hawke and a complete lack of maps.


Tides in the Affairs of Men: The Social History of Elizabethan Seamen, 1580-1603, by Cheryl A. Fury. Westport, Ct.: Greenwood, 2002. Pp. xiv, 293. Notes, biblio., index. $67.95. ISBN: 0-313-31948-0

Encompassing not only the men of the Royal Navy, but the whole of England’s "maritime community," including merchant mariners, fishermen, and privateersmen, Tides in the Affairs of Men addresses "recruiting," training, social relations, organization, victualling, health, and much else beside, including spoils, life ashore, and so forth.


The Royal Navy, Seapower, and Strategy between the Wars, by Christopher Bell. Stanford, Ca.: Stanford University Press, 2000. Pp. xx, 232. Notes, biblio., index. $51.00. ISBN: 0-8047-3978-1.

Surveys British strategic thought regarding the conduct of war within the framework of Imperial Defence, a declining share of global power, a strong peace movement, difficult economic circumstances, and four potential major enemies, the United States, Japan, Germany, and Italy, at a time of uncertain strategic vision. Worth reading for students of twentieth century naval history.


Thomas Macdonough: Master of Command in the Early U.S. Navy, by Davis Curtis Skaggs. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2003. Pp. xix, 255. Illus., maps, tables, chron., notes, biblio., index. $36.95. ISBN: 1-55750-839-9.

Another in the Naval Institute’s valuable series of biographies of notable but long neglected senior officers of the U.S. Navy. Macdonough, who served with great distinction in the Barbary Wars and the War of 1812, earned particular distinction as the victor in the Battle of Lake Champlain (September 11, 1814). This volume provides a solid treatment of his career, and includes much useful material on the Navy during the first quarter of the nineteenth century.


Technological Change and the United States Navy, 1865-1945, by William M. McBride. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 2000. Pp. xiii, 333. Illus., notes, biblio., index. $51.95. ISBN: 0-8018-6486-0.

An excellent survey of how the U.S. Navy adapted to changing technology, and how technological change in turn shaped the Navy. The focus is on particularly stressful technologies, including steam power, the battleship, electrical propulsion, submarines, and aviation, though the difficulties involved in the introduction of radio are overlooked, and the author displays an unreasonable affection for rigid airships. There are some good word portraits of a number of the critical players, notable William Sims. On the whole, the author presents a balanced picture, demonstrating that many of the debates about technology – even that over the airplane versus the battleship – were far more nuanced than the frequent portrayal of "progressive" officers struggling with "reactionaries."


The Prize Game: Lawful Looting on the High Seas in the Days of Fighting Sail, by Donald A. Petrie. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2003. Pp. xiii, 217. Illus., maps, append., notes, biblio., index. $25.95. ISBN: 155750-669-8.

A comprehensive, and readable study of one of the most misunderstood aspects of early modern naval warfare, the awarding of "prize," that is the distribution of formal monetary rewards for the capture of enemy shipping and goods in wartime, in contrast to looting, a crass practice in which armies sometimes indulged. The first book published in the U.S. on the subject since the Civil War, The Prize Game explores the many arcane ramifications of the prize issue, such as the differences between prize allocation when the capturing ship was a privateer or a commissioned vessel, how prize differs from salvage, or piracy, the apportionment of shares, prize courts, "exchange", "ransom", and "parole," and much more, using a fairly large number of case studies. The book is well documented, and the many notes often include useful additional material. A worthwhile book for anyone interested in the age of sail.



The University of Pennsylvania Press

"Great Battles" Series

During the 1960s J.B. Lippincott of Philadelphia published the "Great Battles Series." Each volume in the series dealt with a single battle or campaign in a comprehensive fashion. Intended for a popular audience, the books nevertheless were authored by noted specialists, such as Gordon A. Craig or Charles B. MacDonald. Several of the titles were particularly outstanding, and, although lacking comprehensive scholarly documentation, quickly became the standard work on their subject, such as Craig’s excellent The Battle of Königgrätz.

These volumes went out-of-print long ago, and many of them are now quite rare. In 2003 the University of Pennsylvania Press began reissuing these volumes, making them again available. Currently available are,

The Battle of Huertgen Forest, by Charles B. MacDonald. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2003. Pp. viii, 215. Maps, sources, index. $14.95 paper. ISBN: 0-8122-1831-0.

The Darkest Day: The Washington-Baltimore Campaign During the War of 1812, by Charles G. Miller. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2003. Pp. viii, 232. Maps, notes, biblio., index. $15.95 paper. ISBN: 0-8122-1843-4.

The Battle of El Alamein: Fortress in the Sand, by Fred Majdalany. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2003. Pp. vii, 168. Maps, append., index. $14.95 paper. ISBN: 0-8122-1850-7.

The Cowpens-Guilford Courthouse Campaign, by Burke Davis. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2003. Pp. xiv, 208. Maps, bibliog., index. $14.95 paper. ISBN: 0-8122-1850-7.

The Battle of Königgrätz: Prussia’s Victory Over Austria, 1866, by Cordon A. Craig. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2003. Pp. xii, 211. Maps, notes, bibliog., index. $14.95 paper. ISBN: 0-8122-1844-2.

The individual volumes are of uniform size, appearance, and format. They run about 175 to 230 pages, and have been reproduced essentially unchanged from the original editions.


Special Mention

A Patriot’s Handbook: Songs, Poems, Stories, and Speeches Celebrating the Land We Love, selected and introduced by Caroline Kennedy. New York. Hyperion: 2003. Pp. xxiii, 663. Illus., index. $27.95. ISBN: 0-7868-6918-6.

A wonderfully eclectic compendium of some finest writing about America, including not only the "songs, poems, stories, and speeches" of the sub-title, but also letters, court opinions, newspaper articles, excerpts from novels, essays, and more, including, of course, the "founding documents" -- Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The selections range from 1630 to 2001. Most are by Americans, in all their infinite variety, among them presidents, soldiers, Indian chiefs, poets, critics, pundits, and more. To name but a few, we find Francis Scott Key, Longfellow, George Washington, Harper Lee, Paul Laurence Dunbar, both Roosevelts, John and Abigail Adams, not to mention Groucho Marx, Mario Puzo, and many more, including even Richard Nixon. A handful are from foreign pens, including, inevitably, Alexis de Tocqueville, but with some surprises as well.

The selections deal with war and peace, rights and responsibilities, the land and its people, and more. Not all celebratory. Some are legal documents or historical analyses, some are funny, even satirical. And there is anger here as well, though one would be hard pressed to argue that the anger of a Frederick Douglass, a Red Jacket, or a Cesar Chavez are out of place in such a collection.

Inevitably, one can always claim that something "great" was left out. This reviewer looked in vain for FDR’s D-Day prayer. But Eisenhower’s "Message to the Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Forces" is here, as worthy a selection. And while "Marching Through Georgia" may be missing, the original words to Julia Ward Howe’s "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" are here. Likewise, though Joseph Brant’s eloquence is absent, Chief Joseph’s is not.

A Patriot’s Handbook, which is profuously illustrated, is a worthwhile read for anyone trying to understand America.



The Napoleonic Era

The Emperor’s Friend: Marshal Jean Lannes, by Margaret Scott Chrisawn. Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 2001. Pp. xiv, 259. Illus., maps, notes, biblio., index. $57.95. ISBN: 0-313-31062-9.

A lively account of one of the greatest of Napoleon’s marshals, the salty, uncouth, and poorly educated Gascon Lannes, one of the few senior French officers who was unimpressed by the Emperor’s dignity. The book encompasses both Lannes’s private life and his military career in considerable detail. The notes are clear, include many valuable additional, details, insights, and information.


British Military Spectacle: From the Napoleonic Wars through the Crimea, by Scott Hughes Myerly. Cambridge, Ma.: Harvard University Press, 1996. Pp. x, 293. Illus., notes, biblio., index. $35.00. ISBN: 0-674-08249-4.

The focus of this work is on uniforms, drill, and ceremony, and how they affected both the British Army and British society. However, the book is much richer than this implies, as can be seen in the titles of some of some of the eight chapters, "Recruiting," "Discipline," "Morale," and even "Civil Disorder." There is a great deal in here about how the army was organized and commanded, the relationship between ceremonial, drill, and uniforms and how these affected the life, health, and safety of the common soldier, the way in which the army fought, and much more. There is also an enormous amount of valuable detail, and the notes are worth reading in themselves.


Napoleon’s Italian Campaigns, 1805-1815, by Frederick C. Schneid. Westport, Ct.: Praeger, 2002. Pp. xviii, 228. Maps, append., notes, biblio., index. $64.95. ISBN: 0-275-96875-8.

In contrast to most treatments of Napoleon’s career, which rarely deal with events in which he himself was not personally in command, Napoleon’s Italian Campaigns deals with military events in a theater that, after 1801, saw no operations by the "Corsican Ogre." The author thus literally "rescues" the long neglected events in Italy, where several major campaigns occurred. Prof. Schneid treats the 1805, 1809, and 1813-1814 campaigns against Austria, and the Conquest of Naples, 1805-1806, and the subsequent guerrilla war that left that kingdom unsettled throughout the period, as well as Murat’s quixotic bid for domination of the Peninsula in 1815. Beyond question the most complete one volume treatment of the Napoleonic era in Italy.


"A Desperate Business": Wellington, the British Army, and the Waterloo Campaign, by Ian Fletcher. Steplehurst, Kent: Spellmount, 2001. Pp. 192. Illus., maps, append., notes, biblio., index. $39.95. ISBN: 1-86227-118-6.

A profuously illustrated look at the British Army in the Waterloo Campaign. The work provides an good account of the organization, composition, leadership, and operations of the British and King’s German Legion forces, and gives an adequate look at the other elements of Wellington’s polyglot forces, within a generally excellent treatment of the campaign. There are some valuable insights, including some analytical looks at certain controversial issues – such as the disastrous performance of the 69th Foot – and some excellent excerpts from first-hand accounts.


Principles of War, by Carl von Clausewitz, translated and edited with an introduction by Hans W. Gatzke. Mineola, N.Y.: Dover, 2003/Harriburg, Pa.: Military Service Publishing Company, 1942. Pp. 82. Diagr., notes. $5.95 paper. ISBN: 0-486-42799-4

A reprint of the 1942 translation of Clausewitz’s "The Most Important Principles for the Conduct of War to Complete My Course of Instruction of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince," written while a tutor to Prince Frederick William of Prussia in 1812. Essentially a distillation of some of the ideas that Clausewitz would later incorporate into On War, the work makes frequent reference to historical examples drawn primarily from the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.


The Military Maxims of Napoleon, edited by David G. Chandler. London: Greenhill/Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole, 2002. Pp. 252. Illus., append., biblio. $18.95. ISBN: 1-85367-483-4.

Although for more than 150 years The Military Maxims of Napoleon have been taken as the distilled wisdom of the Great Captain’s military thought, in fact, they were never actually intended as such. The Maxims were collected after Napoleon’s death from what editor David Chandler rightfully terms his obiter dicta, casual remarks, observations, or comments that were culled from a vast mass of documents, letters, and memoirs. This edition of The Maxims has an equally unusual pedigree. It was prepared by Prof. Chandler in 1987, to update a reissue of William E. Cairnes’s 1901 edition of the original 1831 translation into English by British Lt. Gen. George C. d’Aguilar. For this edition, Prof. Chandler supplemented Cairnes’s explanatory annotations to assist the modern reader, likely to be unfamiliar with much early modern military history, including as it does references to the campaigns of Turenne, Saxe, and Montecuccoli. As a result, it is more than merely a reprint of the oft quoted adages of Napoleon, and a useful reference for anyone interested in the military life of the early modern period..


Wellington Invades France: The Final Phase of the Peninsular War, 1813-1814, by Ian C. Robertson. London: Greenhill/Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole, 2003. Pp. 304. Illus., maps, append., gloss., notes, biblio., index. $34.95. ISBN: 1-85367-534-2.

Wellington Invades France covers operations on both sides of the Pyrenees, from Wellington’s triumph at Vitoria on June 21, 1813, to the aftermath of his victory at Toulouse, April 10, 1814, and then on to the end of the war. A very well-written account, the book focuses on operations, to the neglect of organization, tactics, and logistics, and tends to neglect Wellington’s non-British allies, the Portuguese and Spanish, but is nevertheless worthwhile reading for its excellent, detailed treatment of the many hard-fought actions of what is probably the most obscure major campaign of the protracted Napoleonic Wars.



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