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

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The Past as Prologue

The Importance of History to the Military Profession

By Williamson Murray (Edited by), Richard Hart Sinnreich (Edited by)

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Format: Paperback, 298 pages
Other Information: black & white illustrations
Published In: United Kingdom, 08 May 2006
In today's military of rapid technological and strategic change, obtaining a complete understanding of the present, let alone the past, is a formidable challenge. Yet the very high rate of change today makes study of the past more important than ever before. The Past as Prologue, first published in 2006, explores the usefulness of the study of history for contemporary military strategists. It 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 - come together to present an overwhelming argument for the necessity of the study of the past by today's military leaders 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.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Williamson Murray and Richard Hart Sinnreich; 2. Military history and the history of war Sir Michael Howard; Part I. History and the Military Profession: 3. The relevance of military history to the military profession: a British view John Kiszely; 4. The relevance of military history to the military profession: a US marine's view Paul Van Riper; 5. Awkward partners: military history and American military education Richard Hart Sinnreich; 6. Thoughts on military history and the profession of arms Williamson Murray; Part II. The Influences of History on the Military Profession: 7. Thucydides as educator Paul Rahe; 8. Clausewitz, history, and the future strategic world Colin Gray; 9. History and the nature of strategy John Gooch; 10. Military transformation in long periods of peace Andrew Gordon; 11. Military history and the pathology of lessons learned: the Russo-Japanese War Jonathan Bailey; 12. Obstacles to innovation and readiness: the British Army's experience, 1919-39; 13. What history suggests about terrorism and its future Christopher Harmon; 14. Civil-military relations and the future Frank Hoffman.

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. Millet. 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 U.S, 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: U.S. Pacific Policy in the Cold War. He writes a regular column for the Lawton Constitution and occasional columns for ARMY and The Washington Post.


"Military historians and strategists will come away from this book with a stronger awareness of their responsibilities to assess continuities critically and to offer correctives to those who assert that technological innovation means the Western world has reached the end of traditional military history." -P. Whitney Lackenbauer, St. Jerome's University, Canadian Journal of History "The Past as Prologue...attempts to demonstrate the importance of understanding history. In fact it doesn't simply attempt, it succeeds...The Past as Prologue is a must-read by senior military and a should-read by senior policy makers." -Lt Claude Berube, U.S. Navy Reserve, Proceedings

EAN: 9780521619639
ISBN: 0521619637
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Dimensions: 22.71 x 15.34 x 1.85 centimetres (0.41 kg)
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