When the United States goes to war, the nation’s attention focuses on the president. As commander in chief, a president reaches the zenith of power, while Congress is supposedly shunted to the sidelines once troops have been deployed abroad. Because of Congress’s repeated failure to exercise its legislative powers to rein in presidents, many have proclaimed its irrelevance in military matters.
After the Rubicon challenges this conventional wisdom by illuminating the diverse ways in which legislators influence the conduct of military affairs. Douglas L. Kriner reveals that even in politically sensitive wartime environments, individual members of Congress frequently propose legislation, hold investigative hearings, and engage in national policy debates in the public sphere. These actions influence the president’s strategic decisions as he weighs the political costs of pursuing his preferred military course.
Marshalling a wealth of quantitative and historical evidence, Kriner expertly demonstrates the full extent to which Congress materially shapes the initiation, scope, and duration of major military actions and sheds new light on the timely issue of interbranch relations.
In 2005, photographer Chris Hondros captured a striking image of a young Iraqi girl in the aftermath of the killing of her parents by American soldiers. The shot stunned the world and has since become iconic—comparable to the infamous photo by Nick Ut of a Vietnamese girl running from a napalm attack. Both images serve as microcosms for their respective conflicts. Afterimages looks at the work of war photographers like Hondros and Ut to understand how photojournalism interacts with the American worldview.
Liam Kennedy here maps the evolving relations between the American way of war and photographic coverage of it. Organized in its first section around key US military actions over the last fifty years, the book then moves on to examine how photographers engaged with these conflicts on wider ethical and political grounds, and finally on to the genre of photojournalism itself. Illustrated throughout with examples of the photographs being considered, Afterimages argues that photographs are important means for critical reflection on war, violence, and human rights. It goes on to analyze the high ethical, sociopolitical, and legalistic value we place on the still image’s ability to bear witness and stimulate action.
On the eve of World War II, the national interests of Japan, the United States, and the Soviet Union collided in the North Pacific.
Alaska's Hidden Wars tells the story of the war in the North Pacific, a story of savage weather, isolation, and sacrifice.
Two island chains, the Aleutians and the Kuriles, became the focus of a series of major campaigns that pitted the Americans against the Japanese. Alaska's Hidden Wars chronicles the role of Japanese-American intelligence specialists and reveals a Japanese eyewitness account of the defense of Attu. Two virtually unknown aspects of the North Pacific war are also exposed: the brutal North Pacific weather and the imprisonment of American airmen in Kamchatka.
In 1942, the Japanese raided Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands and occupied the islands of Kiska and Attu. The Americans mounted a vigorous campaign, and the Japanese retreated to the Kuriles. For the next two years, the Americans launched air raids and fleet bombardments, while American soldiers maintained lonely outposts along Aleutian coasts. But in 1945, when Japan finally surrendered, the Kuriles were taken, not by the waiting Americans, but by the Soviets.
Alaska's Hidden Wars is a fast-moving history that brings declassified archival sources to light and draws the reader into the lonely, bitter war fought in the North Pacific.
This first focused analysis of veterans’ experiences in ancient Greece offers a fresh, “bottom-up” perspective on important military and political aspects of early Hellenistic history.
Runner-up, PROSE Award, Classics and Ancient History, 2013
From antiquity until now, most writers who have chronicled the events following the death of Alexander the Great have viewed this history through the careers, ambitions, and perspectives of Alexander’s elite successors. Few historians have probed the experiences and attitudes of the ordinary soldiers who followed Alexander on his campaigns and who were divided among his successors as they fought for control of his empire after his death. Yet the veterans played an important role in helping to shape the character and contours of the Hellenistic world.
This pathfinding book offers the first in-depth investigation of the Macedonian veterans’ experience during a crucial turning point in Greek history (323–316 BCE). Joseph Roisman discusses the military, social, and political circumstances that shaped the history of Alexander’s veterans, giving special attention to issues such as the soldiers’ conduct on and off the battlefield, the army assemblies, the volatile relationship between the troops and their generals, and other related themes, all from the perspective of the rank-and-file. Roisman also reexamines the biases of the ancient sources and how they affected ancient and modern depictions of Alexander’s veterans, as well as Alexander’s conflicts with his army, the veterans’ motives and goals, and their political contributions to Hellenistic history. He pays special attention to the Silver Shields, a group of Macedonian veterans famous for their invincibility and martial prowess, and assesses whether or not they deserved their formidable reputation.
American War Stories
Brenda M. Boyle Rutgers University Press, 2021 Library of Congress HM554.B698 2020 | Dewey Decimal 303.66
American War Stories asks readers to contemplate what traditionally constitutes a “war story” and how that constitution obscures the normalization of militarism in American culture. The book claims the traditionally narrow scope of “war story,” as by a combatant about his wartime experience, compartmentalizes war, casting armed violence as distinct from everyday American life. Broadening “war story” beyond the specific genres of war narratives such as “war films,” “war fiction,” or “war memoirs,” American War Stories exposes how ingrained militarism is in everyday American life, a condition that challenges the very democratic principles the United States is touted as exemplifying.
New oral histories from Black Namibian and Angolan troops who fought in apartheid South Africa’s security forces reveal their involvement, and its impact on their lives, to be far more complicated than most historical scholarship has acknowledged.
In anticolonial struggles across the African continent, tens of thousands of African soldiers served in the militaries of colonial and settler states. In southern Africa, they often made up the bulk of these militaries and, in some contexts, far outnumbered those who fought in the liberation movements’ armed wings. Despite these soldiers' significant impact on the region’s military and political history, this dimension of southern Africa’s anticolonial struggles has been almost entirely ignored in previous scholarship.
Black troops from Namibia and Angola spearheaded apartheid South Africa’s military intervention in their countries’ respective anticolonial war and postindependence civil war. Drawing from oral history interviews and archival sources, Lennart Bolliger challenges the common framing of these wars as struggles of national liberation fought by and for Africans against White colonial and settler-state armies.
Focusing on three case studies of predominantly Black units commanded by White officers, Bolliger investigates how and why these soldiers participated in South Africa’s security forces and considers the legacies of that involvement. In tackling these questions, he rejects the common tendency to categorize the soldiers as “collaborators” and “traitors” and reveals the un-national facets of anticolonial struggles.
Finally, the book’s unique analysis of apartheid military culture shows how South Africa’s military units were far from monolithic and instead developed distinctive institutional practices, mythologies, and concepts of militarized masculinity.
"A classic..., a brilliant interpretation of the origins of mass warfare. In Arms and Men, Walter Millis has helped to explain not only how war has come to dominate our age, but the often troubled, anomalous relationship between the military and the rest of American society. For everyone, from the beginning student to the advanced scholar, there is not a more comprehensive, more stimulating, or more lively introduction to the men, the ideas, the policies, and the forces that have shaped the development of American military power."
--Richard H. Kohn
"In my opinion Arms and Men is a splendid piece of work, clearly organized, well argued and beautifully written. We have long needed an informed and intelligent commentary on the evolution of American military policy; and in Mr. Millis' book we have it. I think that his book will awaken great interest and be widely used. I am sure also that professional students of the subject will find it possible, after reading this book, to see the course of American military affairs with a new perspective. That is one of the great services performed by Mr. Millis. He has covered the whole subject with authority, but - thank heaven - in a short book, in which the arguments are not blunted by unnecessary detail."
--Gordon A. Craig
"This author knows weapons, politics and human nature. His perceptive grasp of these complexes shines in the writing."
--The New York Times
Today's protracted asymmetrical conflicts confuse efforts to measure progress, often inviting politics and wishful thinking to replace objective evaluation.
In Assessing War, military historians, social scientists, and military officers explore how observers have analyzed the trajectory of war in American conflicts from the Seven Years’ War through the war in Afghanistan. Drawing on decades of acquired expertise, the contributors examine wartime assessment in both theory and practice and, through alternative dimensions of assessment such as justice and proportionality, the war of ideas and economics. This group of distinguished authors grapples with both conventional and irregular wars and emerging aspects of conflict—such as cyberwar and nation building—that add to the complexities of the modern threat environment. The volume ends with recommendations for practitioners on best approaches while offering sobering conclusions about the challenges of assessing war without politicization or self-delusion.
Covering conflicts from the eighteenth century to today, Assessing War blends focused advice and a uniquely broad set of case studies to ponder vital questions about warfare's past—and its future. The book includes a foreword by Gen. George W. Casey Jr. (USA, Ret.), former chief of staff of the US Army and former commander, Multi-National Force–Iraq.
The country’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, its interventions around the world, and its global military presence make war, the military, and militarism defining features of contemporary American life. The armed services and the wars they fight shape all aspects of life—from the formation of racial and gendered identities to debates over environmental and immigration policy. Warfare and the military are ubiquitous in popular culture.
At War offers short, accessible essays addressing the central issues in the new military history—ranging from diplomacy and the history of imperialism to the environmental issues that war raises and the ways that war shapes and is shaped by discourses of identity, to questions of who serves in the U.S. military and why and how U.S. wars have been represented in the media and in popular culture.
In Attachments to War Jennifer Terry traces how biomedical logics entangle Americans in a perpetual state of war. Focusing on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars between 2002 and 2014, Terry identifies the presence of a biomedicine-war nexus in which new forms of wounding provoke the continual development of complex treatment, rehabilitation, and prosthetic technologies. At the same time, the U.S. military rationalizes violence and military occupation as necessary conditions for advancing medical knowledge and saving lives. Terry examines the treatment of war-generated polytrauma, postinjury bionic prosthetics design, and the development of defenses against infectious pathogens, showing how the interdependence between war and biomedicine is interwoven with neoliberal ideals of freedom, democracy, and prosperity. She also outlines the ways in which military-sponsored biomedicine relies on racialized logics that devalue the lives of Afghan and Iraqi citizens and U.S. veterans of color. Uncovering the mechanisms that attach all Americans to war and highlighting their embeddedness and institutionalization in everyday life via the government, media, biotechnology, finance, and higher education, Terry helps lay the foundation for a more meaningful opposition to war.
Most Civil War historians now agree that the guerrilla conflict shaped the entire war in significant ways. Some of these “bushwhackers”—Nathan Bedford Forrest, William Clarke Quantrill, John Singleton Mosby—have become quite infamous. Illiterate Sam Hildebrand, one of Missouri’s most notorious guerrillas—often compared to “Rob Roy,” and the subject of dime novels—was one of the few to survive the war and have his story taken down and published. Shortly after this he was killed in a barroom brawl. “I make no apology to mankind for my acts of retaliation; I make no whining appeal to the world for sympathy. I sought revenge and I found it; the key of hell was not suffered to rust in the lock while I was on the war path.” —Sam Hildebrand Hildebrand’s reign of terror gave the Union army fits and kept much of the Trans-Mississippi, especially Missouri, roiling in the 1860s. Over seven years of fighting he and his men killed dozens of soldiers and civilians, whites and blacks; he claimed to have killed nearly one hundred himself. He was accused of many heinous acts. The historical significance of Hildebrand’s story is substantial, but his bloody tale is eminently readable and stands quite well on its own as a cold-blooded portrait of a violent time in American history. Like the nightmarish and depraved world of the Kid in Cormac McCarthy’s novel Blood Meridian, Hildebrand’s world is truly ruthless and his story is brutally descriptive in its coolly detached rendering of one man’s personal war. Published in 1870, Hildebrand’s autobiography has long been out of print and has been a rare and highly prized acquisition among Civil War