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Interviews with Scholars of Military History about their New Books

Interviews with Scholars of Military History about their New Books
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Interviews with Scholars of Military History about their New Books




Matthew A. Sutton, "Double Crossed: The Missionaries Who Spied for the United States During the Second World War" (Basic Books, 2019)

What makes a good missionary makes a good spy. Or so thought "Wild" Bill Donovan when he secretly recruited a team of religious activists for the Office of Strategic Services. They entered into a world of lies, deception, and murder, confident that their nefarious deeds would eventually help them expand the kingdom of God. In Double Crossed: The Missionaries Who Spied for the United States During the Second World War (Basic Books, 2019), historian Matthew Avery Sutton tells the extraordinary...


Joshua Tallis, "The War for Muddy Waters: Pirates, Terrorists, Traffickers, and Maritime Security" (Naval Institute Press, 2019)

In his new book The War for Muddy Waters: Pirates, Terrorists, Traffickers, and Maritime Security (Naval Institute Press, 2019), Joshua Tallis uses the “broken windows” theory of policing to reexamine the littorals, developing a multidimensional view of the maritime threat environment. With a foundational case study of the Caribbean, Tallis explores the connections between the narcotics trade, trafficking, money laundering, and weak institutions. He finds that networks are leveraged for...


Is Military History Worth Studying?

Military history is thought by some to be a valuable field of study to both professional soldiers and civilians. It is indeed one of the most popular fields in the genre of history. And yet many academics tend to look down upon the field as fundamentally unserious and not therefore meriting attention by academic based historians. Historian Jeremy Black, who has written extensively in the field of military history discusses with Charles Coutinho of the Royal Historical Society the question:...


Gregory P. Downs, "After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War" (Harvard UP, 2015)

On April 8, 1865, after four years of civil war, General Robert E. Lee wrote to General Ulysses S. Grant asking for peace. Peace was beyond his authority to negotiate, Grant replied, but surrender terms he would discuss. As Gregory P. Downs, Professor of History at the University of California, Davis, reveals in this gripping history of post–Civil War America, Grant’s distinction proved prophetic, for peace would elude the South for years after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. After...


Christopher E. Mauriello, "Forced Confrontations: The Politics of Dead Bodies in Germany at the End of World War II" (Lexington Books, 2017)

Christopher Mauriello’s groundbreaking book Forced Confrontations: The Politics of Dead Bodies in Germany at the End of World War II(Lexington Books, 2017) focuses on American soldiers reactions to the victims of the Holocaust. Using photographs, memoirs, and letters from US soldiers, Mauriello attempts to recreate the emotional and traumatic reactions these men had when confronted with the worst of Nazi Germany. And, as a result, they made German civilians confront these horrors as an...


Matthew Hughes, "Britain's Pacification of Palestine" (Cambridge UP, 2019)

In his splendid military history of Britain's pacification of the Arab revolt in Palestine, Britain's Pacification of Palestine: The British Army, the Colonial State, and the Arab Revolt, 1936-1939 (Cambridge University Press, 2019), Professor Matthew Hughes of Brunel University shows how the British Army was so devastatingly effective against colonial rebellion in the mid to late 1930s by the Palestinian Arabs. The Army had a long tradition of pacification to draw upon to support...


Alex J. Kay, "The Making of an SS Killer: the Life of Colonel Alfred Filbert, 1905-1990" (Cambridge UP, 2016)

Alex Kay’s The Making of an SS Killer: the Life of Colonel Alfred Filbert, 1905-1990 (Cambridge University Press, 2016) is a must read for those interested in the Third Reich, the Holocaust, and World War II. Focusing on the actions and consequences of a “front-line Holocaust perpetrator”, Kay’s biographies diverges drastically with the traditional bios of other more well-known Nazis. Kay argues that Filbert chose to become an exceptional Nazi Party member and his career as well as his life...


Amanda L. Tyler, "Habeas Corpus in Wartime: From the Tower of London to Guantanamo Bay" (Oxford UP, 2017)

Amanda L. Tyler is the author of Habeas Corpus in Wartime: From the Tower of London to Guantanamo Bay, published by Oxford University Press in 2017. Habeas Corpus in Wartime is a comprehensive history of the writ of habeas corpus in Anglo-America. From its early beginnings, to the English Habeas Corpus Act of 1679, to its suspension during the American Civil War, to WWII internment camps, to the War on Terror, Tyler provides a compelling look at how important the writ has been during...


Christine M. DeLucia, "Memory Lands: King Philip’s War and the Place of Violence in the Northeast" (Yale UP, 2018)

Christine M. DeLucia is the author of Memory Lands: King Philip’s War and the Place of Violence in the Northeast, published by Yale University Press in 2018. Memory Lands provides a much needed new account of King Philip’s War which centers the Natives of the Northeast, instead of the English colonizers. Weaving together the history of King Philip’s War and the history of Northeast Native people to the modern day, DeLucia illustrates the many, complex, ways in which history and historical...


Kevin M. Levin, "Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth" (UNC Press, 2019)

Kevin M. Levin is the author of Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth, published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2019. Searching for Black Confederates investigates the claims that numerous African Americans willingly fought for the Confederacy. Investigating the Confederate Army at the time of the Civil War, Levin illustrates that such a claim would have surprised those actually present in the army. Moving forward, Levin recounts how this myth...


Adem Yavuz Elveren, "The Economics of Military Spending: A Marxist Perspective" (Routledge, 2019)

I spoke with Dr Adem Yavuz Elveren about his book on the economics of military spending; this is a very original theoretical and empirical contribution Adem Yavuz Elveren is Associate Professor at Fitchburg State University, U.S.A. His research focuses on gender and social security and the effect of military spending on the economy. The Economics of Military Spending offers a comprehensive analysis of the effect of military expenditures on the economy. It is the first book to provide both a...


Alma Jeftić, "Social Aspects of Memory: Stories of Victims and Perpetrators from Bosnia-Herzegovina" (Routledge, 2019)

In her new book, Social Aspects of Memory: Stories of Victims and Perpetrators from Bosnia-Herzegovina (Routledge, 2019). Alma Jeftić presents the compelling results of an empirical psychological study on how ordinary people remember war, drawing on narratives from two generations of people in Sarajevo and neighboring East Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. This book sheds light on how collective memories are cultivated in the aftermath of violence, and how commemorative practices can be employed...


Danny Orbach, "Plots Against Hitler" (Eamon Dolan/HMH, 2016)

In his new book, Plots Against Hitler (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016), Danny Orbach, Senior Lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem offers a profound and complete examination of the plots to assassinate Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. A riveting narrative of the organization, conspiracy, and sacrifices made by those who led the resistance against Hitler. Orbach deftly analyzes the mixed motives, moral ambiguities and organizational vulnerability that marked their work, while...


Kent Gramm, "Gettysburg: The Living and the Dead" (Southern Illinois UP, 2019)

Using a mixture of genres, Kent Gramm captures the voices of those past and present in his book, Gettysburg: The Living and the Dead(Southern Illinois University Press, 2019) Alongside stunning photographs by Chris Heisey, Gramm shares the experiences of the people at Gettysburg—both those historical figures who took part in the battle in some meaningful way and those of us today who return to the battlefield to try and make sense of such a tragic and mournful part of our history. Gramm’s...


Stephen Alan Bourque, "Beyond the Beach: The Allied War Against France" (Naval Institute Press, 2018)

Did the Allied bombing plan for the liberation of France follow a carefully orchestrated plan, or was it executed on an ad-hoc basis with little concern or regard for collateral damage? How did the bombing of French cities and railheads follow – or disregard – existing air power doctrine, and where did the decision making occur, within the Army Air Forces and Bomber Command, or among the ground unit leaders? What was the cost to human life and material artistic and historic centers, and was...


Sabine Frühstück, "Playing War: Children and the Paradoxes of Modern Militarism in Japan" (U California Press, 2017)

In Playing War: Children and the Paradoxes of Modern Militarism in Japan (University of California Press, 2017), Sabine Frühstück shows how children and childhood have been used in twentieth century Japan as technologies to moralize war, and later, in the twenty-first century, to sentimentalize peace. Through examining Japanese children’s war games both in the field and on paper, Fruhstuck explores in the first half of the book how “children’s little wars” are connected and interacted with...


Robert Crowcroft, "The End is Nigh: British Politics, Power, and the Road to the Second World War" (Oxford UP, 2019)

Few decades have given rise to such potent mythologies as the 1930s. Popular impressions of those years prior to the Second World War were shaped by the single outstanding personality of that conflict, Winston Spencer Churchill. Churchill depicted himself as a political prophet, exiled into the wilderness prior to 1939 by those who did not want to hear of the growing threats to peace in Europe. Although it is a familiar story, it is one we need to unlearn as the truth is somewhat murkier....


William F. Trimble, "John S. McCain and the Triumph of Naval Air Power" (Naval Institute Press, 2019)

The carrier task force—the symbolic and physical manifestation of the United States’ ability to project naval and air power across the globe—came of age during the Second World War. Fighting the Imperial Japanese Navy, and closely supporting General MacArthur’s and Admiral Nimitz’s island-hopping campaign, the carrier and its air wing transitioned from being just one more tactical element within the fleet to the formidable strategic weapon we’ve come to know today. Instrumental in bringing...


Rachel B. Herrmann, "No Useless Mouth: Waging War and Fighting Hunger in the American Revolution" (Cornell UP, 2019)

When the British explored the Atlantic coast of America in the 1580s, their relations with indigenous peoples were structured by food. The newcomers, unable to sustain themselves through agriculture, relied on the local Algonquian people for resources. This led to tension, and then violence. When English raiding parties struck Algonquian villages, they destroyed crops and raided food stores. According to English sources, all of this was provoked by the ‘theft’ of a silver drinking cup,...


Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, "This Is Really War: The Incredible True Story of a Navy Nurse POW in the Occupied Philippines" (Chicago Review Press, 2019)

In her new book, This Is Really War: The Incredible True Story of a Navy Nurse POW in the Occupied Philippines (Chicago Review Press, 2019), Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi presents the largely unknown story of the US Navy nurses captured by the Japanese in the Philippines during World War II. Focusing on what she calls the “twelve anchors,” Lucchesi examines the lives of these women as they lived in prison camps throughout the Philippines, while at the same time continuing to work as nurses, and...