Stephen Mansfield is the author of numerous books on history and leadership, including Never Give In: The Extraordinary Character of Winston Churchill and Then Darkness Fled: The Liberating Wisdom of Booker T. Washington.
The Faith of the American Soldierby Stephen Mansfield
New York Times-bestselling author Stephen Mansfield surveys America's wars from a religious and theological perspective in order to
The Faith of the American Soldier opens with the core question that lies at the heart of the book: What happens religiously to America's warriors when they go to battle, and what impact does this have on the nation's conduct of war?
New York Times-bestselling author Stephen Mansfield surveys America's wars from a religious and theological perspective in order to understand the theological framing and spiritual rationale for each, where they came from, and what effect they had on behavior on the battlefield.
Since men and women in battle not only contend with the prospect of their own deaths but also must fashion a moral rationale for killing, the battlefield is often a place of tremendous religious transformation.
Do men and women in battle revert to the faith of their youth, or do they gravitate to the spirituality around them? Do they lose all faith in the face of horror, or do they piece together an informal spirituality that simply gets them through the fight? Are they better warriors, and do they experience less posttraumatic stress if they believe their war is righteous and that they are agents of good?
Mansfield sets a sharp gaze on the modern scene to examine the religious nature of the warrior ethic today: There is a new generation on the battlefield now, one raised with less religious training and less connection to history than any that has come before. A First Amendment society does not officially offer Christian chivalry or a Bushido code as a guide to conduct for its warriors, so they are left to their own religious choices to frame their moral perspectives on war, on killing, and on the possibility of death.
In writing this book, Mansfield traveled to the current battlefields of Iraq; "the Plain" of the famed military academy at West Point, New York; the home of the 101st Airborne at Fort Campbell, Kentucky; and the headquarters of USCENTCOM at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida.
He also explores these questions through the lens of a deep respect for the military-he comes from a long line of U.S. Army officers-and from his background as a Ph.D. in American history.
- Penguin Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.24(w) x 9.24(h) x 0.84(d)
- Age Range:
- 14 Years
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Inspiring Portrait of the relationship between American Soldiers, fighting in Iraq & Afghanistan, and God. It covers historical ground, as well, in detailing how that relationship has changed from previous generations of America's warriors over the years. Often graphic and poignant, Mansfield writes with the authority of someone who has a firm knowledge of history, and a love of all things involving the military. As a former pastor, Mansfield's writing lifts the readers intellect and challenges the reader to understand the spiritual battle that our soldiers must deal with on a daily basis. As Mansfield points out 'war summons faith, and every faith fashions some kind of code when it marches off to war.' Therefore a valiant warrior code is arrived at. 'This warrior code puts the war in spiritual perspective and tells America's soldiers what it means to conduct themselves with honor. This code goes back to the origins of officership,integrity, honor,and character. It is the completion that comes from living by a code, from aligning one's life with a set of principles that elevate and enoble, and make that a life of impact. It is devotion to the path of an exceptional life.' As Mansfield describes 'this warrior code takes a soldier and makes him a knight, and allows the soldier to taste a level of nobility and honor, that his civilian life at home does not offer. The call to valor is an inspiration to soldiers who conduct themselves bravely in war, because they believe themselves in service of a righteous cause, as warriors with a purpose greater than national pride or economic gain.' The warrior code is essential, because it provides the moral framework for the lives of soldiers. Guided by these values, the military may then evolve into a profession of arms that is intended to create 'righteous warriors of sufficient skill, character, and devotion to execute war justly and effectively.' Thanks should go to Mansfield for illustrating what soldiers need 'is an enobling of their profession through the integration of faith and the moral vision that faith provides.' What our soldiers have discovered, is something our citizens need to, which is the higher calling of serving a purpose greater than ourselves.
Twisted logic prevails as Stephen Mansfield argues that the U.S. government should give our soldiers spiritual motivation to kill. Mansfield trusts the morals and godliness of our politicians that much, eh?
In researching and writing this book, Stephen Mansfield has done us all a great service. With an historian's eye (and a pastor's ear) he has given us a glimpse of what battle does to the heart and mind of the average soldier. Particularly poignant and eye-opening are the conversations he had with combat soldiers currently serving in Iraq. It's well-researched and beautifully written. I'll be buying and giving copies to every ex-soldier and patriot I know.