In the School of War

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Overview

Fort Leavenworth, where Roger J. Spiller taught the army’s finest for twenty-five years, is indeed a “school of war.” There, among military professionals who had experienced war firsthand, Spiller honed his remarkable skills as an analyst and historian, scholar and teacher—skills that have made him one of the best-known and respected military historians of our day. This volume brings together Spiller’s original and thought-provoking explorations of wars big and small and armies glorified and ignored. For each of ...
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Overview

Fort Leavenworth, where Roger J. Spiller taught the army’s finest for twenty-five years, is indeed a “school of war.” There, among military professionals who had experienced war firsthand, Spiller honed his remarkable skills as an analyst and historian, scholar and teacher—skills that have made him one of the best-known and respected military historians of our day. This volume brings together Spiller’s original and thought-provoking explorations of wars big and small and armies glorified and ignored. For each of these essays—whether on urban warfare or the Vietnam syndrome, battlefield psychology or the making of military history, and underrated vs. overrated generals—Spiller revisits his topic and his thinking, bringing fresh insight and a new context to an incomparable body of work. In the School of War further reveals the complex relationship between past and present in an understanding of the nature of war.
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Editorial Reviews

Military Review

"In the School of War is a superbly crafted, thought-provoking, and entertaining collection of essays that addresses the nature of warfare, illustrates the uses and applications of military history, and chronicles the author’s own intellectual journey as a military historian at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas."—MAJ Kevin D. Stringer, Military Review

— MAJ Kevin D. Stringer

John W. Shy
“Military historians with imaginative, skeptical minds are an invaluable asset, and Roger Spiller has such a mind, as these essays reveal. I am truly grateful that military history contains a few bright practitioners, like Roger Spiller, who provoke us to think anew.”—John W. Shy, professor emeritus of history, University of Michigan
Richard M. Swain
“Roger Spiller has always maintained that his degree reads doctor of philosophy, not history. He has behaved accordingly, thinking and researching beyond disciplinary limits as he taught and mentored generations of mid-grade officers and their seniors, mostly at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. This collection of essays demonstrates most of all the play of intellect of a late twentieth-century humanist who demonstrates daily that living the life of the mind depends more on the mind than the location.”—Richard M. Swain, Colonel, U.S. Army, retired, author of Lucky War: Third Army in Desert Storm
Brian Holden Reid
“Roger Spiller is an unconventional, varied, and remarkably sensitive historian. In these essays his qualities are exhibited to fine effect. He writes in bright colours, with vivid allusions and anecdotes drawn from his extraordinarily diverse stock of knowledge of the world’s military cultures. But more than anything else, all readers will learn something from reading his book, for Spiller is an acute and judicious military critic. In short, to paraphrase the Duke of Marlborough, time spent reading these elegant and humane essays will not be wasted.”—Brian Holden Reid, King’s College London, author of America’s Civil War: The Operational Battlefield, 1861–63
Journal of America's Military Past

"In the School of War offers a fine selection of Roger Spiller''s insightful essays."—Roger D. Cunningham, Journal of America’s Military Past

— Roger D. Cunningham

Military Review - MAJ Kevin D. Stringer
"In the School of War is a superbly crafted, thought-provoking, and entertaining collection of essays that addresses the nature of warfare, illustrates the uses and applications of military history, and chronicles the author's own intellectual journey as a military historian at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas."—MAJ Kevin D. Stringer, Military Review
Journal of America's Military Past - Roger D. Cunningham
"In the School of War offers a fine selection of Roger Spiller's insightful essays."—Roger D. Cunningham, Journal of America’s Military Past
John W. Shy
"Military historians with imaginative, skeptical minds are an invaluable asset, and Roger Spiller has such a mind, as these essays reveal. I am truly grateful that military history contains a few bright practitioners, like Roger Spiller, who provoke us to think anew."

-John W. Shy, professor emeritus of history, University of Michigan

Richard M. Swain
"Roger Spiller has always maintained that his degree reads doctor of philosophy, not history. He has behaved accordingly, thinking and researching beyond disciplinary limits as he taught and mentored generations of mid-grade officers and their seniors, mostly at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. This collection of essays demonstrates most of all the play of intellect of a late twentieth-century humanist who demonstrates daily that living the life of the mind depends more on the mind than the location."

-Richard M. Swain, Colonel, U.S. Army, retired, author of Lucky War: Third Army in Desert Storm

Brian Holden Reid
"Roger Spiller is an unconventional, varied, and remarkably sensitive historian. In these essays his qualities are exhibited to fine effect. He writes in bright colours, with vivid allusions and anecdotes drawn from his extraordinarily diverse stock of knowledge of the world's military cultures. But more than anything else, all readers will learn something from reading his book, for Spiller is an acute and judicious military critic. In short, to paraphrase the Duke of Marlborough, time spent reading these elegant and humane essays will not be wasted."

-Brian Holden Reid, King's College London, author of America's Civil War: The Operational Battlefield, 1861-63

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Roger J. Spiller is the George C. Marshall Distinguished Professor of Military History (retired) at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He is the author or editor of numerous publications, including his latest work, An Instinct for War: Scenes from the Battlefields of History. Most recently, he was an advisor for Ken Burns’s PBS documentary, The War. John W. Shy, professor emeritus of history at the University of Michigan, is the author of A People Numerous and Armed: Reflections on the Military Struggle for American Independence.
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Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Introduction xiii

Part 1 On Combat

Introduction 3

1 Isen's Run: Human Dimensions of Warfare in the Twentieth Century (1988) 13

2 My Guns (1991) 29

3 S. L. A. Marshall and the Ratio of Fire (1991) 44

4 The Price of Valor (1993) 68

5 Cherry Blossoms Falling: Japanese Combat Behavior at War's End (1999) 87

6 The Psychological Battlefield (2005) 118

Part 2 In the School of War

Introduction 143

7 War History and the History Wars: Establishing the Combat Studies Institute (1988) 159

8 Armies in History, History in Armies (2001) 183

9 The Vietnam Syndrome: A Brief History (2002) 199

10 In the Shadow of the Dragon: Doctrine and the U.S. Army after Vietnam (1997) 220

11 Urban Warfare: Its History and Its Future (1003) 258

Part 3 Going Public

Introduction 275

12 Overrated and Underrated: General (1998) 283

13 Overrated and Underrated: World War II General (2002) 285

14 War in the Dark (1999) 287

15 A War against History (2001) 301

Part 4 Experimental History

Introduction 311

16 Military History and Its Fictions (2006) 319

17 The Führer in the Dock: A Speculation on the Banality of Evil (2001) 339

18 The Real War: An Interview with Paul Fussell (1989) 360

19 Rain Stops Play (2005) 378

Acknowledgments 399

Source Acknowledgments 401

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 8, 2010

    A Unique and Essential Collection

    Roger Spiller's record as teacher, scholar, and expert on military history needs no introduction nor validation. But here he has gone several steps beyond a collectin of important subjects, for he has provided insights into how combat soldiers have seen war, and then how they have seen their education about war, and he has managed to both demonstrate differences and reconciliations - through knowledge. He shows us in human terms how soldiers returning home have frequently and accurately believed they have entered a different "universe." Perhaps his most important contribution to today's Soldiers and leaders is the clear and studied explanation of post traumatic stress and how it has been managed in times past. My favorite essay is "Isen's Run."

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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