Soldiers and Scholars
The U.S. Army and the Uses of Military History, 1865-1920
The use and abuse of military history is the theme of this book. Historian Carol Reardon scrutinizes the Army's relationship to its own history and traces the Army's attempts, from the end of the Civil War through the Progressive Era, to lay claim to the discipline of military history.
"Owning" military history was important to the Army, Reardon maintains. Not only was military history a cornerstone in the Army's emerging education system, but it carried with it a professional image and social respectability as well.
“An original and important study that breaks new ground in the fields of military history and historiography.”
—George C. Herring, author of America’s Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950–1975
"A sophisticated work that addresses problems in military education that are far from being resolved today. It is at once an intellectual history of the U.S. Army at a most interesting time in its evolution and an illuminating commentary on the ways that an army can utilize history. Civil War buffs will be especially pleased by Reardon’s analysis of the Army’s study of the Civil War during this period."—
As a result, the Army tenaciously defended the discipline from the incursions of civilian academics, arguing that military professionals should set the standards for the study of military history. The American Historical Association, on the other hand, countered that military history should not be left to amateurs.
In this well-researched study Reardon argues that the lengthy, unresolved debate over proprietorship of military history was largely responsible for its demise as a discipline during the half century following World War I.