American Elephants

Why Is The Study of Military History So Important? by The Elephant's Child

Victor Davis Hanson is one of my favorite people.  I read his columns and his books, and listen to his lectures whenever I have a chance.  I spent about 45 minutes with him last evening, listening  enthralled to a lecture on military history and why it is important, and how our views have wavered in recent years and why.  It was a captivating lecture, delivered on February 25 at the University of California at Berkeley. If you can possibly spare 45 minutes, you will find it rewarding and enlightening.  If you are not sure that you are interested in military history, you will find that you are.  The title of the lecture is “Laws of Conflict in a Postmodern World and the Lessons of the Classical Tradition.” Enjoy!

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute has a wealth of scholars presenting lectures or debates on a wealth of subjects.  It’s a wonderful resource, add it to your bookmarks.

3 Comments so far
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Great talk! Thank you for the link. He touches on the effectiveness of assymetrical warfare that I have been harping on about for as long as I can remember!! How quickly we forget even our own short military history here in the U.S.


Comment by Mike Lovell

It was really quite wonderful. Now I’m going to have to work my way through all of the ISI lectures. VDH is quite wonderful. That was a 45 minute lecture without a note or a pause.

It’s worse than that, kids are never taught. Many historians became interested in history after reading Kenneth Roberts’ novels on the Revolutionary period, as did I.

A number of years ago, I bought Samuel Hynes The Soldiers’Tale which is an exploration of the writings of soldiers either while they were in combat or written from notes at the time. (That is, he wasn’t after memoirs written years later from faulty memories). In the back he has a selected list of personal narratives on every theater and every kind of war from WWI through Vietnam, POWs and the Holocaust. I’ve been reading my way through that list for years. Available in paperback from Amazon. You have read House to House by David Bellavia, haven’t you?


Comment by The Elephant's Child

“House to House” was a great book to read. (cheap shameless plug here, but the mook is still looking for about $1000 to fix his teeth up so he can go back to the service 😛 ) In fact I still have to get that back to my buddy Jay, whenever I see him next. The personal narratives collection sounds interesting. One book you should look into, just in the interest of studying how military maneuvers came about throughout history is “Turn Around And Run Like Hell” By joseph cummins…very interesting and in some instances quite hilarious.


Comment by Mike Lovell

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