The US Army Combat Historian and Combat History Operations

Review by Martin Koenigsberg

Just finished my 1st Book Review of the Year!!

In this book, two veterans of the Army and Department of the Army history programs give us the history of the overall Army History program from its roots in the new Industrial-sized army of WWI to the more smoothly planned and operated history programs of Korea and Vietnam. Both Kathryn Roe Coker and Jason Wetzel have historical chops, hers in both archivism/library Sciences and history, his more traditional historical – and they do a good job explaining how the history programs started as mostly record keeping- and developed into recent historical analysis products that could be used immediately in the field. The story is interesting, the characters are well-outlined, and the reader will be informed and engaged throughout. The text is peppered with b/w photos, and there are copious notes and appendixes for the academic. When the reborn US Army developed in 1917 for WWI, the Army looked on their History Department as little more than seekers and preservers of the documents the coming combat would generate. The analysis would be done later by other hands in this process- and it was not a good resource for the Army.

WWII, and the arrival of historians like SLA Marshall, a veteran newspaperman would change the department for good. New processes for interviewing combatants – and having analyses done in monographs shortly after combat – gave the army a new resource – with which to improve its processes and combat power. In Korea and Vietnam, the US Army was relying on the history department for material to help train soldiers and spread winning tactical doctrines. The development was not automatic and required many key officers to make aspirational choices at key points in history. We get their story in a taut 152 pages, well worth the read. The adult themes are largely political and office politics, so this is a good book for a Junior Reader over about 14/15 with an interest in History. For the Gamer/Modeler/Military Enthusiast a bit of a mixed bag. Not that much for the Gamer/Modeler, unless you want to create objective markers/dioramas of guys with typewriters and piles of papers – this is more for background and understanding US Army department actions. The Military Enthusiast is the beneficiary here – getting a survey of an Army Department many may not have thought about before. I learned a lot and enjoyed the reading along the way. #WhatAreYouReading #BookReviews #20thCenturyHistory #MilitaryHistory #AmericanHistory #EuropeanHistory #WWIHistory #FWWHistory #WWI #FWW #TheGreatWar #WWIIHistory #SWWHistory #WWII #SWW #ColdWarHistory #KoreanWar #VietnamWar #WargameResearch #TheUSArmyCombatHistorianAndCombatHistoryOperations #WorldWarIToTheVietnamWar #KathrynRoeCoker #JasonWetzel #CasematePublishing #SLAMarshall #FlamesOfWar #CoC #WorldWarWargaming #ColdWarWargames


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