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Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

October Man: Mikhail Gorbachev

by Christopher R. O’Deavia Military History in the News
Friday, October 18, 2019

October is the month for bringing in the harvest and consolidating power. According to his biography on the Gorbachev Foundation website, the last leader of the Soviet Union is proud of his ability to detect a fault in a combine harvester just by the sound of it. His acumen with agricultural machinery—learned from his father—helped the younger Gorbachev become the youngest winner of the Order of the Red Banner of Labor award for his part in bringing in the bumper crop of 1949 at the age of just seventeen. The award helped secure him a place at the Moscow State University, where he studied law.

Weapons & Technology

John E. Clark, Jr., Railroads in the Civil War: The Impact of Management on Victory and Defeat (2001)

by Christopher R. O’Deavia Classics of Military History
Monday, October 14, 2019

This short volume illustrates the importance of management practices and political culture in adapting an emerging technology to the demands of war. The author’s position is clear—Clark contends that despite having a considerable number of rail lines within its territory, the basis of the claim that the South had an advantage early in the conflict in the form of “internal lines of communication,” and the legal authority to take control of the railroads for military purposes, the Confederate leadership “proved unable” to recognize the increasing importance of logistics as the conflict wore on.

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

Sputnik I—The Beeps Heard Round The World

by Christopher R. O’Deavia Military History in the News
Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Space Age opened in October 1957 when the Soviet Union’s Sputnik I became the first satellite to orbit the earth. Launched during the International Geophysical Year, Sputnik I orbited earth every 96 minutes for 21 days, traveling more than 40 million miles as it transmitted a steady beep signal that was soon recorded and broadcast to American radio listeners. The satellite itself was visible to viewers in the United States during dawn and twilight, providing directly observable evidence that the United States—for the moment at least—was trailing its chief geopolitical rival in the emerging technology that would define the balance of power in an era of nuclear stand-off.

Period Military History

Rear Admiral Worrall Reed Carter, Beans, Bullets, and Black Oil: The Story of Fleet Logistics Afloat in the Pacific During WWII (1953)

by Christopher R. O’Deavia Classics of Military History
Thursday, October 10, 2019

In the introduction to this detailed history of the operations that kept his combatant forces supplied with everything from ordnance to water, Admiral Raymond A. Spruance writes, “a sound logistic plan is the foundation upon which a war operation should be based.” That might leave the impression that this is a dry treatise in logistics science, but this overlooked gem tells the story of how the U.S. Navy created mobile logistics service squadrons to support Spruance’s “island-hopping” assaults on Japan’s eastern defense perimeter in the Central Pacific.


Shot the War: Overseas Weekly in Vietnam

via Hoover Institution Press
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

We Shot the War: Overseas Weekly in Vietnam examines the legacy of one of the most popular and eccentric newspapers to cover the Vietnam War. With its mix of hard-hitting military exposés, pinups, and comic strips, Overseas Weekly earned a reputation as a muckraking truth teller.

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Clausewitz Goes East

by Charles Hillvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, October 9, 2019

In the Mideast, it’s the power centers that matter—not territory, not capitals, but far-flung and complex alliances.

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Islands in the Stream

by Eric Wakin, Hsiao-ting Linvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, October 9, 2019

A handful of small islands once formed a battleground in the Taiwan-China clash. Today those islands not only are at peace but represent a bridge of sorts between the two old adversaries.

Adolf Hitler, courtesy of the German Federal Archive (Deutsches Bundesarchiv)
In the News

How To Be A Dictator By Frank Dikötter Review — Top Tips For Tyrants

featuring Frank Diköttervia The Times
Friday, October 4, 2019

[Subscription Required] How to be a dictator? Ruthlessness matters a lot more than talent, but luck most of all. That is the upshot of Frank Dikötter’s elegant and readable study of the cult of personality in the 20th century.

In the News

Dictators: The Great Performers

quoting Frank Diköttervia News Statesman America
Wednesday, September 18, 2019
The paradox of the modern dictator is that he must create the illusion of mass support while turning the population into a nation of terrorised prisoners endlessly condemned to faking enthusiasm for their oppressor.
In the News

What We Are Reading Today: To Build A Better World

mentioning Condoleezza Ricevia Arab News
Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Timed for the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, To Build a Better World is an authoritative depiction of contemporary statecraft. 


Military History Working Group

The Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict examines how knowledge of past military operations can influence contemporary public policy decisions concerning current conflicts.