487 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of Military History about their New Books
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    • 4.2 • 10 Ratings

Interviews with Scholars of Military History about their New Books
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    Edward G. Longacre, "Unsung Hero of Gettysburg: The Story of Union General David McMurtrie Gregg" (U Nebraska Press, 2021)

    Edward G. Longacre, "Unsung Hero of Gettysburg: The Story of Union General David McMurtrie Gregg" (U Nebraska Press, 2021)

    Today I talked to Edward G. Longacre about his new book Unsung Hero of Gettysburg: The Story of Union General David McMurtrie Gregg (University of Nebraska Press, 2021).
    On the 3rd day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Union cavalry officer David Gregg ensured that Jeb Stuart’s Confederate cavalry troops didn’t succeed. Stuart’s orders were to attack the right flank of the Army of the Potomac and create a pincer movement by attacking from behind while Pickett’s forces made their disastrous frontal attack known as Pickett’s charge. Outnumbered by probably 2 to 1, Gregg’s men and the commandeered cavalry led by George Custer held off the Confederate horsemen, helping to seal the military victory. Gregg and Custer got along well but could hardly have been more different. One was reserved, the other flamboyant. And it would of course be Custer who went down in the history books for being impulsive, while the levelheaded Gregg provided solid leadership whether at Gettysburg or elsewhere during the war. This episode goes into all of that and more, including what type of person tended to be most attracted to the cavalry (independent, hell-for-leather types).
    Ed Longacre is a retired historian for the U.S. Department of Defense and the award-winning author of numerous books on the Civil War in addition to writing top-secret documents for the U.S. Airforce. One of his ancestors took part in the torching of part of William and Mary College during the Civil War as an act of revenge following the Confederate seizure of some of his comrades in arms.
    Dan Hill, PhD, is the author of eight books and leads Sensory Logic, Inc. (https://www.sensorylogic.com). To check out his related blog, visit https://emotionswizard.com.
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    • 33 min
    Philip Zelikow, "The Road Less Traveled: The Secret Battle to End the Great War, 1916-1917" (PublicAffairs, 2021)

    Philip Zelikow, "The Road Less Traveled: The Secret Battle to End the Great War, 1916-1917" (PublicAffairs, 2021)

    During a pivotal few months in the middle of the First World War all sides-Germany, Britain, and America-believed the war could be concluded. Peace at the end of 1916 would have saved millions of lives and changed the course of history utterly.
    Two years into the most terrible conflict the world had ever known, the warring powers faced a crisis. There were no good military options. Money, men, and supplies were running short on all sides. The German chancellor, Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, secretly sought President Woodrow Wilson's mediation to end the war, just as British ministers and France's president also concluded that the time was right. The Road Less Traveled: The Secret Battle to End the Great War, 1916-1917 (PublicAffairs, 2021), by renowned author and former government official, Philip Zelikow, Professor of History at the University of Virginia, describes how tantalizingly close these far-sighted statesmen came to ending the war, saving millions of lives, and avoiding the total war that dimmed hopes for a better world.
    Theirs was a secret battle that is only now becoming fully understood, a story of civic courage, awful responsibility, and how some leaders rose to the occasion while others shrank from it or chased other ambitions. "Peace is on the floor waiting to be picked up!" pleaded the German ambassador to the United States. This book explains both the strategies and fumbles of people facing a great crossroads of history. Professor Zelikow, has written revisionist history at its very best: over-turning old paradigms and interpretations and offering up a new way of seeing the historical canvas.
    The Road Less Traveled reveals one of the last great mysteries of the Great War: that it simply never should have lasted so long or cost so much.
    Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written for Chatham House’s International Affairs, the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History and the University of Rouen's online periodical Cercles.
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    • 36 min
    Sean McMeekin, "Stalin's War: A New History of World War II" (Basic Books, 2021)

    Sean McMeekin, "Stalin's War: A New History of World War II" (Basic Books, 2021)

    World War II endures in the popular imagination as a heroic struggle between good and evil, with villainous Hitler driving its events. But Hitler was not in power when the conflict erupted in Asia—and he was certainly dead before it ended. His armies did not fight in multiple theaters, his empire did not span the Eurasian continent, and he did not inherit any of the spoils of war. That central role belonged to Joseph Stalin. The Second World War was not Hitler’s war; it was Stalin’s war.
    Drawing on ambitious new research in Soviet, European, and US archives, Stalin's War: A New History of World War II (Basic Books, 2021) by award winning historian, Sean McMeekin, Professor of History at Bard College, revolutionizes our understanding of this global conflict by moving its epicenter to the east. Hitler’s genocidal ambition may have helped unleash Armageddon, but as McMeekin shows, the war which emerged in Europe in September 1939 was the one Stalin wanted, not Hitler. So, too, did the Pacific war of 1941–1945 fulfill Stalin’s goal of unleashing a devastating war of attrition between Japan and the “Anglo-Saxon” capitalist powers he viewed as his ultimate adversary.
    McMeekin also reveals the extent to which Soviet Communism was rescued by the US and Britain’s self-defeating strategic moves, beginning with Lend-Lease aid, as American and British supply boards agreed almost blindly to every Soviet demand. Stalin’s war machine, McMeekin shows, was substantially reliant on American materiél from warplanes, tanks, trucks, jeeps, motorcycles, fuel, ammunition, and explosives, to industrial inputs and technology transfer, to the foodstuffs which fed the Red Army.
    This unreciprocated American generosity gave Stalin’s armies the mobile striking power to conquer most of Eurasia, from Berlin to Beijing, for Communism.

    A groundbreaking reassessment of the Second World War, Stalin’s War is revisionist history at its very best: breaking down old paradigms and narratives and bringing to the fore new understandings of the historical process. All from a historian who has the best claim to be the closest, modern-day American equivalent of A. J. P. Taylor.
    Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written for Chatham House’s International Affairs, the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History and the University of Rouen's online periodical Cercles.
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    • 1 hr 16 min
    Bradley Cesario, "New Crusade: The Royal Navy and British Navalism, 1884-1914" (De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2021)

    Bradley Cesario, "New Crusade: The Royal Navy and British Navalism, 1884-1914" (De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2021)

    In the years leading up to the First World War, a loose combination of serving naval officers, journalists, and politicians in Great Britain orchestrated a wave of support for the Royal Navy and an expanded, modernized fleet.
    In New Crusade: The Royal Navy and British Navalism, 1884-1914 (De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2021), Bradley Cesario charts the emergence of this group, one whose efforts in many ways presaged the modern era of defense lobbying. Their efforts, as Cesario describes, were a reaction to the climate of fiscal restraint that suffused British politics in the early 1880s. To combat this, a motivated group of naval officers reached out to key members of the press to express their concerns, which triggered a series of alarming articles about the parlous state of British defense. 
    Over the next two decades this group grew in effectiveness, finding allies in Parliament who pressured successive governments to focus more on naval reforms. This system of directed navalism reached its apogee during Admiral “Jacky” Fisher’s tenure as First Sea Lord in the 1900s, only to founder as a result of his infighting with his colleagues and rivals, which fractured the navalists into warring camps.
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    • 47 min
    Jelena Đureinović, "The Politics of Memory of the Second World War in Contemporary Serbia" (Routledge, 2019)

    Jelena Đureinović, "The Politics of Memory of the Second World War in Contemporary Serbia" (Routledge, 2019)

    Exploring the concepts of collaboration, resistance, and postwar retribution and focusing on the Chetnik movement, Jelena Đureinović's book The Politics of Memory of the Second World War in Contemporary Serbia (Routledge, 2019) analyses the politics of memory.
    Since the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic in 2000, memory politics in Serbia has undergone drastic changes in the way in which the Second World War and its aftermath is understood and interpreted. The glorification and romanticisation of the Yugoslav Army in the Homeland, more commonly referred to as the Chetnik movement, has become the central theme of Serbia's memory politics during this period. The book traces their construction as a national antifascist movement equal to the communist-led Partisans and as victims of communism, showing the parallel justification and denial of their wartime activities of collaboration and mass atrocities. The multifaceted approach of this book combines a diachronic perspective that illuminates the continuities and ruptures of narratives, actors and practices, with in-depth analysis of contemporary Serbia, rooted in ethnographic fieldwork and exploring multiple levels of memory work and their interactions.
    It will appeal to students and academics working on contemporary history of the region, memory studies, sociology, public history, transitional justice, human rights and Southeast and East European Studies.
    Jill Massino is a scholar of modern Eastern Europe with a focus on Romania, gender, and everyday life.
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    • 58 min
    Michael E. Lynch, "Edward M. Almond and the US Army: From the 92nd Infantry Division to the X Corps" (U Kentucky Press, 2019)

    Michael E. Lynch, "Edward M. Almond and the US Army: From the 92nd Infantry Division to the X Corps" (U Kentucky Press, 2019)

    Edward M. Almond belonged to the generation of US Army officers who came of age during World War I and then ascended to senior command positions during World War II. During WWII, Almond led the 92nd Infantry Division, one of only two African American divisions to see combat in the war. Yet, alongside his achievements, including a command during the Korean War, Almond was a fervent racist and a right-wing political zealot. In his book Edward M. Almond and the US Army: From 92nd Division to the X Corps, published by the University of Kentucky Press in 2019, Dr. Michael E. Lynch of the US Army Heritage and Education Center argues that Almond's racism, while very real, overshadows his accomplishments and contends that Almond played a significant role in the Army's history.
    Douglas Bell holds a PhD in history from Texas A&M University and recently completed a yearlong postdoctoral fellowship at the US Army Heritage and Education Center.
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    • 1 hr 51 min

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