Honorable Mention, 2016 Lyman Awards, presented by the North American Society for Oceanic History
This book is a thrillingly-written story of naval planes, boats, and submarines during World War I.
When the U.S. entered World War I in April 1917, America’s sailors were immediately forced to engage in the utterly new realm of anti-submarine warfare waged on, below and above the seas by a variety of small ships and the new technology of airpower. The U.S. Navy substantially contributed to the safe trans-Atlantic passage of a two million man Army that decisively turned the tide of battle on the Western Front even as its battleship division helped the Royal Navy dominate the North Sea. Thoroughly professionalized, the Navy of 1917–18 laid the foundations for victory at sea twenty-five years later.
Between 1914 and 1918, German anthropologists conducted their work in the midst of full-scale war. The discipline was relatively new in German academia when World War I broke out, and, as Andrew D. Evans reveals in this illuminating book, its development was profoundly altered by the conflict. As the war shaped the institutional, ideological, and physical environment for anthropological work, the discipline turned its back on its liberal roots and became a nationalist endeavor primarily concerned with scientific studies of race.
Combining intellectual and cultural history with the history of science, Anthropology at War examines both the origins and consequences of this shift. Evans locates its roots in the decision to allow scientists access to prisoner-of-war camps, which prompted them to focus their research on racial studies of the captives. Caught up in wartime nationalism, a new generation of anthropologists began to portray the country’s political enemies as racially different. After the war ended, the importance placed on racial conceptions and categories persisted, paving the way for the politicization of scientific inquiry in the years of the ascendancy of National Socialism.
This poignant memoir recalls the great battle of the Meuse-Argonne, an epic conflict waged by well over a million men that saw casualties of 26,277 killed and 95,786 wounded. Many books have been written about General Pershing’s planning of the offensive; this one tells what happened to the soldiers who had to carry out his orders.
The Thirty-second was a shock division made up largely of National Guard units—farm boys from the Upper Midwest. But as casualties mounted, replacements were rushed into battle with little training—and devastating results. Baker knew friends and tent mates who were alive one day, dead the next, and he kept track of the battle in diary entries tucked into his Bible—and made evasively short in case of capture.
He shares his and his comrades’ thoughts about fighting in a harsh climate and terrain, relates their ongoing problems with short supplies, and tells how they managed to overcome their fears. It is a straightforward narrative that doesn’t glorify battle or appeal to patriotism yet conveys the horrors of warfare with striking accuracy. Historian Robert Ferrell’s new introduction puts Baker’s recollections in the context of the larger theater of war.
Baker fleshed out his diary in a book that saw limited publication in 1927 but has remained essentially unknown. Argonne Days in World War I is a masterpiece brimming with insight about the ordinary doughboys who fought in the European trenches. It conveys the spirit of a man who did his duty in a time of trouble—and is a testament to the spirit shared by thousands like him.
While many associate the concept commonly referred to as the “military-industrial complex” with President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1961 farewell address, the roots of it existed two hundred years earlier. This concept, as Benjamin Franklin Cooling writes, was “part of historical lore” as a burgeoning American nation discovered the inextricable relationship between arms and the State. In Arming America through the Centuries, Cooling examines the origins and development of the military-industrial complex (MIC) over the course of American history. He argues that the evolution of America’s military-industrial-business-political experience is the basis for a contemporary American Sparta. Cooling explores the influence of industry on security, the increasing prevalence of outsourcing, ever-present economic and political influence, and the evolving nature of modern warfare. He connects the budding military-industrial relations of the colonial era and Industrial Revolution to their formal interdependence during the Cold War down to the present-day resurrection of Great Power competition. Across eight chronological chapters, Cooling weaves together threads of industry, finance, privatization, appropriations, and technology to create a rich historical tapestry of US national defense in one comprehensive volume.
Integrating information from both recent works as well as canonical, older sources, Cooling’s ambitious single-volume synthesis is a uniquely accessible and illuminating survey not only for scholars and policymakers but for students and general readers as well.
In the early 20th century, the diesel-electric submarine made possible a new type of unrestricted naval warfare. Such brutal practices as targeting passenger, cargo, and hospital ships not only violated previous international agreements; they were targeted explicitly at civilians. A deviant form of warfare quickly became the norm.
In Atrocity, Deviance, and Submarine Warfare, Nachman Ben-Yehuda recounts the evolution of submarine warfare, explains the nature of its deviance, documents its atrocities, and places these developments in the context of changing national identities and definitions of the ethical, at both social and individual levels. Introducing the concept of cultural cores, he traces the changes in cultural myths, collective memory, and the understanding of unconventionality and deviance prior to the outbreak of World War I. Significant changes in cultural cores, Ben-Yehuda concludes, permitted the rise of wartime atrocities at sea.
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