"Rally Once Again":
The Embattled Future of Academic Military History

John A. Lynn
Department of History
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

In times past, it was common to punish the bearer of bad news and reward the courier who brought good tidings, as if the messenger was responsible for what he or she reported. Since these pages bring both bad news and good, everything should balance out here, and neither punishment nor reward are expected. The message is, in short, that the future of academic military history is bound to be embattled, but it can survive through a creative adaptation to the best of recent historical currents.

Notice the stress here is on academic military history, for there is more than one genre in our field, and these remarks apply only to the academic variety. Academic military history has special parameters and problems. Its primary goal is not practical in any immediate sense; rather it is to achieve, or at least to strive for, an understanding of the past as a value unto itself – a goal shared with the entire historical profession. And, critically, all but a few who write academic military history work within colleges and universities, where, at this time we face an increasingly hostile environment. This article addresses that hostile environment and ultimately our continued existence within the academy, so the subject here is both ideas and jobs.

But, you might ask, has not academic military history enjoyed a period of unprecedented growth? Mac Coffman traced the development of military history through most of the twentieth century – its rise, so to speak. Mac's consideration essentially breaks off when things seemed to be going well, so well that Paul Kennedy made what seem now to be foolishly optimistic predictions in a 1991 article. 1 There Kennedy foresaw such demand for military historians within academic departments, that we would be unable to produce enough qualified graduate students to match it. Fate seemed to be smiling on us not too long ago: the Regis professorship at Oxford went to a military historian, Michael Howard; Yale, the top-rated history department in the U.S., created a chair in the field; the established program at Duke/UNC expanded and new ones emerged at the University of Illinois and at Alabama; and the field witnessed the birth of three new journals to join the revitalized Journal of Military HistoryWar and Society , War and History , and MHQ . So Kennedy was not without evidence, even if he was wrong. These pages try to explain why Kennedy's bright promises have dulled today. For even though we were climbing ever higher during the 1980s and the early 1990s, we are coming down the other side of the hill now. Academic positions in military history, once on the increase, are now being lost. Above all, basic tendencies that have emerged in the historical profession over the last decade are going against us in a very serious and basic way.

The following comments on the present decline and future prospects of my chosen field are admittedly personal and unabashedly sectarian. They grow out of my own observations, my own experience, and, yes, my own research. In my desire to present a strongly colored partisan sketch of the current situation, fairness will suffer, no doubt. But then, all is fair in love and war, and this looks like war. So as the threat mounts and the battle lines form, let me offer this harangue to rally the troops.

Swimming against the Professional Tide

Military history has never been a popular specialty among academics; on the contrary, it has always been something of a pariah in U.S. universities. We used to be condemned because we were believed to be politically right-wing, morally corrupt, or just plain dumb. One of my friends at Illinois snipes that “Military history is to history as military music is to music” and inquires if military historians write their first drafts in crayon. But from bad we have gone to worse, much worse, and the flow of historical fashion is very much against us and promises to remain so for the foreseeable future.

The study of history within the university is fundamentally, though I hope not fatally, flawed at this time. To be sure, all intellectual pursuits follow fashions that change over time. Therefore, to say that history is caught up in a certain trend is in itself not saying a great deal. The difference is not so much of kind as it is of degree; current fashions in the study of history are more self-righteous and intolerant than they have been for generations, and also more bizarre. For one thing, historical discussion is now intensely theoretical. Whereas historians in the past were prone to borrowing theoretical underpinnings from political science and sociology, today they are more likely to import much from anthropology and literary studies. Concepts generated by literary and linguistic scholars seem particularly embarrassing in the study of history because they undermine the value of evidence and conclude that documents cannot actually tell us about reality but only about the author of the document. This “linguistic turn” may be fine when approaching a novel or a poem, but it is usually malarkey when applied to the war archives. It also seems that novelty takes precedent over importance nowadays. This quest for novelty encompasses both a desire for the new with that other meanings of the word novelty , “A small article, such as a trinket.” When the criteria of value is newness in a field studied by a great many people for a long period of time, historians seemed forced to exalt the trivial or tangential, since all the important stuff has already attracted somebody's attention. Often the claim is made that the seemingly marginal leads to valuable conclusions about the clearly central. To be sure, things are interrelated, but it is easier to step down to the lesser from the greater than it is to climb up from the minor to the major. At each layer of trying to generalize from the minor example one has to pile theory and speculation upon one another until it is a bit like someone trying to reach the ceiling by erecting a stack of books. You may get that high, but you will be awfully shaky when you do.

To my prejudiced mind, this exaltation of theoretical complexity, novelty, and the all-too-frequently trivial are signs of disillusionment and decadence within the historical profession: disillusionment with the possibility that historical knowledge might actually influence the real world and decadence in a desire to be at least intellectually entertained by a study which is now deemed essentially useless by many of its own practitioners. In lieu of the possibility of importance, the promise of amusement will have to do. Those forms of historical studies which are still held by the outside world to be of concrete value – political, diplomatic, and military history, for example – are precisely those rejected by the “cutting edge.”

In this environment, I have seen amazingly questionable stuff pawned off as substantial. In a job search for someone in the “new cultural history” my colleagues brought in a finalist who promised to analyze the political opinions of Huguenot refugees in New York by the turnings on chairs they crafted. To me, it was a classic case of piling up speculation upon speculation to get from the subtle differences in chair spindles to an entire weltanschauung . One of my colleagues walked out of the room with a look on his face that can only have mirrored St. Bernadette's expression at Lourdes after her first vision. Turning to me he gasped, “He put the whole world in a chair!” I felt duty bound to remind this bedazzled friend that chairs were really designed to accommodate asses, not worlds.

The American Historical Review

You can gauge what is deemed worthy by the self-proclaimed “cutting-edge” of the profession by surveying articles published in the American Historical Review , the AHR , that flagship journal of the historical profession in the U.S. Flagship it may be, but many of us think of it as a ship of fools. To say it mildly, military history has not fared well in the one hundred issues that have appeared during the past twenty years. Although the AHR published a handful of articles discussing social and institutional aspects of militaries in issues that came out between 1978 and 1983, over the last two decades the AHR has failed to publish a single research article focused on the conduct of the Hundred Years' War, the Thirty Years' War, the Wars of Louis XIV, the War of American Independence, the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, World War I, and World War II. (To be fair, nineteen years ago there was a single diplomatic article concerning the agreement between Stalin and Churchill to slice up Eastern Europe.) There was an article on atrocities in the English Civil War and another on brutal Confederate reprisals at Chambersburg in the U.S. Civil War, but nothing more on those two great conflicts. (The victimology of war seems permissible.) And while the AHR has not considered any research article on the Korean War or the Vietnam conflict to be fit for its pages, it has printed three group book reviews on these struggles. (Of course there was one forum section of three articles devoted to the film JFK .)

The fact is that the AHR , and its parent, the American Historical Association, have an agenda – no surprise there. The agenda includes the new holy trinity plus one: race, class, and gender in the workplace. Over the last five years, from 1992 through 1996, all but five of the twenty-five issues contained articles which announced in their titles that they dealt with race, class, gender, and/or labor. Of these, gender and women's history have received the most attention, as fifteen of the most recent issues of the AHR have each contained at least one article with “gender” or “women” in the title. If we add to the trinity plus one, a few other buzz words or “hot” topics – “public sphere,” popular culture, and subaltern studies – then only a single issue of the AHR failed to push “cutting edge” topics. This was the October issue of 1992 that was dedicated to reports on the historiography of Eastern Europe, where it seems there is enough iron left over from the curtain to blunt the “cutting edge”. The new wisdom decrees that the death of at least 60 million people, the Holocaust, and the reshaping of the world by warfare from 1937 to 1945 fall short of deserving a single article in nearly two decades because apparently more important matters had to be discussed.

A survey of the journal demonstrates that our fears do not simply express some paranoid delusion. The fact is that they are out to get us, and military history has been compelled to receive the “cutting edge” like a bayonet in the guts.

The New Intolerance: or Send in the Clones

The tendencies of the AHR not only reflect the opinions of a great many of our colleagues but shape them as well. A lack of balance within its pages fosters a lack of tolerance for interests and approaches that run counter to current trends. There seems to be a desire to restrict history departments to a narrow spectrum. While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the study of race, ethnicity, gender, or labor – all offer important insights – I mourn the loss of diversity. It is infuriating to witness the current lack of concern with preserving variety, breadth, and balance. In my own department, our only two historians of international relations opted to retire recently. In the debate on what to do about their vacant positions, a majority were determined not to hire in diplomatic or international history per se , and were willing to let diplomatic history disappear. And even some who recognized the potential value of the field finally opposed hiring in it because they believed that it was no longer intellectually exciting by AHR standards. Meanwhile, some individuals proposed that we hire still one more historian of women and gender, when we already have five to seven historians in the department (it depends on how you count) who boast research, publications, or teaching in women's and gender history. The new wave acts with the self-righteous tenacity of a persecuted minority when they are neither persecuted nor a minority any longer.

Our colleagues seem bent on cloning themselves or scurrying after currently fashionable new subjects and methodologies. Job candidates now must demonstrate that they too have learned the latest steps or they will not be invited to the dance. So our colleagues search earnestly to hire more historians who have mastered the mental Macarena of the moment. Or perhaps that Caribbean dance craze of the recent past makes the point better. Hey everybody, its LIMBO time in history departments; you must bend to the trend, and the only question becomes “How l-o-w can you go?”

The rejoinder might be that more traditional historians once had their day, and that it is time to make way for the new. But the new has never been so lopsided. In my own department, the more traditional members of history departments were pretty open-minded and voted to bring in the harbingers of the new order. But now this new order is surprisingly intolerant of other perspectives, and they are digging in. Their comparative youth promises to give them a majority for a long time to come.

Probably this bothers our “cutting edge” colleagues not a whit, and they feel entirely justified in their desire to replace military history with better stuff. As stated above, military history has always been regarded as politically and morally questionable, but now military history also suffers because it represents the opposite of the dominant, and increasingly intolerant, trends in historical studies. For one thing, military history is remarkably untheoretical at a time when theory is the sine qua non of the new wave. “Deconstruction” means one thing to our “cutting edge” colleagues; to us it just means something like carpet bombing. For another thing, we study big events when evenemental history is out. Moreover, military history is a remarkably male field, both in that we study institutions that have been overwhelmingly male and in that women are underrepresented among military historians as a group. The uncharitable might claim that as opposed to women's history, military history is men's history par excellence . And, of course, military history is not tied to any high-minded political or social cause, such as the plight of minorities or the drive for equality for women. We might try to defend ourselves as somehow concerned with ending wars, but that is a stretch. Military history is not the continuation of peace studies by other means. Too bad, but we seem to embody everything that they disdain. They have met the enemy, and it is us.

And so they are cutting us down. When we-the-tenured retire, disappear, or are assassinated by our own disillusioned graduate students, it is unlikely that our positions will be filled by other military specialists. The record is pretty bad there. When Mac Coffman retired from Wisconsin, he was not replaced; the same is unfortunately true for John Shy and Gerald Linderman at Michigan; there are no plans to hire a military historian to fill Gunther Rothenberg's shoes at Purdue; and I have no doubt that if I drop dead tomorrow, my colleagues at the University of Illinois will happily bury military history with me and hire someone in a more “exciting” field – maybe that guy who does chairs.

Surviving in a Hostile Environment: Rally Once Again

We are under attack, and to survive we must rally once again and find strategies for survival. Survival will lead to victory, because current trends will not continue for ever; some are simply too cockamamie to endure, while some will naturally moderate over time. But what should we do until then?

One reaction to the hostile environment facing us might be to adopt a siege mentality and hunker down behind the nearest fortified position. Military institutions will always have a certain number of billets for us, although, as Roy Flint so passionately warned us at the Montgomery meeting of the SMH, the number of these positions is declining as well. But military history would suffer considerably if it were to find its primary refuge and support within the walls of war colleges and military historical services. The problem is that this would warp one form of military history into another. Academic military history would have to become more narrowly practical, and this would only make its position more tenuous in academe. Military history may survive in other venues, but it only reproduces itself and grows within universities. The real battle ground is there, so let us stay in the open and rally by our colors, for me the orange and blue of Illinois.

And do not despair; after all this bad news there is also good news to proclaim, for there are ways to prosper in this fight. But to do so we would be wise to adapt. One hopeful course of action would be to explore subject matter and methodologies that resonate well with the interests of our hostile colleagues. For reasons that I will explain soon, I do not see this as surrender, and it would clearly benefit our graduate students. They must appear as worthy candidates for positions not specifically tagged for military history, and to do so they must incorporate approaches that excite the profession today.

Certainly I am not the first to argue that military history should adapt to contemporary trends in historical studies; such an argument has been, in fact, de rigueur in this kind of article for decades. However, we now face a new paradox not present before. On the one hand, current historical fashion is unprecedentedly hostile to military history, but on the other hand, incorporating elements of that fashion can make for much better and more intellectually active forms of military history, forms that will help military history regain its proper focus. This was not true the last time around, when advocates of a “new military history” urged us to integrate social history, sociology, and political science into our field, for these approaches had a tendency to divert us from an essential of military history at the same time that they promised to enlighten us.

To me, the essence of military history is combat; it is what makes our subject unique. The life and death nature of war defines attitudes and practices within militaries, even in peacetime and even in elements of the military which are not directly in harm's way. Emphasis on social history tended to move us away from that focus. Consider an example from the French scholarship that I know best. André Corvisier, in his L ' armée française , translated the study of the military into social statistics welcomed by the “cutting edge” of his day. Corvisier was a key mover in the effort to transform military history into “war and society” – a terminology which has always struck me as apologetic. But attempts to deal with the army within the parameters of “war and society” themes most often stressed the military as a social institution and neglected or even denied its combative essence. At a certain point, Corvisier and other French historians became fascinated by wounded veterans and prisoners of war, topics that are marvelously off the point most of the time, since pensioners and prisoners have ceased to be involved in combat. But since they individuals were suffering by then, it was somehow more admirable to study them. Social examinations of the “new military history” worked best in freeze frame, not in the midst of live action battle, and, in fact, it was once said that the “new military history” liked armies in peacetime best and found war a confusing complication. To be sure some scholars practiced the “new miltiary history” without losing sight of combat – John Keegan and Peter Paret come to mind – but there was an undeniable move away from fighting and towards institutional studies.

In contrast to this old “new military history,” some of today's “cutting edge” materials open up extremely interesting new possibilities. Consider what might be done by applying two current hot categories: gender history and the new cultural history.

The Promise of Gender History

By now, the reader has probably pegged me as a conservative, knuckle-dragging foe of gender studies, but I plead innocent to the charge. In fact, I consider myself an advocate of gender history, though I am still fairly naïve about feminist scholarship. Like it or not, one would have to be blind now-a-days to deny the influence of gender on important and fundamental aspects of human history.

Over recent years, women's history has redefined itself in a way that still bothers many of its practitioners – a change from women's to gender history, the second being the much wider phenomenon of the social construction of gender definitions, roles, and limitations and the way in which power is, as they say, “gendered.” Military studies seem to be recapitulating this evolution. We are already in the process of discovering the roles played by women in militaries over the ages. It may well be that the exclusion of women from combat units was a uniquely nineteenth- and early twentieth-century phenomenon. So even when the crowds of women were chased away from armies in the seventeenth century, a major military watershed in itself, a certain number of women continued to march with the troops. My own research suggests that in the ancien régime French army about fifteen to twenty respectable women per battalion were thought necessary to accompany the unit in the field in order to clean and mend the soldiers' clothing and to serve as amateur nurses. 2 Women also fought in the ranks, although they were present in much smaller numbers and usually disguised as men. But in other situations women took open, active roles as fighters and leaders, a Joan of Arc, a Mme. de Saint-Baslemont, a Rani of Jhansi, and their less well-known sisters. We are on this track, and for the most recent examples of such studies, see the February 1997 issue of the International History Review devoted to “Twentieth-Century Women in Wartime.”

This is interesting stuff. However, I believe it to be a much richer course to move from women's to gender studies, for in military history this opens up the very intriguing and promising matter of comparative masculinities. Military history is a very “gendered” field indeed, not only because militaries are male-dominated and have been since time immemorial, but because concepts of masculinity are so wrapped up in military behavior. When S.L.A. Marshall described combat motivation in World War II as fueled by the G.I.'s desire to be accepted as “a man among men,” he was identifying it as something uniquely masculine. It should be fairly easy to see that notions of power, aggression, bravery, and responsibility have historically been wrapped up in concepts of masculinity. There is much to be said about this topic, and it will come out most clearly in discussing combat. Different cultures have different concepts of masculinity and these influence the effectiveness of military organizations. The subject strikes me as extremely attractive to people outside our field, and in this sense, gender could be really sexy.

But the influence of masculinity can go beyond combat effectiveness and relationships within the military – it can, at times, even explain the very existence of armies. I would argue, for example, that you cannot account for the size and organization of the French army during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries without taking into account aristocratic masculinity.

In a way that would astound the modern military officer, commanders of companies and regiments in the French army of the grand siècle not only purchased their commissions, but were expected to pay part of the costs of creating and maintaining their units. Without going into too much detail, military service was a financial liability to all but the highest ranking officers. 3 The costs of company and regimental command were so great that less well-to-do nobles stalled in the lower grades. In a letter of 1675, Vauban complained of this problem to Louvois: “I have a poor devil of a cousin, a lieutenant in the cavalry Régiment de Nonan, a good and old officer who would have been a captain a long time ago if he had the secret of turning bad companies into good ones without ruining himself.” 4 While poorer nobles stagnated, the wealthy jumped at the chance to attain unit command. New regiments, for example, were often created at the expense of their colonels, who actually competed to make this sacrifice. Louis XIV so depended on tapping into the pockets of as many rich colonels as possible that he created an army of numerous small regiments instead of fewer and bigger ones, as his advisors would have preferred. Louis was able to field an army larger than the royal treasury could afford by exploiting the personal wealth and credit of his officer corps.

Why did French officers pursue unit command when it carried with it substantial expense? The answer leaps from the evidence: military service at the highest possible command rank was required by the dictates of aristocratic masculinity. Of course, an aristocrat would not have explained his decision as an effort to establish his masculinity, he would have put it in terms of the quest for that most esteemed of all seventeenth-century attributes, gloire . Madame de Sévigné, an acute observer, regarded the desire for glory as a critical and worthwhile element in aristocratic education: “Since one constantly tells men that they are only worthy of esteem to the extent that they love glory, they devote all their thoughts to it; and this shapes all French bravery.” 5 She clearly identified glory as a gendered concept, for she contrasted it with the less demanding expectations placed upon noble women.

To win glory, an aristocrat had to adhere to a code of honor, and the pivotal quality in this aristocratic code was courage. But it was not enough to be brave; one must be seen as being brave by one's peers. Thus, glory could only be won by demonstrating courage, and the danger of battle provided the best opportunity to do so.

A sense of honor could be infused into an individual, but its origins and its power came from outside. It was a class standard, with ostracism the penalty for those who failed to live up to it. Within the definitions imposed by honor, to be an officer was to earn respect from the members of the aristocracy and to gain at least a modicum of glory.

The quest to attain glory by publicly fulfilling the demands of honor explains the undeniable taste for war on the part of the French aristocracy. And failing war, men turned to dueling to demonstrate their masculine virtues. A strange either/or logic linked the duel and war, as when the 1645 Catéchisme royal put the following question in the young king's mouth: “If one forbids duels, how is it that the Nobility can give evidence of their courage?” This inquiry elicited the response, “In your armies, Sire.” 6

Add to this the fact that higher rank brought greater prominence, more power over others, and the possibility of increasing the number of clients dependent on the commander – all of which enhanced aristocratic masculinity – and the desire to achieve expensive unit commands becomes quite understandable. And without this desire the French army would have been a smaller and weaker force – hardly the French army at all. Here class must be figured in as well as gender, but the advocates of the new holy trinity will like it all the more for that!

The New Cultural History

Beyond gender history, I am also convinced that the new cultural history can be turned into an ally. 7 There are many definitions of the new cultural history, but I like to refer to it as the intellectual history of people who do not think much. (Some would argue that this, therefore, would particularly fit in with the study of the military.) The emphasis is on popular culture and the belief systems and practices of everyday people. Some say that the new cultural history is essentially about identity. It can get weird or seemingly trivial: the chairs, for example. However, it is interesting to see how reality is culturally defined, or “culturally constructed” as they say, and how perception shapes reality. Military reality is also culturally dependent as well.

As an example of an important cultural theory about combat, consider Victor Hanson's argument that the ancient Greeks originated a fundamentally different “Western Way of War” in their preference for bloody, toe to toe, infantry fights that were costly but brief and decisive. 8 In contrast, other forms of warfare such as that of horse archers, allowed foes to stand off from one another and provided seemingly less risk for the individual, who only closed in for the kill after his enemy was unmistakably weakened. John Keegan essentially based his History of Warfare on this notion. Now, whether you agree with Hanson or not he is arguing that battle styles are not simply the pragmatic products of technology but cultural choices; Keegan claims that war is more culture than politics. Personally I have some trouble with Hanson and a whole lot more with Keegan, but I like their assumptions very much.

In my own work, I have become fascinated by one particular contrast, when battle style changed dramatically in the same place and with essentially the same technology. The art of infantry tactics under Louis XIV emphasized order and control. Louis XIV believed, “Good order makes us look assured, and it seems enough to look brave, because most often our enemies do not wait for us to come near enough for us to have to show if we are in fact brave.” 9 Catinat, a marshal serving the Sun King, insisted that “One prepares the soldier to not shoot and to realize that it is necessary to suffer the enemy's fire, expecting that the enemy who discharges his weapons is assuredly beaten when one receives his entire fire.” 10 Louis and his age held the counter-instinctual conviction that victory belonged not to the force that inflicted the most casualties on its foe but, instead, to the force that maintained its order while absorbing the worst the enemy could dish out. Hit me with your best shot. Thus developed a culture of battle based less upon fury than upon forbearance.

This fixation on forbearance was more cultural than pragmatic, but as in other cases, culture was in a dialogue with technological and social reality. Drill, that much-heralded innovation of the seventeenth century, had a great deal to do with teaching and enforcing the self-control necessary in the battle culture of forbearance. Some of this had to do with weapons handling, but much had to do with attitude formation. It was not enough to master the tools of war; the soldier himself must be mastered. This obsession with mechanical drill also resulted from the social and cultural gulf between officers and their enlisted men.

This battle culture of forbearance contrasts sharply with that of the French Revolution, a century later. Weaponry remained surprisingly static, but the essence of combat changed dramatically. The French style on the battlefield was more aggressive now, less concerned with order and more based on initiative and enthusiasm. Louis's troops attacked in silence, Revolutionary troops charged yelling and singing. Yes, the new practices reflected a revolutionary change in society, and that was absolutely key, but they also constituted a revolutionary change in the definition of combat and in expectations from battle. Just as current scholarship stresses conceptual and political changes during the Revolution more than the influence of social realities, it may be very promising to examine the switch to revolutionary warfare as conceptual. And to the extent that it is, it is almost certainly one expression of other fundamental cultural changes within and without a military environment. Just comparing these two examples convinces me that battle is to a very real degree a “cultural construction.”

You will note that these examples go directly to the combat-heart of military history. The possibilities here are very, very rich, and practically limitless. Some may feel that gender and cultural themes may be just one more way of stating things we already have examined, but I think there is more to it. The quality of discussion and the level of theory is valuable and intriguing even if hard to swallow at times, but there is no need to take it whole to use it in part. In practicing a new incarnation of a “new military history” with gender and cultural emphasis we could become better military historians. And our students could pursue the kinds of dissertation topics that would make them far more attractive for positions outside the field of military history. In this way we have only to gain by honing a “cutting edge” on our own swords.

March or Die

Well I promised you some hope, so take heart. Can we hear the pipes in the distance signaling that relief is on its way, as in Gunga Din ? Not yet, and maybe not for a long time. Truth to tell, this current state of affairs may last for a decade or more. And that is all the more reason to find ways of coping and adapting and profiting from it as we can. It may be hot and dry and deadly out there, but we cannot just stay where we are, for then we will run out of food and water. To turn to another force that mastered the desert, remember the motto of the Foreign Legion, “March or Die!” So, “courage, mes enfants!” Keep moving forward. The routes we might follow are by no means unexplored; in fact they have been blazed by the likes of John Keegan, Yvon Garlan, Charles Royster, and a number of others, including Craig Cameron, a winner of our Distinguished Book Prize this year for his American Samurai . They have demonstrated just how much reward awaits at the end of our trail through the arid and hostile waste.


1 Paul Kennedy, “The Fall and Rise of Miltiary History,” MHQ 3, no. 2 (Winter 1991).

2 On women in the army of Louis XIV, see John A. Lynn, Giant of the Grand Siècle: The French Army, 1610-1715 (Cambridge: 1997), 337-46

3 On the costs borne by captains and colonels in the ancien régime French army see officers see Louis Tuetey, Les officiers de l ' ancien régime. Nobles et roturiers (Paris: 1908) and Lynn, Giant of the Grand Siècle, chap. 7, “The Costs of Regimental Command,” 221-47.

4 Letter of 19 September 1675 in Albert Rochas d'Aiglun, Vauban, sa famille et ses écrits , 2 vols. (Paris: 1910), 2:130.

5 Letter of 23 October 1683 in Marie Sévigné, Lettres de madame de Sévigné , ed. Gault-de-Saint-Germain, 12 vols. (Paris: 1823),7:394.

6 Catéchisme royal by Pierre Fortin de la Hoguette in Micheline Cuénin, Le duel sous l'ancien régime (Paris: 1982), 140.

7 In fact, the only guise in which the AHR seems to tolerate anything with military overtones is as new cultural history; the October 1991 issue contains an article by Arthur Waldon, “The Warlord: Twentieth-Century Chinese Understandings of Violence, Militarism, and Imperialism,” while the June 1993 includes a piece by Peter Fritzsche, “Machine Dreams: Airmindedness and the Reinvention of Germany.” Neither of these is, strictly speaking a military article, but both are of interest to miltiary historians.

8 Victory Davis Hanson, The Western Way of War: Infantry Battle in Classical Greece (New York: 1989).

9 Louis XIV, Mémoires de Louis XIV pour l'instruction du dauphin , ed. Charles Dreyss, 2 vols. (Paris: 1860), 2:112–13.

10 Catinat in Jean Colin, L ' infanterie au XVIIIe siècle: La tactique (Paris: 1907), 25.


John A. Lynn is a professor of history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his PhD at UCLA in 1973. His publications include Giant of the Grand Siècle: The French Army. 1610-1715 (Cambridge University Press, 1997), The Bayonets of the Republic: Motivation and Tactics in the Army of Revolutionary France, 1791-94 , (Westview Press, 1996 and 1984), (edited) Feeding Mars: Logistics in Western Warfare from the Middle Ages to the Present (Westview Press, 1993), and (edited) The Tools of War: Ideas, Instruments, and Institutions of Warfare, 1445-1871 (University of Illinois Press, 1990).