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John Miller of National Review pens a gorgeous little essay on the life of Bruce Catton. Catton, obviously, is one of my favorite historians, and I think is responsible not only for the shift in military history from generals and admirals to privates and seamen, but also for the spread of "popular" military history - the stuff written not as a master's thesis or doctoral dissertation, but to inform and amuse the public. Catton and others like him (for example, Samuel Eliot Morison and S.L.A. Marshall) are the reason that military history is thriving even though academia has turned up its nose at the subject. People want heroes.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
chocol8fiend
Jun. 7th, 2009 05:02 am (UTC)
Eric Hoffer
Ever here of Eric Hoffer? Like Bruce Catton he was a autodidact.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Hoffer
wombat_socho
Jun. 7th, 2009 12:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Eric Hoffer
I'd heard of him but never looked into him. Thanks for the pointer!
jordan179
Jun. 14th, 2009 05:43 pm (UTC)
An understanding of military affairs is vital to any people who want to remain self-governing for long. War is the most rapidly decisive of major human endeavors, and if one doesn't understand war, one is not fully qualified to make war-and-peace decisions. Thus a people ignorant of military affairs will find themselves governed de facto by those who grasp them; or (worse) shoulder aside those who grasp them and make decisions of war and peace in total ignorance, and then find themselves governed by the foe.
wombat_socho
Jun. 14th, 2009 07:37 pm (UTC)
*nods*
The consistent refusal of the Democratic party to pay any attention to history with regard to national security issues is one of the big reasons I refuse to support their candidates at any level except the city/county level, where some relatively sensible ones can still be found.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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