Published Works and Projects
... CNBC Guest Author Blog, 2/18/2013
Major General John P. Lucas at Anzio: Prudence or Boldness?, Global War Studies, Fall 2011
Late in 1943 the British and Americans, desperate to break the stalemate in Italy and capture Rome, conceived a daring but dangerous amphibious landing at Anzio to outflank the German Cassino line defenses. The Allied high command selected MG John Lucas, hero of Salerno, to command the US VI Corps which would make the landing. Once he had been selected for a command he never should have held, in an operation that should never have been mounted, Lucas had no choice but to carry out his orders as he understood them, even though he regarded the whole endeavor as completely misguided - and he was fully prepared to die doing his duty. The Anzio operation resulted in bloody, futile disaster, and forced a pathetic ending to the career of a noble warrior. The whole affair remains a blemish on the Allied high command, which first extolled him and then cast him aside without honor.
Henry Ware Lawton: Flawed Giant and Hero of Four Wars, Army History, Winter 2007
A century ago, Henry Lawton was the most acclaimed soldier of his generation. A "Boy Colonel" and regimental commander during the Civil War, by the age of 23 he had survived 22 major battles unscathed and had been awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery during Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. After a year at Harvard Law School, his former colleagues - Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan - persuaded him to rejoin the army. He served first with the Buffalo Soldiers and then as Quartermaster of the 4th Cavalry under the legendary Colonel Ranald MacKenzie. Leader of the epic 2,000 mile trek that finally tracked down Geronimo in 1886, he was the victor at the Battle of El Caney, Cuba on 1 July 1898, the greatest land battle fought by Americans since the Civil War. Protected by President McKinley when his alcoholism nearly created a scandal, Lawton was assigned to the Philippines, where he was killed in action. He died in America's first major counterinsurgency operation on foreign soil, trying to bring democracy to an Asian people.
BG Joseph Mansfield, Military Heritage Magazine, February 2007
BG Joseph K.F. Mansfield (1803-1862) prepared his whole life for the ultimate test of a soldier - command of troops on the battlefield. After a long and distinguished career, that moment finally came at the Battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862 - the bloodiest day in our history. In command of XII Corps, Union Army of the Potomac, his moment of glory lasted less than a half hour.
The Terrills: "God Alone Knows Which Was Right", America's Civil War Magazine, September 2006
Two Brothers - each rising to General rank, but fighting on opposite sides in our Nation's most terrible war - fall in battle. Left behind are a distaught and tormented father, a shattered family, and a legend that defines in the starkest possible terms the agony of a struggle where brother fights against brother.
Major General Maurice Rose: World War II's Greatest Forgotten Commander, 2006
"Rose was a brave man, single-minded, whose only mission was to defeat the Nazis as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. Whether that was due to his Jewish background (which he seemed to shun) or not is problematical. He demanded absolute loyalty from his men. He would not accept any excuse from any of his subordinate commanders -- accomplish your mission or move on! This book sheds a lot of light on the man whom General J. Lawton Collins regarded "as the top notch division commander in the business at the time of his death." Robert K. Pacios, WWII Veteran, 3rd Armored Division
Commanders at Antietam Biographical Information
"Commanders at Antietam" began as a collection of the author's portrait sketches related to development work on the Battle of Antietam Corporate Staff Ride. The webpage includes those sketches, contemporary photographs, prior service info and bios, and on-line biographical sources of the principal commanders at Antietam.
Command Failures: Lessons Learned from Lloyd R. Fredendall, Army Magazine, March 2003
A hero of the early days of World War II, Lloyd Fredendall presided over the debacle at Kasserine Pass, one of the worst defeats of American arms during World War II. Kicked upstairs and given a training job, he receded into obscurity, re-entering the American consciousness briefly during the 1970 hit movie, Patton. The lessons we can learn from him, however, are a case study for the dynamics that lead to Command Failure.
The Fighting McCooks, Military History Magazine, October 2005
In war and peace, this Ohio family demonstrated a comittment to service that spans a century and a half and has given the nation generals, governors, doctors, professors, lawyers, legislators, scientists, a WWII destroyer, and sixteen members of the Union forces during the Civil War. In that great struggle seven members of the family rose to the rank of general, including two brothers who died in battle, along with their father and younger brother.
Commodore Thomas Macdonough: Hero of the Barbary Wars, Victor at Lake Champlain, Military Heritage Magazine, October 2004
After serving in the Quaisi War With France, Thomas Macdonough helped recapture and burn the USS Philadelphia and defeat the Barbary pirate gunboats. During the War of 1812, Commodore Macdonough defeated the British on Lake Champlain in 1814, the most decisive victory of the war.
Russian General Ivan D. Chernyakhovsky, WWII History Magazine, May 2004
Twice a Hero of the Soviet Union, Ivan Chernyahkovsky was the youngest Soviet Front Commander. A Jew and survivor of the purges of the 1930's and the terrible early days of the Great Patriotic War, he retained Stalin's trust and rose to the top ranks of great armor commanders, only to fall in the last days of World War II.
Fighting Admiral of Guadalcanal, World War II Magazine, May 2004
In our long history, only five American admirals have died in battle. Two died on the same day - Friday, November 13, 1942 - desperately resisting an overwhelming Japanese force determined to annihilate the US Marines holding Guadalcanal. Dan Callaghan - the Task Force commander - and his classmate Norm Scott gave all they had to stop the enemy. They were the only Admirals to die in surface engagements and it was the only time in American history that two flag officers - both posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor - fell on the same day, in the same battle.
In the Front Ranks of Gallant Men, World War II Magazine, November 2003
Brigadier General Frederick Castle's death in combat ended the career of one of the Eighth Air Force's most beloved officers and deprived the Army Air Forces of one of its shining stars.
The Frustrations of Leonard Wood, Army Magazine, September 2003
Graduate of Harvard Medical School, Medal of Honor winner, pursuer of Geronimo, friend and confidant of presidents, Commander of the Rough Riders, Governor of Cuba and the Philippines, sponsor of Walter Reed, Army Chief of Staff, spokesman for Preparedness, and Provost of Univ. of Pennsylvania, Leonard Wood's greatest aspirations fell victim to his unrestrained ambition.
The Last Battle of Gen. William Orlando Darby, Army Magazine, January 2003
Killed in action just days before the end of World War II, Bill Darby was a legendary warrior who inspired his men to extraordinary acts. One of the youngest generals in our history, he was the only American officer posthumously promoted to general officer rank during World War II.
Martin Blumenson (1918-2005)
For more than fifty years, Martin Blumenson served our nation as a military historian, first as a citizen soldier during World War II, then as a professional Army historian, and finally as an independant scholar and teacher. Chronicler of the Normandy and Italian Campaigns, biographer of George S. Patton and Mark Clark, and author of dozens of books and articles, he was one of the last of the team assembled by S.L.A. "Slam" Marshall to write the Army's Official History of World War II.
This web page is in honor of his memory and in gratitude for his service and his friendship.
The Battle of Anghiari: "This Most Bestial Madness"
For more than five hundred years, Leonardo's lost masterpiece, the "Battle of Anghiari" has mesmerized viewers and historians, alike, and was even featured in the world of technology, "starring" in National Geo and PBS specials. Yet the Florentine victory over Milan below the ancient walled city of Anghiari in late June 1440 has receded into historical obscurity. Not even the close and convoluted involvement of Machiavelli in the story is remembered by history. This is remarkable, if for no other reason than the leaders of Florence deliberately selected this battle - and the most celebrated artist of the age Ė to commemorate the victory, one which they associated closely with their newly restored republic in the building that symbolized its power. Why? What made Anghiari so worthy of celebration at that critical moment in the fabled cityís history, and why did it disappear from military history so soon afterwards?
Xenophon's "Hipparchicus, Commander of Cavalry"
Xenophon's Hipparchicus, (ιππαρχικος) is a "how to" book for those aspiring to command cavalry. Specifically addressed to the leaders of the Athenian standing cavalry force, it should be read in close comparison with Xenophon's Memorabilia, III, 3, 1-3, where Socrates raises questions about the duties of the Hipparch. The perspective and outlook, as well as some of the issues discussed, like readiness, logistics, maintenance, and esprit de corps, will certainly be familiar to a modern armored cavalry regiment commander and staff. Even more important, the lessons of leadership buried in the brief text are as relevant today as they were in the cavalry clashes of ancient Greece.
The Battle of Kadesh: Public Relations Trumps Performance
Kadesh is the first battle in recorded history about which we have comprehensive contemporary documentation describing specific events, leadership, organization of forces, overall operations, field tactics, logistics, weapons, and general outcome. The modern fascination with the clash, however, is rooted in the question of how a near disaster came to be remembered as a tremendous victory; the answer lies in the character, will, and strategic vision of a world-historical figure, Pharaoh Rameses II, known as "Rameses The Great", colorfully portrayed by Yul Brynner in Cecille B. DeMille's spectacular epic The Ten Commandments (1956). Ramases was a man of immense abilities and longevity (he ruled for more than 70 years), Egypt's greatest builder, and among the most skillful and cunning diplomats and peacemakers of all time. A copy of his peace treaty with the Hittites, which resulted in a period of peace that lasted almost a century, today greets visitors to the Security Council of the United Nations in NYC.
Charles Sanders Peirce: America's Greatest Genius
America's greatest philosopher - perhaps America's greatest genius - Charles Sanders Peirce remains a footnote to the story of Pragmatism, a distinctly American contribution whose very name was conceived by Peirce. His life is a fascinating tale of tormented childhood, chronic sickness and psychological anguish, sexual scandal and enigmatic relationships, drug addiction, venomous academic politics, disappointed career hopes, great friendships and notorious betrayals. His achievements include stunning contributions to mathematics, geologic science, epistemology, logic, linguistics, and many other disciplines of philosophy. Intriguing questions remain and to this day, the Philosophy Department of Harvard University keeps his most personal papers under lock and key. The subject of just one academic biography, Peirce remains entirely unknown to his fellow citizens.
'BRAD': The GIís General - Omar N. Bradley (1893-1981)
Omar Bradley was the youngest, and last of nine men to receive five-star rank, and the only post World War II officer so honored (1950) . The only man in our history to successively command a division, a corps, an army, and an army group, he was the first post-war administrator of the Veteranís Administration, the top military officer during the Korean War and the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff serving at the beginning of the Cold War. His life and tremendous impact on his time have never been the subject of a serious, critical biography, yet are fascinating in their details and still offer relevant and important lessons for our time. The challenges he faced - organizing our forces to face a global ideological threat, as well as caring for the veterans who bear the burden of service - remain with us still, and will likely never disappear.
Reading the Bible as Military History
In the early reign of Hammurabi, about 1800 B.C., the great conqueror and law-giver set out with his allies to reassert authority over a small confederation of Canaanite city-states which lay along a plain now covered by the Dead Sea. Along the way, a minor tribal leader - Abram the Hebrew (allied with the Amorites, a minor ally of the Canaanites) - soon got caught up in the aftermath of the battle. He had left Ur of the Chaldees decades before leaving clan and old gods behind to strike out on his own. Lot, one of his kinsmen, was taken captive in Hammurabi's sack of a Canaanite city. What unfolds next is a thrilling tale of daring, boldness, and courage that dwarfs the seemingly greater struggle for imperial dominance among the great empires of the Ancient Near East. The Torah describes in brief, but dramatic and specific detail, the first organized military action of the Jewish people - a daring, long-range, night time commando raid to rescue hostages more than 3,500 years ago.
The Philosophy of War: A General Inquiry
If they exist at all, discussions of the "philosophy of war" are part of ethics or political philosophy, or one part of the greater issue of whether and how one can speak of a "just war". Similarly, except for the 19th century thinker and soldier, Carl von Clausewitz, and perhaps Baron Antoine-Henri de Jomini, as well as the ancient Chinese thinker Sun Tzu, there is no general agreement on whose works might be considered part of the canon of a "philosophy of war". Surely, in a time when at any moment dozens of wars rage over the globe, this cannot be adequate. This page begins a broad exploration by asking a simple question: "what would be included if there was such a thing as the "philosophy of war?"
Military History Depicted on US Postage Stamps, Postal Cards, Envelopes
From the first offical stamp depicting George Washington in uniform (1857, Scott #39) right up to today's headlines, the nation has remembered its wars and battlefields and honored its heroes through its postage stamps. This topical collection illustrates that effort in an easy to follow, comprehensive, stamp "album".
Warfare Depicted in Art
A new project to collect, organize, and comment on the close relationship between warfare and the myriad modalities of artistic expression that have told the story of war from the beginning.