Internationally recognized for having reinvigorated and redefined his field, distinguished military historian Edward M. Coffman is a dedicated and much-admired teacher and mentor. In The Embattled Past, several of his most important essays have been assembled into a collection that serves as an essential reference to the discipline and an initiation to the study of military history for aspiring scholars.
Coffman’s introduction to the volume charts his own professional journey and sets the book within the larger context of Americans’ attitudes toward their military, both inside and outside of academia. The essays explore a range of critical issues in military historiography — such as strategies for conducting oral history and research methodologies — and examine questions at the heart of the field. Included are two seminal essays on World War I, which provide a fascinating overview of American war strategies and illuminate the reasons why so many historians have ignored this critical turning point in twentieth-century history. The volume concludes with an unpublished essay detailing Coffman’s experience of interviewing General Douglas MacArthur in 1960.
This exciting new book offers readers insights into more than two hundred years of United States military history while also providing a comprehensive overview of Coffman’s stellar contributions to the field. Important and engaging, The Embattled Past is a primer on the profession from one of the most honored scholars of our time.