Jeffrey Herf has an excellent post at TNR’s Open University commenting on Anthony Grafton’s Princeton Diarist: Military Academy, speaking about the marked divide between military studies and the academy. To quote:
As Grafton knows, one result of the war in Vietnam was that within our discipline of history, diplomatic, international and military history became marginalized. So the deficiency of knowledge of military affairs has been a long time in the making. While very few of us have children in the military as Grafton does, many of us have students who have been, are or may be in the military. The year I spent teaching in the Strategy Department at the Naval War College in Newport in 1987-88 brought home to me the points Grafton raises, namely that there is a great deal of learning that goes on within the military and that the military would benefit greatly from discussions with scholars who are not in the traditional fields of international relations and policy studies.
One poster responds with an excellent suggestion:
A modest proposal: every professor of poli sci or modern history should spend at least one semester out of every ten teaching in one of the service academies or the Naval War College. Get to know the likes of Petraeus and realize that these men (and women) not only know their business well, but in many cases know much more diplomatic and non-western history than many of their peers in academia. (It would be fun to hear Juan Cole try to BS his way along concerning contemporary Iraq with a group of returning colonels and majors who’ve spent the last 3 years there).