Always in search of primary sources relevant to military history, I wanted to pass along the following find.
The Online Library of Liberty is a free access website maintained by the Liberty Fund, Inc.
The Liberty Fund Library provides online resources in multiple categories including philosophy, art, economics, war and peace and much, much more. It provides both a forum and the library of resources. Both are excellent. It also has robust search capabilities.
Of particular interest for the study of military thought is a full version of many of Machiavelli’s (below) writings made available in English here. [See a good biography of Niccola Machiavelli here.]
This allows students to view directly not only Machiavelli’s Art of War (here), but also his more famous work, The Prince and Discourses on Livy. Versions are available for download in multiple formats including: html, pdf and ebook formats.
Also available on the site – in the category of war and peace – are: The Works of Alexander Hamilton, George Washington’s final address, Thomas Hobbs’ translation of Thucydides’ The History of the Peloponnesian Wars (Vol. 1 and 2), Rousseau and many more. The site provides an outstanding overview of history and thought with access to hundreds of other primary works.
I’ll be enthusiastically adding to my links.
I’m pleased to add the new blog of author and historian Alex Rose to my blogroll. Titled “The History Man” (see link here), it appears to be a promising addition to Alex’s website at http://www.alexrose.com and to the history blogosphere. Alex is a fellow wordpress.com blogger so nearer my virtual neighborhood (good choice).
Alex is author of Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring, Kings in the North: The House of Percy in British History, and American Rifle: A Biography.
Coming in October, 2008.
I’m vacationing this week in Forth Worth, Texas attending the “Texas Jack Round Up,” the bi-annual gathering of the “Texas Jack” Association (see website here). John B. “Texas Jack” Omohundro was enormously famous in his era. The best friend of William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, he was a famous western scout. And, he’s family, that is to say I married into the extended family.
John B. “Texas Jack” Omohundro
The following is a quick snapshot of Jack’s Civil War experience.
When the war between the states broke out, Jack’s older brother Orville (pictured with Jack below) joined the Confederate army as a lieutenant under the command of Col. J.E.B Stuart. Jack, then 14, immediately volunteered his services, and was, to his great disappointment, denied because of his age. After several attempts, he was finally accepted into the army when he was l6, and was assigned to his brother’s regiment.
John B. (left) and Orville Omohundro
Jack immediately gained renown as a scout of ability and bravery, working directly under Col. Stuart (pictured below), and was soon to be widely known as the “Boy Scout of the Confederacy”. Many times, he would act as a spy, moving among the Union troops as a chicken peddler or some other kind of tradesman, obtaining information about the enemy. Little was he to know that within the next 10 years, his best friends and saddle-mates would be former Union soldiers.
Colonel J.E.B. Stuart, CSA
Please note that I’m in process of adding more links to the right nav bar under the heading of “Reading Lists.” Collected here are professional military reading lists and those associated with universities in military history. These lists are really quite interesting and range from the classical works of military theorists to the latest in business leadership. If you find a list I don’t have noted, please let me know.
A favorite word of mine, élan, is used in discussion of the way soldiers carry themselves. Here is an example:
They distinguished themselves by behaving with aggressiveness, courage and élan, albeit being at times difficult to restrain.
The good folks at Princeton provide the following definition:
1. a feeling of strong eagerness (usually in favor of a person or cause); “they were imbued with a revolutionary ardor”; “he felt a kind of religious zeal” [syn: ardor]
2. distinctive and stylish elegance; “he wooed her with the confident dash of a cavalry officer” [syn: dash]
3. enthusiastic and assured vigor and liveliness; “a performance of great elan and sophistication”
The origins of the word élan are provided from Online Etymology Dictionary as follows:
1877, from Fr. élan, from élancer “to rush, dart,” from O.Fr. elancer, from e- “out” + lancer “to throw a lance,” from L.L. lanceare, from L. lancea “lance.”
elan. Dictionary.com. WordNet® 3.0. Princeton University. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/elan (accessed: June 08, 2008).
elan. Dictionary.com. Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/elan (accessed: June 08, 2008).
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Bonaparte, Napoleon. Napoleon on the Art of War. trans. and ed by Jay Luvaas. New York: Touchstone, 1999.
Jay Luvaas has pulled together in a single work what Napoleon never set to paper – a cohesive, single treatise on his philosophy of war. Luvaas, a respected military historian, accomplished this by reviewing, organizing, translating and editing Napoleon’s writings over the course of his life including much of his correspondence. He has organized the book into a series of essays so that it is structured not unlike the work of other military theorists. It begins with Napoleon’s views on creating a fighting force and preparations for war. This is followed by his thoughts on military education – an area about which Napoleon was passionate – particularly as related to the study of “great captains” of history: Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Caesar, Gustavus Adolphus, Turenne and Frederick the Great.. A section on “combat in arms” reveals Napoleon’s brilliance in changing up formations utilizing the men, animals and weaponry at hand. “Generalship and the art of command,” army organization, strategy, fortification, the army in the field, and the operational art are also examined through Napoleon’s writings with additional historical references as well as reference to correspondence written about major Napoleonic campaigns. This book is instructive to the study of military philosophers and military thought in that it provides insight into one of the most influential militarists in history. Military thought leaders such as Clausewitz and Jomini were contemporaries of Napoleon and highly influenced themselves by strategizing to fight with or against him. The book fills a rather noticeable gap and would be an excellent addition to any examination of military philosophers and strategists.
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By way of housekeeping, I’ve updated the Popular Series Posts page on the right nav bar titled Civil War Railroads here with the latest series of posts titled “Stewards of Civil War Railroads.”
Above: United States Military Railroad 4-4-0 locomotive W.H. Whiton (built by William Mason in 1862) in January 1865 with Abraham Lincoln’s presidential car, which later was used as his funeral car.
Continuing with my May book acquisitions which illustrate, as said by Civil War Interactive’s comments on my blog this week, why bank robbery may be needed to support my book-buying habits…
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Collins; Reprint edition (January 22, 2008)
This looks like a great read. Author Tom Wheeler, an accomplished man by any measure, has a terrific website here with more about his book and research. This has moved to the top of my list of reading for between terms.
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press (April 6, 2005)
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press (September 5, 2007)
I have DISCOVERED Dr. Hess and the growing list of terrific titles he has published on the Civil War. No doubt his other books will show up in my library before long. Dr. Hess, who has impressive academic credentials, has a website here. His book, Pickett’s Charge: The Last Attack at Gettysburg, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Cambridge University Press; New edition (February 28, 1997)
I’ve been intending to pick this up. Authored by military history professor and fellow blogger Mark Grimsley, it too is at the top of my reading list. Dr. Grimsley’s OSU webpage is here. His blog is here.
Paperback: 162 pages
Publisher: SR Books (January 28, 2002)
My post, “Fabian Strategy and the American Civil War” here, lead me to this book. One of my readers recommended it and suggests that it proves that the Confederacy could not have used the Fabian strategy effectively. I’m looking forward to this one.
Paperback: 284 pages
Publisher: University Press of Kansas; New Ed edition
Jav Luvaas is another prolific writer of military history and my collection of his books is growing. I first discovered his work while taking the course, Great Military Philosopers (see “The Courses” page here for details. I picked up his titles: Napoleon on the Art of War and Frederick the Great on the Art of War.
I’ll be adding these authors to my “The Historians” page shortly.
Catching up on acquisitions of new books in May. I’ve really got to get on a book budget.
Note that I’ve added two new category pages to my vitural bookshelves here. These include:
I’ve added serveral recommended military history reference books.
Encyclopedia of American Military History (3 beautiful volumes!)
Facts on File, Inc.
Published on: 2003-03
Number of items: 3
The War Companions Set: Consisting of The Oxford Companion to American Military History and The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern War 2-Volume Set
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (June 14, 2000)
Published on: 2000-06-14
Number of items: 1
From Oxford University Press, USA
The Reader’s Companion to Military History
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company (November 1996)
Published on: 1996-11
Number of items: 1
By Society for Military History
An Encyclopedia of Battles: Accounts of Over 1,560 Battles from 1479 B.C. to the Present
Paperback: 544 pages
Publisher: Dover Publications; Rev Sub edition (September 1, 1985)
Published on: 1985-09-01
By David Eggenberger
War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History: 1500 to Today
Hardcover: 640 pages
Publisher: Gotham (October 19, 2006)
By Max Boot
The Savage Wars Of Peace: Small Wars And The Rise Of American Power
By Max Boot
Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Basic Books (May 27, 2003)