The Past as Prologue: The Importance of History to the Military Profession
Williamson Murray and Richard Hart Sinnreich, editors. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. 265 pp. Notes. Index. $75 hardcover; $23.99 paperback.
By Lieutenant Claude Berube, U.S. Navy Reserve
In the midst of a wave of Iraq war-era literature from the big picture (Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor's Cobra II and Thomas E. Ricks' Fiasco) to works offering granularity on the individual or unit level (Nathaniel Pick's One Bullet Away and David Danelo's Bloodstripes), what seems to have been missing has been a more theoretical work on how some challenges might have been avoided altogether. In this absence emerges The Past as Prologue, which, as its title suggests, attempts to demonstrate the importance of understanding history. In fact it doesn't simply attempt, it succeeds. It is not focused on the Iraq war itself, but on broader concepts in how public policy ought to be considered and military operations achieved.