Soldiers and Civilization

How the Profession of Arms Thought and Fought the Modern World into Existence
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Published:May 15, 2017
By Reed Robert Bonadonna (Author)

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SOLDIERS AND CIVILIZATION covers the history of the military profession in the Western World from the ancient Greeks to the present day. Drawing from military history, sociology, and other disciplines, it goes beyond traditional insights to locate the military profession in the context of both literary and cultural history. Reed Bonadonna maintains that soldiers have made an unacknowledged contribution to the theory and practice of civilization and that they will again be called upon to do so in important ways. The comprehensive nature of the book and the extent to which Bonadonna draws on the disciplines of the humanities to make his points set this volume apart from others on the subject.

The military profession, in its broadest consideration, might be viewed as an interdisciplinary branch of the humanities. A soldier is made of the words of history, poetry, and the laws and language of his calling. With each new conflict, the military may be called upon to preserve the values of civilization. To fulfill its future role, the military professionals of today must know, heed, and apply the examples and narratives of the most successful and exemplary military professionals of the past at their best.

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Product Details
  • Subject: Military History
  • Hardback : 336 pages
  • Illustrations: 9
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (May 15, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 1682470679
  • ISBN-13: 9781682470671
  • Product Dimensions: 6.18 X 9.25 in
  • Shipping Weight: 25.6 oz
  • 2018 recipient of the Admiral David Glasgow Farragut Book Award given by The Burke Chapter of the Association of the United States Navy (AUSN).
  • Selected by Military Times for their 2017 Summer Reading Guide
  • “A rather cerebral analysis of war, this work will appeal to a more academic audience. Military historians, officers, and professional soldiers should find this book useful.” —Library Journal
  • Soldiers and Civilization is an important book. Important because it explains the connection between professional militaries and the people in whose name those militaries fight and serve. Reed Bonadonna reminds us not only that civilization has depended on soldiers, but also that our soldiers depend on their fellow citizens to understand, value, and help preserve their professionalism.” -- Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, USA, author of Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam
  • “[This] book is a fascinating and deep journey through military and intellectual history, which seeks to bring a historical and literary focus to a topic that tends to be dominated by social scientists such as Samuel Huntington or by ethicists rooted in the military practice such as Anthony Hartle. This volume appears unique in its focus and brings an important voice to the debate over the sources and nature of military professionalism in the West.” —The Strategy Bridge
  • “This is a groundbreaking exploration of the military’s contribution to knowledge and civilization. Reed Bonadonna shows his readers how, over time, soldiers have served not just to defend and destroy, but also to preserve and build. His work arcs from the Trojan War to the post-9/11 world, and reflects an amazing grasp of history, literature, and law. He ends with a clarion call for military education in a broad sense, education that will nurture the citizen-soldiers of the future, men and women in the mold of George C. Marshall who can meet twenty-first-century challenges to civilization. It is a call that military and civilian leaders would do well to heed.” -- Col. Nicholas Reynolds, USMCR (Ret.), former Chair of Intelligence at the U.S. Naval War College, and Marine Corps historian
  • “Every decade or so someone tries to explain war using an interdisciplinary approach. Virtually all of these attempts end in a muddle of social scientific confusion. Not so with Reed Bonadonna’s Soldiers and Civilization. His book is different. It’s clearly written. He treats each interdisciplinary element distinctly and gives each its place in the course of human conflict. The result is a brilliant narrative that entertains but also teaches . . . rare in today’s scorching realm of histories written by advocates pushing a single theme.” -- Maj. Gen. Robert Scales, USA (Ret.), author of Scales on War: The Future of America’s Military at Risk
  • “This is not just another book on military history. The focus is not on tactics and strategy but on the humanistic thinking of those under arms. Colonel Bonadonna presents an articulate, thought-provoking, and too often overlooked argument on how military professionals evolved and what truly makes them ‘professional.’ This is a great book to further the discussion on the importance of the humanities in the development of military professionals.” -- Col. Jay Kennedy, USMC (Ret.), former Director, Humanities and Social Sciences Division, U.S. Naval Academy
  • “For anyone who wishes to pursue a career in the military, this is a must read. If you wish to excel in the field of Combat Arms this book is beyond necessary.” “As a fan of military history and current events, I cannot recommend this enough…” – United States Merchant Marine Academy, HEAR THIS!
  • “The author holds that soldiers have made unrecognized contributions to society and modern civilization. He makes his case using the humanities and sociology.” – Military Heritage magazine
  • “Soldiers and Civilization is rich in content that summarizes military history from an interesting vantage point…” – Naval Historical Foundation
  • “Historian and retired colonel Reed. R. Bonadonna argues the profession of arms has contributed more to the development of Western civilization than any other influence” – Military Officer
  • “‘Soldiers and Civilization’ covers the history of the military profession in the context of both literary and cultural history, maintaining that soldiers have made an unacknowledged contribution to the theory and practice of civilization and that they will be called up to do so in important ways.” — VMI Alumni Review
  • “This didactic work hopes to stimulate discussion of the role of military professionals in shaping the future.”—Choice Reviews
  • “The reader undoubtedly will be enriched by this intellectual journey from classical antiquity to postmodernity…. Soldiers and Civilization is a significant addition to the study of war fighting as the basis for the literature, culture, and politics of Western civilization.” —Naval War College Review

Reed Robert Bonadonna served in the U.S. Marine Corps as an infantry officer and field historian, retiring with the rank of colonel. He participated in the first Marine landings in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1982 and in Operation Iraqi Freedom-1 in 2003. He earned a PhD at Boston University. He recently retired as Director, Ethics and Character Development program at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He and his wife, Dr. Susan Bonadonna, MD, have three sons and reside in Larchmont, New York.

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