The heart of this biography is the account of Upton’s career as a military reformer. Here, David Fitzpatrick has succeeded. Too often we are ignorant of the origins and take for granted many aspects of military training, education, doctrine, leadership, and organization. By understanding the hard-experience that gave rise to these foundational aspects of the military profession, there is still plenty of opportunity to continue Upton’s work in improving it.
The traditional lore of the American Revolution holds that small groups of Patriot citizen-soldiers using unconventional tactics defeated a superior foe, who was using European tactics unfit for combat in the wilderness of North America. The lesson modern strategists are led to take from the experience of British operations during the American Revolution is that imposing one’s military doctrine in an alien environment is a recipe for disaster. Founding lore, however, overlooks a class of colonists lost in the clamor to understand to what transpired in 1776: Loyalists.
Carl von Clausewitz is known today as the West’s most influential military thinker. His seminal treatise On War lies at the heart of modern military doctrine. One recent article even compared its status among U.S. officers to that of St. Paul’s letters among Christians...The newly discovered complete correspondence between Carl and Marie von Clausewitz offers invaluable clues about the military theorist’s times, personal life, and writing habits. And, finally, they shed some light on Carl as the person and writer, instead of just the theorist.