SOCS 617
War and Society

Peter Rutland

***The following books should be red in advance of the course***

Barbara Ehrenreich, Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War
Owl Books; (May 15, 1998) ISBN: 0805057870 (paper)

Robert L. O’Connell, Of Arms and Men
Oxford University Press; (Reprint edition November 8, 2002) ISBN: 0195053605 (paper)
Macgregor Knox & Williamson Murray (eds.)  The Dynamics of Military Revolution
Cambridge University Press (August 27, 2001) ISBN: 052180079X  (hardback)
John Keegan, The Face of Battle
Penguin; (January 27, 1983) ISBN: 0140048979  (paper)
John Ellis, The Social History of the Machine Gun
The Johns Hopkins University Press; (August 1, 1986) ISBN: 0801833582 (paper)

William McNeill, The Pursuit of Power
University Of Chicago Press; (September 15, 1984) ISBN: 0226561585 (paper) 

A.C. Grayling, Among the Dead Cities. The History and Moral Legacy of the WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and Japan
Walker and Co.; (March 20, 2007) ISBN: 0802715656 (paper) 

All of the optional supplementary readings, and some of the video clips, will be available on the Blackboard website for the course.  Each day the class will use a mixture of lecture, student presentation, and video clips to avoid monotony. 


Students will be asked to make three short (5-10 minute) presentations on a book or article on three different topics. These presentations may be focused on a section of one of the course textbooks, or they may be on a separate topic covered in one or more of the supplementary readings.   

The grading will be 50% class presentations and general discussion, and 50% the final paper.  The final paper, 10-12 pages long and on a topic agreed with the author or taken from a list to be issued by the instructor, should be submitted no later than July 3rd.  

Readings that are listed for each session are required for all students, the supplementary readings listed in the bibliography are optional, they may be used for a class presentation or for the final paper.

June 18 Monday morning         

                                                WHY DO MEN FIGHT WARS? 

A discussion of the Ehrenreich book.  What role does warfare play in structuring social relations and particularly gender relations?
Barbara Ehrenreich           Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War            
Frans B.M. De Waal       ‘We’re all Machiavellians,’ Chronicle of Higher Education, 23 Sep. 05 

What were the goals of war in pre-modern societies? How was the fighting organized? What weapons were used?  
Robert O’Connell            Of Arms and Men, 3-83 

What roles do women play in wartime? Why do men usually exclude them from combat roles? 
Susan Faludi                   'The Naked Citadel,’ The New Yorker, 5 Nov. 1994

June 18 Monday afternoon

                                                FEUDAL WARFARE    

Warfare was pivotal to the emergence of the feudal order in Europe. What new technologies were key to the rise of the knight? Why did this social formation emerge in Western Europe? What was the role of money and of honor in feudal warfare?  How did Japanese feudalism compare with the European model?                       
John Keegan                The Face of Battle, 78-116 on Agincourt                      
Robert O’Connell         Of Arms and Men, 84-107                       
Clifford Rogers             As if a new sun had arisen: England’s 14th century RMA, ch. 2 in M. Knox and W. Murray (eds)                                    The Dynamics of Military Revolution                        
William McNeill            The Pursuit of Power, 1-63                       
Lynn White                   ‘The stirrup,’ Medieval Technology and Social Change, 1-38

                                              THE GUNPOWDER REVOLUTION (1450-1700)  

How was gunpowder used in medieval battles and sieges? Why did it undermine the feudal order in Europe (but not in Japan)?  What were the characteristics of the professional armies that emerged in early modern Europe? How were European armies able to conquer the Americas?                        
Robert O’Connell         Of Arms and Men, 108-66                       
John A. Lynn                ‘Forging the Western army in 17th century France,’ ch. 3                                                                                                           in Knox and  Murray (eds.)  The Dynamics …                       
William McNeill            The Pursuit of Power, 63-184

June 19 Tuesday morning

                                                THE NAPOLEONIC WARS 

Napoleon revolutionized warfare – but without any particular technological breakthrough. Napoleon’s way of war reflected political change: the rise of nationalism.            
John Keegan                The Face of Battle, Waterloo 117-206           
Robert O’Connell         Of Arms and Men, 167-88                       
Macgregor Knox          ‘Mass politics and nationalism: the French revolution,’ ch. 4 in Knox and Murray (eds.) The Dynamics…                       
William McNeill            The Pursuit of Power, 185-222 

Clausewitz who turned the Napoleonic doctrine into a systematic military philosophy.
Contrast his view of war writing with the ancient Chinese classic, Sun Tzu’s Art of War.                        
[Packet]                       ‘Strategy’

June 19 Tuesday afternoon

                                                THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR 

The Civil War was the first modern war. What were the technological innovations in guns and in logistics that made possible the invention of “total war”?  What were the respective strategies of the North and South – how did they hope to win? What motivated the troops on both sides?      
Mark Grimsley             ‘Surviving military revolution: the US civil war,’ ch. 5 in Knox and Murray (eds.), The Dynamics…William McNeill            The Pursuit of Power, 223-61

June 20 Wednesday morning

                                                COLONIAL WARS 

How come small groups of Europeans were able to conquer entire continents?
How did colonial war differ from European warfare?
John Ellis                      A Social History of the Machine Gun

June 20 Wednesday afternoon

                                                THE FIRST WORLD WAR 

The First World War saw new technologies that brought maximum destruction to the battlefield and an unprecedented mobilization of resources on the Home Front: economic, human and cultural. What was it like to be a soldier in this war?
John Keegan               The Face of Battle, on the Somme, 207-285
Robert O'Connell        Of Arms and Men, 241-27
Jonathan Bailey           ‘The First World War and the birth of modern warfare,’ ch. 8 in Knox & Murray (eds) The Dynamics…                                               
William McNeill            The Pursuit of Power, 307-61

June 21 Thursday morning

                                                THE SECOND WORLD WAR 

What were the technological innovations that made ground combat in WW2 so different from WW1?  Why were the Nazis so successful in conquering Europe? Why did they fail to defeat the Soviet Union? Could democracies persuade their citizens to fight in total war ? 
Richard O’Connell        Of Arms and Men, 270-95
Williamson Murray       ‘May 1940,’ ch. 9 in Knox and Murray, Dynamics…
Morris Janowitz            ‘Cohesion and disintegration in the Wehrmacht,’ in Center and Periphery, 345-383
[Packet]                      ‘The Good War’
Anonymous                  A Woman in Berlin, 166-73 

Was the Allied use of terror bombing morally justifiable? 
A.C. Grayling               Among the Dead Cities. The History and Moral Legacy of WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and Japan
Brian Orend                 ‘War,’ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

June 21 Thursday afternoon            


Could the US have won the Vietnam war? How did it change the American way of waging war?
Le Ly Hayslip               When Heaven and Earth Changed Places, 194-21
William Broyles            ‘Why men love war,’ Esquire, November 1994.
[Packet]                       ‘Why were we in Vietnam?’ (New York Times articles)

June 22 Friday morning 

                                                THE NEW FACE OF WAR 

The military-technical revolution of the 1990s sees victory in the first Gulf War (1991), but then meets the realities of urban guerrilla warfare in the humanitarian interventions of the 1990s (Somlai, Bosnia, Kosovo) and the ongoing war in Iraq
[Packet]                       ‘Bombing in the Gulf War,’  ‘Transformation'
Peter Maass                 ‘Professor Nagl’s war,’ New York Times, 11 Jan. 2004                       
Evan Wright                 Generation Kill, ch. 1

June 22 Friday afternoon  

                                                CONCLUDING THOUGHTS 

Is the era of inter-state warfare over?  What re the social and psychological roots of the war phenomenon?  How have changes in media technology affected the way Americans view war? How is the US military holding up to the strains of waging counter-insurgency wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Move and Documentary Clips

Henry V                                              
History of the Gun                               
The Messenger
Master and Commander
The Red Badge of Courage                 
All Quiet on the Western Front                        
Battle of Algiers
Cross of Iron                                       
Das Boot
Battle of Britain                                    
The Anderson Platoon
G.I. Jane
Black Hawk Down                              
Before the Rain
Sometimes in April                               

Bibliography of Supplementary Reading

Primitive Warfare/General history 

Lawrence Keeley         War Before Civilization: The Myth of the Peaceful Savage
John Keegan                A History of Warfare, 77-136, 237-63
Victor Hanson              The Western Way of War
Harry Turney-High       Primitive War
Jonathan Haas (ed.)      The Anthropology of War, 1-25
Robert O’Connell         Ride of the Second Horseman
Azar Gat                      War In Human Civilization
Max Boot                     War Made New: Technology, Warfare and the Course of History
John Keegan                A History of Warfare
John A. Lynn                Battle: A History of Combat and Culture 

Gender and War 

Joshua Goldstein           War and Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System
Jean Elshtain                 Women and War
Erin Solaro                   Women in the Line of Fire.
Miriam Cooke & Angela Woollacott (eds)        Gendering War Talk
Caroline Moser                        Victims, Perpetrators or Actors? Gender, Armed
   & Fiona Clark                       Conflict and Political Violence
Kayla Williams             Love My Rifle More than You. Young and Female in the US Army.
Slavenka Drakulic         Balkan Express
Leo Braudy                  From Chivalry to Terrorism: War and the Changing Nature of Masculinity. 

Medieval warfare 

Karl Friday                   Hired Swords: the Rise of Private Warrior Power in Japan
William Farris               Heavenly Warrior: the Evolution of Japan’s Military
Bruce Porter                 War and the Rise of the State, 23-62
Geoffrey Parker                        The Military Revolution: Military Innovation and the Rise of the West
Noel Perrin                               Giving Up the Gun: Japan’s Reversion to the Sword 1543-1879

The Gunpowder Revolution 

Brian Downing              The Military Revolution and Political Change
Janice.E. Thomson        Mercenaries, Pirates and Sovereigns
Bruce D. Porter                        War and the Rise of the State, 63-104
John Lynn (ed)             Tools of War
Jareed Diamond                       Guns, Germs and Steel 

The Napoleonic Wars 

David A. Bell                The First Total War. Napoleon’s Europe and the Birth of Warfare
Bruce Porter                 War and the Rise of the State, 104-47
John Lynn                     Tools Of War, ‘The origins of the revolutionary attack,’ 154-76
Peter Paret (ed)                        Makers of Modern Strategy, 123-142
David Chandler                        The Campaigns of Napoleon

Theorists of strategy 

Carl von Clausewitz      On War
Ralph Sawyer               Sun Tzu: The Art of War
Peter Paret (ed)                        Makers of Modern Strategy                      Sun Tzu fan website       Clausewitz fan website 

The American Civil War 

James McPherson        What They Fought For 1861-1865
Michael Shaara             Killer Angels
James MacPherson       Battle Cry of Freedom
James A. Huston          The Sinews of War, 198-239
Jay Luvaas                   The Military Legacy of the Civil War, 1-51
Edward Hagerman        The American Civil War and the Origins of Modern Warfare
Herman Hattaway & Archer Jones        How the North Won 

Colonial Wars 

James O. Gump                        The Dust Rose Like Smoke: the Subjugation of the Zulu and the Sioux
Douglas Porch              French colonial warfare’ in Peter Paret (ed) Makers of Modern Strategy, 376-07
Sven Lindqvist              Exterminate All the Brutes
Huw Strachan               European Armies and the Conduct of War
John Laband                 Kingdom in Crisis: Zulu response to the British Invasion of 1879
Adam Hochschild         King Leopold’s Ghost: Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa 

The First World War 

Samuel Hynes               The Soldier’s Tale, chs. 1-3
Martin Gilbert               The First World War: A Complete History
Michael Howard           ‘The doctrine of the offensive,’ in Peter Paret (ed) Makers of Modern
                                      Strategy, 510-26
Bruce Porter                 War and the Rise of the State, pp. 149-95
Patrick Wright              The Tank
Paul Fussell                  The Great War and Modern Memory
Ernst Remarque                        All Quiet on the Western Front
Vera Brittain                 Testament of Youth
Richard Cork               A Bitter Truth: Avant-Garde Art and the Great War
Joanna Bourke             An Intimate History of Killing: Face-to-Face Killing in Twentieth- Century Warfare

The Second World War 

Eliot Cohen &              Military Misfortunes, ‘Catastrophic failure: the French Army in 1940,’197-230
Dave Grossman            On Killing: the Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War
Michael Bess                Choices Under Fire: Moral Dimensions of World War II
Guy Sajer                     The Forgotten Soldier
Siegfried Knappe          Soldat: Reflections of a German Soldier
Jeanine Basinger           The World War II Combat Film: Anatomy of a Genre.
Stephen Ambrose         Citizen Soldiers
John Keegan                Six Armies in Normandy
Anthony Beevor           Stalingrad, the Fateful Siege
Richard Holmes            Acts of War: The Behavior of Men in Battle
Sven Lindqvist              History of Bombing
Charles Messenger       ‘The influence of technology on air power 1919-45,’ in Ronald Haycock et al (eds.) Men, Machines and War, 93-112
David MacIsaac                       ‘The Air Power theorists,’ in Paret,  Makers of Modern Strategy, 624-47
Michael S. Sherry         The Rise of American Air Power
Michael Barnhart          Japan Prepares for Total War
Walter Boyne               Clash of Wing: Air Power in World War Two
Robert Pape                 Bombing to Win: Air Power and Coercion in War
James Bradley              Flags of Our Fathers (on Iwo Jima)
Theodore & Haruko Cook       Japan at War: An Oral History 


Bill McCloud                What Should We Tell Our Children About Vietnam?
Samuel Hynes               The Soldier’s Tale, ch. 5
Stanley Karnow                        Vietnam: a History
David Hackworth         About Face
Tim O’Brien                 The Things They Carried
Robert Mason              Chickenhawk
Harold G. Moore & J. Galloway           We Were Soldiers Once, and Young
Andrew Krepinevich     The Army and Vietnam.
Walter Capps (ed)        A Vietnam Reader
Bao Ninh                      The Sorrow of War (Vietnamese soldier’s novel)
Linda Dittmar               From Hanoi to Hollywood: the Vietnam War in American Film 

The Military-Technical Revolution of the 1990s 

James Der Derian         Virtuous War
Bruce Berkowitz           The New Face of War
Chris Hables Gray        Postmodern War. The New Politics of Conflict
Jean Baudrillard            The Gulf War Did Not Take Place
Norman Schwarzkopf   It Doesn’t Take a Hero
Michael Gordon & Bernard Trainor        The Generals’ War
US NEWS                   Triumph Without Victory: Unreported History of the Persian Gulf War
Martin Van Crefeld       The Transformation of War
Benjamin Lambeth        The Transformation of American Air Power
Anthony Cordesman     Lessons and Non-Lessons of the Air Campaign in Kosovo
Thomas Hicks              ‘The price of power,’ Wall Street Journal, 11 November 1999

The Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan 

Evan Wright                 Generation Kill
Anthony Swofford        Jarhead: A Marine’s Chronicle of the Gulf War (on the 1991 war)
Nathaniel Fick              One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer
Sean Naylor                 Not a Good Day to Die: The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda
Rick Atkinson               In the Company of Soldiers
Kayla Williams             Love My Rifle More than You. Young and Female in the US Army 

Anthony Cordesman     Iraq War: Strategy, Tactics, and Military Lessons
Anthony Cordesman     The War after the War: Strategic Lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan
George Packer             The Assassin’s Gate
Andrew Bacevich         The New American Militarism
Thomas Ricks               Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq
Williamson Murray & Robert Scales     The Iraq War: A Military History
Gordon Michael R. Gordon Cobra II. The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq

New Wars 

Mary Kaldor                New and Old Wars
Mark Bowden              Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War (Somalia 1993)
Thomas Hammes          The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century
Larry Kahaner              AK-47: The Weapon That Changed the Face of War
Rupert Smith                The Utility of Force
Wesley K. Clark          Bosnia, Kosovo and the Future of Modern Conflict
Max Boot                     The Savage Wars of Peace
Jan Willem Honig          Srebrenica: Record of a War Crime  (Bosnia 1995)
John Nagl &                 Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife, Counterinsurgency Lessons from 
Peter Shoomaker           Malaya and Vietnam
William Reno                Warlord Politics and African States
Peter W. Singer                        Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry
Peter W. Singer                        Children at War
Mark Huband               The Liberian Civil War

The US military today 

Richard Morin              ‘Gen Y goes AWOL,’ Washington Post, April 8, 2001
Charles Moskos                       ‘Success Story: Blacks in the military,’ Atlantic Monthly, May 1986
James Fallows              ‘The civilianization of the army,’ Atlantic Monthly, April 1981
Richard Kohn               ‘Out of control: the crisis in civil-military relations,’ National Interest, spring 1994
Catherine Lutz              Homefront: A Military City and the American 20th Century
Stephanie Guttman        The Kinder, Gentler Military (critic of opening the military to women)
Thomas E. Ricks          Making the Corps (what Marine boot camp is like)
Colin Powell                 My American Journey
Michael Desch              Civilian Control of the Military
David Morrison                        ‘Not asking or telling, no remedy?’ National Journal, 25 March 1995  

Moral reflections on war 

Chris Hedges                What Every Person Should Know About War
Chris Hedges                War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning
James Hillman               A Terrible Love of War
Martin Cook                The Moral Warrior
Susan Sontag                Regarding The Pain of Others
David Perlmutter           Visions of War. Picturing Warfare from the Stone Age to Cyber Age
Robert Eberwein (ed.)  The War Film
Sam Keen                    Faces of the Enemy