Edward M. Almond and the US Army: From 92nd Infantry Division to X Corps

 This study presents a comprehensive look at a complex man who exhibited an unfaltering commitment to the military and to his soldiers but whose career was marked by controversy. As a senior Army officer in World Wars I and II, Lt. Gen. Edward M. Almond lived by the adage that “units don’t fail, leaders do.” He was chosen to command the 92nd Infantry Division— one of only two African American divisions to see combat during WWII— but when the infantry performed poorly in Italy in 1944–1945, he asserted that it was due to their inferiority as a race and not their maltreatment by a separate but unequal society. He would later command the X Corps during the Inchon invasion that changed the course of the Korean War, but his accomplishments would be overshadowed by his abrasive personality and tactical mistakes. This book addresses how Almond’s early education at the Virginia Military Institute, with its strong Confederate and military influences, shaped his military prowess. Michael Lynch offers a thorough assessment of Almond’s military record: how he garnered respect for his aggressiveness, courage in combat, strong dedication, and leadership and how he was affected by the loss of his son and son-in-law in combat during WWII. Following the war, Almond would return to the United States to assume command of the US Army War College but found himself unprepared for a changing world. This volume asserts that since his death, his bigoted views have come to dominate his place in history and overshadow his military achievements.  

Praise for Edward M. Almond and the US Army:

“An astute, nuanced examination of one of the US Army’s most confounding combat leaders. In teasing out the contradictions in Edward M. Almond’s unabashed life, with scrupulous scholarship and an unsparing eye, Michael E. Lynch also gives an insightful portrait of our twentieth-century Army.”—Rick Atkinson, author of An Army at Dawn (winner of the Pulitzer Prize for History) 

"Lynch has written an impressively researched and balanced biography of one of the Army’s most controversial officers. Like or hate Ned Almond, this book belongs in the collections of all those interested in the US Army’s experience in the Korean War and in its officer corps." -- Brian McAllister Linn, author of Elvis’s Army: Cold War GI’s and the Atomic Battlefield 


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Drawdown: The American Way of Postwar

Drawdown: The American Way of War edited by Jason W. Warren

While traditionally Americans view expensive military structure as a poor investment and a threat to liberty, they also require a guarantee of that very freedom, necessitating the employment of armed forces. Beginning with the seventeenth-century wars of the English colonies, Americans typically increased their military capabilities at the beginning of conflicts only to decrease them at the apparent conclusion of hostilities. In Drawdown: The American Way of Postwar, a stellar team of military historians argue that the United States sometimes managed effective drawdowns, sowing the seeds of future victory that Americans eventually reaped. Yet at other times, the drawing down of military capabilities undermined our readiness and flexibility, leading to more costly wars and perhaps defeat. The political choice to reduce military capabilities is influenced by Anglo-American pecuniary decisions and traditional fears of government oppression, and it has been haphazard at best throughout American history. These two factors form the basic American “liberty dilemma,” the vexed relationship between the nation and its military apparatuses from the founding of the first colonies through to present times. 

With the termination of large-scale operations in Iraq and the winnowing of forces in Afghanistan, the United States military once again faces a significant drawdown in standing force structure and capabilities. The political and military debate currently raging around how best to affect this force reduction continues to lack a proper historical perspective. This volume aspires to inform this dialogue. Not a traditional military history, Drawdown analyzes cultural attitudes, political decisions, and institutions surrounding the maintenance of armed forces.   

Essay by Michael E. Lynch: "The American Way of Postwar: The Liberty Dilemma"

This essay  synthesizes all the arguments presented in the book's twelve other essays  in order to provide a cohesive theme for the book.

Praise for Drawdown:

"In Drawdown, the contributors explain how and why America, despite repeated lessons, failed to sustain ready military forces in sufficient scale to secure the nation. Jason Warren has pulled together well-researched and accessible essays that shed light and understanding on the cultural, political, strategic, and financial causes of unpreparedness. Breaking the cycle of unpreparedness in an era of increasing security risk requires historical understanding. Making the most out of the resources available to secure our nation and vital interests requires imaginative military and civilian leadership. Drawdown delivers the former and helps cultivate the latter."-General H.R. McMaster, author of Dereliction of Duty

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Black History of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania: 1860-1936

Black History of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania: 1860-1936 edited by Steven B. Burg

In January 2004, Dr. Steven B. Burg began his quest to learn more about the history of blacks in Shippensburg. With the help of 15 students, 14 graduate and 1 undergraduate, the Black History of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania: 1860-1936 was created. It is a collection of essays that document the role Shippensburg area blacks played in the community as well as the incredible challenges they overcame as they transitioned from slavery to becoming free citizens. 

Essay: "Not Due to Vicious Habits" Local Black Veterans' Struggle for Civil War Pensions -- Michael E. Lynch

The General Pension Act of 1862 granted pensions to  those soldiers or their families who were disabled in combat.  This essay examines the difficulties that black soldiers in receiving pensions under this act and the seven that followed. Focusing on the veterans from the small community of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, the essay includes three case studies illustrate some of those difficulties.

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