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America's School for War: Fort Leavenworth, Officer Education, and Victory in World War II (Modern War Studies) Hardcover – April 5, 2010

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Product Details

  • Series: Modern War Studies
  • Hardcover: 308 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (April 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700617140
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700617142
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,277,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Army Historical Foundation's 2010 distinguished book of the year in Institutional and Functional History.

"I was intrigued and persuaded by his basic conclusion: Senior American commanders were much more competent in World War II than in World War I, he says, especially in the difficult art of coordinating the combat arms (infantry, artillery, armor, aviation.)"   Tom Ricks, February 1, 2012 in The Best Defense Blog, Foreign Policy on-line magazine

"In his meticulously researched and highly readable account, Schifferle reveals how the Leavenworth Schools played a key role in producing the officers who fought and won World War II."  Carlo D'Este, Kansas History, Autumn 2010

"This excellent, well-written study will be valuable for historians and educators and certainly to today's generation of student officers and instructors." Peter S. Kindsvater, Journal of American History, March 2011

"Schifferle has done an extensive study of officer education.... The result is a well-reasoned, balanced study that is also a pleasure to read. Military professoinals, historians and policymakers will find it a helpful guide to a historic, successful officer education process." Lester W. Grau, Military Review, July-August 2010.

"A superbly documented and well-written study. Anyone associated with military education should have this book in their library." --Parameters

In his engaging and important installment... Peter Schifferle considers how the US Army's professional education system shaped the concepts, doctrine, and habits of mind of its officer corps and ensured success on the battlefields of 1941-45.... His analysis throughout is balanced, impartial and grounded in scrupulous research. -- Patrick Rose, Michigan War Studies Review, 19 January 2012.

From the Back Cover

"A concise, focused, extensively researched and nicely balanced study of the Leavenworth schools--the institutional, intellectual, and professional heart of the U.S. army from World War I to World War II--and their impact on a generation of officers."--Timothy K. Nenninger, author of  The Leavenworth Schools and the Old Army: Education, Professionalism, and the Officer Corps of the U.S. Army, 1881-1918

"A brilliant examination of the influence of the Leavenworth schools on the conduct of American forces in World War II. Our current senior military leadership should consult this book as it considers the changes in military education needed to confront the challenges of the twenty-first century."--Peter R. Mansoor, author of  The GI Offensive in Europe: The Triumph of American Infantry Divisions

More About the Author

Peter J. Schifferle, Ph.D.
Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army (retired)

Professor of History
School of Advanced Military Studies
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

Dr. Schifferle's FaceBook page shows a photo of him with a Halloween gravestone listing Clausewitz, Jomini and Schifferle! The gravestone was a gag gift from his SAMS students in 2001.

He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Armor Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the School of Advanced Military Studies. He holds Masters Degrees from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in German History, and the School of Advanced Military Studies in Theater Operations. He was awarded a Doctorate in American History from the University of Kansas in 2002.

Upon graduation from Reserve Officers Training Corps at Canisius College, Buffalo, New York, Schifferle was commissioned into the Armor Branch in 1976. Dr. Schifferle served in a variety of command and staff positions in both tank and armored cavalry units throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East and the Republic of Korea, including an assignment as the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment S4 during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Prior to his last assignment as Exercise Director, School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS), U. S. Army Command and General Staff College, he served as Chief of Plans, V Corps in Heidelberg, Federal Republic of Germany. That assignment included supervision of staff planning for Task Force Eagle as both IFOR and SFOR in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1995 through 1997. After retirement in 2000, he was appointed the Director, Advanced Operational Art Studies Fellowship at SAMS.

Dr. Schifferle's awards include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star and multiple awards of the Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal. He is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Academic Honor Society, the Society for Military History and the 3d U.S. Cavalry Regiment.

He is the author of America's School for War: Fort Leavenworth, Officer Education, and Victory in World War II, published by the University Press of Kansas in April 2010, several journal articles in Military Review and Armor, as well as numerous book reviews and history and military-affairs conference presentations.

Dr. Schifferle has been married for more than thirty-three years to the former Sandra Leigh Gould. They have one daughter, Rachel.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Huck Finn on April 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was very pleased to see my copy of Dr. Schifferle's work arrive. First, I note that the author has outstanding credentials for this topic. Here, the biographical information is understated for the general reader, but speaks volumes for people who know anything about the School of Advanced Military Studies. Clearly, Dr. Schifferle is an accomplished historian and an expert in his field. Second, I appreciate both the bibliography and footnotes; I used both to gain insight into the scope and depth of the author's research. For example, I surveyed the sources that he used for the discussion on doctrinal development in the 1920's and found that material to be very interesting, to include the origins of the FM 100-5 manuals most professionals are so familiar with. Third, the text is well written prose with excellent analytical structure and substantive support for his arguments. In essense, I learned a lot about the Army as a "learning institution" in the inter-war years, showing the intellectual growth of officer corps as a whole (as opposed to the "intellectual leaders" that we so frequently read about). This book gave me a deeper appreciation for the relationships between experience (i.e. WWI), a flowering intellectual discourse (i.e. in professional journals), experimentation leading to new theory, resulting in new doctrine disseminated through the school system, and subsequently adjusted by new experience (i.e. WWII). This book clearly demonstrates the value of professional military education, illustrating many important concepts and innovations that reached fruition in WWII.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James D. Crabtree VINE VOICE on July 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Schifferle's book on Fort Leavenworth and its Command and General Staff College. Schifferle's thesis is that the CGSC was responsible for the exceptional performance of the U.S. Army during WWII and he makes his argument very well. The United States Army was underfunded and not very large when compared to the armies being organized in Europe and Asia, where it would soon be fighting. But the experienced faculty who came on board following WWI organized the CGSC in a well-thought-out manner and as a result the Army had a large number of trained staff officers and potential commanders to lead the divisions, corps, and armies created to beat the axis. Not necessarily an easy read but certainly an important book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By LtCol ret E. Kennedy, Jr. on April 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
LtCol (ret) Pete Shifferle, Ph.D., has produced an outstanding history of the Army's Command and General Staff School. His work focuses on the post-WWI through WWII period of the staff school (later the US Army Command and General Staff College). I like the author's methodology. He follows the development of the educational process for our WWII leadership and the problems encountered by the Army in its attempt to design the "just right" answer to educating under a variety of changing situations. While many who are familiar with the history of the staff school know about the two-year course implemented between the wars, Schifferle explains the reasons for the return to the one-year course due to the arrival of the WWI "hump" --- the mass of officers commissioned in 1917-1918. The Army's leaders and the school faculty faced some of the same problems as WWII broke that we face today. The massive problem of how to adequately staff an expanding Army with educated officers caused the Army to go from a two year course to a 90 day course with significant educational trade-offs. Schifferle does a superlative job of analyzing what this meant to units in the field by translating the numbers of Leavenworth graduates to unit positions in the field. What Schifferle finds is that Leavenworth could not keep pace with the demands of a hugely expanding Army without an attendant loss of graduates' quality and the requisite numbers to fill all key staff and command positions. These problems are being experienced by the Army today that finds all majors attending the course, many only taking the four months of core instruction at campuses located at Fort Belvoir, Fort Lee, Fort Gordon, and Redstone Arsenal.Read more ›
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