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The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations (Belknap Press S)

4.2 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0674817364
ISBN-10: 0674817362
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Editorial Reviews

Review

The problem of civil–military relations is of critical importance in American affairs… Huntington establishes his basic propositions, formulates his theoretical framework, and analyzes historical and contemporary developments in the United States and abroad with skill and insight. The clarity and precision with which the book moves forward make it a delight to read. (Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science)

The book contains many insights about both America and its soldiers, and the thought behind many of its conclusions is hard and clean… It also disposes of a number of prejudices about the military that still clog the policy process… Here is a book to make one think. (American Political Science Review)

From the Back Cover

In a classic work, Samuel P. Huntington challenges most of the old assumptions and ideas on the role of the military in society. Stressing the value of the military outlook for American national policy, Huntington has performed the distinctive task of developing a general theory of civil-military relations and subjecting it to rigorous historical analysis.
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Product Details

  • Series: Belknap Press S
  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Belknap Press (September 15, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674817362
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674817364
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
At the time of its original publication in 1957, Samuel Huntington's The Soldier and the State reflected a new age in American history--the Cold War era. Huntington, a young Harvard professor of government, focused on policy problems concerning civilian direction of the military under the terms of the Cold War. Basically, he contended that traditional American liberalism was outdated and in fact had begun to pose a national security danger. Until this era, the absence of an overt military threat to American security allowed for a policy of civilian control of the military compatible with liberal democratic values. Traditionally, liberal solutions to domestic problems had likewise been applied to military problems, frequently resulting in failure.
Huntington offered a theoretical framework for modern civil-military relations. He insisted that liberalism was fundamentally opposed to the proper military ethic; the application of subjective civilian control over the military actually aimed at weakening military professionalism, which was viewed as a threat to democracy, liberalism, and American values. The Cold War, though, required America to keep a large national army during peace time; the army could not return to its traditionally subordinate role. There was perpetual tension between the demands of national security and the values of American liberalism: either American security must be compromised or the influence of liberalism weakened. Only a conservative environment allowed for equilibrium between political influence and the military professionalism that ensured national security. This balance could only be achieved, Huntington argued, by objective civilian control of the military.
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Format: Paperback
Though growing dated in many ways, Huntington's 1950's history of the development of US civil-military relations is extremely instructive to both civilian and military readers alike. Huntington uses a comparisons with the German and Japanese pre-WWII experiences to contrast the American, as well as to develop his own theory as to what the ideal form of civil-military relations should be. Huntington's book should be a must-read, even in its dated form, for anyone who could possibly exercise political influence that could result in military action.
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Format: Paperback
Samuel Huntington's writings have always been incisive and animated by a spirit of the author's stupendous labor and a burning desire to project a true perspective of topics. The Soldier and the State is no exception.

Every human society and for that matter every human civilization have evolved round this single issue of striking a balance between the civilian and the miltary sector and hence the debate rages round key political thoughts like liberalism and realism. This age old riddle is diificult to solve and the lone super power of the new millennium is still searching for an answer to this on a national and international level: whither hard power or soft power?

Huntington's account of civilian and military history is studded with hard facts and comprehensive research works and this makes the book so interesting. He has picked up a topic that he felt from the core of his heart worth discussing.

On a deeper level the issue strikes right into the heart of the American political thought. This is also dealt with in the opening chapter of the undersigned's book : Tracing the Eagle's Orbit.

Professor Huntington is an institution by himself and this topic and this book is a must read for everybody. This would magnetically draw the reader to finish the pages of the book with bated breath and is sure to impact the reader's knowledge on political processes since the dawn of human history.

Gautam Maitra
Author of 'Tracing the Eagle's Orbit: Illuminating Insights into Major US Foreign policies since Independence.'
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Format: Paperback
Incisive and remarkably relevant. Huntington delves into the role of the military in shaping and protecting a society. A MUST read for anyone who is in, or deals with the military.
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Considering this is a book published in 1957, my copy was about as good as one could expect with just a few faded pages. Not bad for 58 years old!
The content of this book has applicability to today's world just as much as it did back in the '50s. The subject matter is pertinent to all time frames over the last 300 years. An excellent summary of a somewhat complicated subject.
These writings also dispel a lot of myths civilian people have concerning the military. I have yet to read a better explanation of this subject in any other source. Brian
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For anyone interested in military research, this is a must have ... or must have access to. This book (as well as Janowitz: Professional Soldier) continues to be heavily referenced in the literature. It is definately a theory based book - not an easy read at times.
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Just an incredible book. So comprehensive and clearly written. You may not agree with (any)everything Huntington says, but you'll enjoy how he walks you through the subject.
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The starting point for understanding this complex relationship.
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