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The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations (Belknap Press S) Paperback – October 15, 1981

ISBN-13: 978-0674817364 ISBN-10: 0674817362

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The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations (Belknap Press S) + The Masks of War: American Military Styles in Strategy and Analysis: A RAND Corporation Research Study + Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime
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Product Details

  • Series: Belknap Press S
  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Belknap Press (October 15, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674817362
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674817364
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 5.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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)

About the Author

Samuel P. Huntington was Clarence Dillon Professor of International Affairs, Harvard University, and the author of Political Order in Changing Societies.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 8, 2002
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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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 18, 1998
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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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 7, 1999
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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gautam Maitra on November 3, 2008
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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