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Command Culture: Officer Education in the U.S. Army and the German Armed Forces, 1901-1940, and the Consequences for World War II Paperback – Illustrated, April 7, 2013
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“Muth has written a fascinating book here. Command Culture is an important and long-lasting contribution to the debate over officer training in the United States. What Muth is able to bring to the debate is a vast knowledge of the archival resources and historiography of the modern German army. The book is at once a study of the U.S. officer corps before World War II, a valuable analysis of U.S. and German officer training and education, and a stinging comparison of the two armies' military cultures.”--Robert Citino, author of The German Way of War and Path to Blitzkrieg
“Muth makes a strong case that effective command at all levels has a set of elements that do not depend on wider social, cultural, and political matrices. His challenge to the ‘new military history’ will generate controversy but cannot be dismissed.”--Dennis Showalter, author of Hitler's Panzers and Patton and Rommel
“Jörg Muth’s book is about an interesting and significant topic. Although I disagree in some respects with his thesis, I recognize that it is well argued. Based on extensive research in primary and secondary sources, it is also well written.”--Edward M. Coffman, author of The Regulars: The American Army, 1898-1941
“Muth’s book is a must-read for senior policy makers of the Army making strategic decisions about the philosophy, curriculum, and pedagogical methods in use in the current Army’s officer education system.”--Army History
"Muth's book raises important issues, many of which are still being hotly debated today in military circles. . . . Muth's work is valuable to both academics and military professionals alike. In particular, it should be discussed in American PME institutions at all levels."--Richard DiNardo, H-German, H-Net Reviews
"A leader of men who is uneducated isn't much of a leader at all. Command Culture analyzes how the U.S. and German armies educated their officers and how the two compare, and what this meant on the battlefield. German officers, while in a controlled society, received a vast education while it could be argued that American officers received the polar opposite of an open society and a dated and limited military education. These comparisons make for a very different and intriguing way to look at the battles of the war, making Command Culture an excellent addition to military history collections."--Midwest Book Review
About the Author
JöRG MUTH received his PhD in history from the University of Utah. He is the author of Flucht aus dem militärischen Alltag: Ursachen und individuelle Ausprägung der Desertion in der Armee Friedrichs des Großen, a study of desertion in the Prussian army during the era of Frederick the Great. He lives in Germany.
- Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
- Paperback : 376 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1574415336
- ISBN-13 : 978-1574415339
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Publisher : University of North Texas Press; Illustrated edition (April 7, 2013)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #354,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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For the American army and our military as a whole, there was and is the problem of incredible inertia. It is not going to do much good to have small groups of American company grade officers who have "seen the light" in German officer training, if all attempts to make these new approaches stick are viewed as infractions by the status quo. This is a *huge* problem and bedevils us still in the open ended hybrid wars in the Middle East. At its core the American problem is inflexibility and dogmatic thinking. Today American commanders are still sticking to the book, refusing to learn local languages, trying to "teach democracy" and ignoring the primacy of personal reputations, treating hybrid wars in the 3rd World like high intensity mechanized wars in Europe...if we keep this up it's going to be a long and painful 21st century for our country.
How did we get in this mess? I am not 100% certain but I recommend reading Muth's book along with "American Nations" by Colin Woodward. American Nations is a rather left-oriented view of American demographics and culture, but extremely compelling. The pernicious influence on the American military of the Deep South and what Woodward calls "Greater Appalachia" cannot be underestimated, and will be immediately recognized by any Army officer.
Addendum: I'm going to add one more book recommendation for anyone seeking an "a-ha!" moment on leadership: read Muth's book, read "American Nations," and also read "The Toyota Way." The common thread revealed is the Anglo-American penchant for management from a distance, by generalist managers appointed based by who they are (social strata) rather than what they have shown they can do. Alas, this penchant has been institutionalized by American business schools and military command and staff colleges. We're probably screwed in the long term.
Ed Cox, author of Grey Eminence: Fox Conner and the Art of Mentorship
Top reviews from other countries
Immer wenn der interessierte Leser denkt: "Gut Ansatz, jetzt mal los...", wird er bitter enttäuscht. Denn letztlich treibt der Autor in jedem Kapitel die selbe Sau durchs Dorf, die da lautet: die Amerikaner haben das preussische Kriegsschul-System schlecht kopiert.
Dies allein überrascht wohl allerdings kaum jemanden. Bleibt die Frage, welchen Qualitativen Unterschied gab es zwischen den beiden Führerkorps denn wirklich, auf welcher Ebene manifestierte dieser sich und welchen Anteil hatten daran die Kriegsschulsysteme? Welche Faktoren spielten darueber hinaus eine wesentliche Rolle und darf man diese wirklich weitgehend ausblenden?
Tatsache ist, das ein komparativer Ansatz der Schulsysteme rasch an seine Grenzen kommt, wenn die hoehere Anzahl der überlegenen deutschen Truppenführer plausibel gemacht werden soll. Letztlich müsste der Vergleich hier sicher weiter ausholen.
Außerdem wäre es überzeugender, wenn weniger Behauptungen wiederholt und dafür besser und anekdotisch belegt werden wurden ( i.e. Die Amerikaner haben mit schlechten Paukern Mathe gelernt und die Deutschen mit Truppenfuehrern Militärisches Führen erlernt). Darüber hilft leider nicht hinweg, dass beinahe die Hälfte des Buches aus Anhängen und Fußnoten besteht.
Letztlich bleibt nach Lektüre des Buches ein fader Beigeschmack. Dem Nichthistoriker bleibt das Gefühl, ohne dies exakt fassen zu können, dass es dem Buch auch methodisch an Qualitäten mangelt. Ein guter Ansatz wurde versemmelt, es wurde vom Autor laut gebrüllt und zu kurz gesprungen.