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The Culture of Military Organizations


Peter R. Mansoor, Williamson Murray, Leonard Wong, Stephen J. Gerras, David Kilcullen, Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh, Mark Grimsley, Jorit Wintjes, Daniel Marston, Richard Hart Sinnreich, David Hunter-Chester, Reina Pennington, Gil-li Vardi, Kevin M. Woods, Corbin Williamson, John T. Kuehn, Allan R. Millett, David Stubbs, Robert Farley
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  • Date Published: October 2019
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108724487

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About the Authors
  • Culture has an enormous influence on military organizations and their success or failure in war. Cultural biases often result in unstated assumptions that have a deep impact on the making of strategy, operational planning, doctrinal creation, and the organization and training of armed forces. Except in unique circumstances culture grows slowly, embedding so deeply that members often act unconsciously according to its dictates. Of all the factors that are involved in military effectiveness, culture is perhaps the most important. Yet, it also remains the most difficult to describe and understand, because it entails so many external factors that impinge, warp, and distort its formation and continuities. The sixteen case studies in this volume examine the culture of armies, navies, and air forces from the Civil War to the Iraq War and how and why culture affected their performance in the ultimate arbitration of war.

    • Presents new perspectives on how culture influences the effectiveness of military organizations
    • Provides new insights as to why the US military, the most powerful in the world, failed to achieve its goals in Iraq and Afghanistan
    • Examines in a historical context how culture has affected military organizations from the Civil War to the present
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The Culture of Military Organizations explains superbly the importance of military culture and clearly demonstrates how culture underpins the effectiveness of armed force. Culture, once formed, is difficult to change; it cannot always be 'tamed,' but it can and should be understood. This book makes an enormous contribution in helping to foster that understanding. The history is first-rate, the analysis incisive, and the conclusions of enormous value to military leaders and policy makers today.' General David Petraeus, US Army (Ret.), former commander of the surge in Iraq, US Central Command, and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan

    'A brilliant set of analyses of military cultures that captures the nature of military culture and an understanding of its importance. This is an important work written at a time when military innovation and transformation are being hotly discussed and debated. This is a must read for all those military leaders attempting to develop organizations that can meet the challenges posed by a new and different security environment.' General Anthony C. Zinni, United States Marine Corps (Ret.)

    'The old Druckerism that 'culture eats strategy for breakfast' is aptly demonstrated in this erudite yet accessible book. Murray and Mansoor reveal how military culture eats strategy, operational logic and sound tactics in every war. Students of military history will revel in its insights and professors will find it chocked with invaluable lessons for the classroom.' Colonel Frank Hoffman, United States Marine Corps (Ret.)

    'Invaluable perspectives on what may be the most important determinant of victory or defeat in war. Students of warfare and those responsible for military effectiveness will find important insights that not only impart understanding, but also illuminate ways to accentuate positive elements of military culture or compensate for deficiencies.' H.R. McMaster, Stanford University

    'The editors assembled a strong roster of contributors; there are no weak chapters as sometimes occurs in such works. Though the quality is uniformly good, the great strength of the cases is their diversity. There is a temporal balance with the late 19th, early and late 20th centuries represented in roughly equivalent parts.' Col. J.P. Clark, ARMY Magazine

    'This volume makes a useful contribution to begin global historical explorations of military culture.' Thomas Furse, Journal of Contemporary History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108724487
    • length: 482 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 152 x 26 mm
    • weight: 0.68kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus. 3 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction Peter R. Mansoor and Williamson Murray
    Part I. Theoretical Frameworks:
    2. Culture and military organizations Leonard Wong and Stephen J. Gerras
    3. Strategic culture David Kilcullen
    Part II. Land Forces:
    4. Ulysses S. Grant and the culture of the Union Army of Tennessee Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh
    5. 'Playing a very bold game': the organizational culture of the Army of Northern Virginia, 1862–1865 Mark Grimsley
    6. German Army culture, 1871–1945 Jorit Wintjes
    7. The culture of the Indian Army, 1900–1947: an evolving identity Daniel Marston
    8. An army apart: the influence of culture on the Victorian British Army Richard Hart Sinnreich
    9. The culture of the British Army, 1914–1945 Williamson Murray
    10. Imperial Japanese Army culture, 1918–1945: duty heavier than a mountain, death lighter than a feather David Hunter-Chester
    11. Military culture, military efficiency, and the Red Army, 1917–1945 Reina Pennington
    12. An army like no other: the origins of the IDF's military culture Gil-li Vardi
    13. The weight of the shadow of the past: the organizational culture of the Iraqi Army, 1921–2003 Kevin M. Woods
    14. US Army culture, 1973–2017 Peter R. Mansoor
    Part III. Maritime Forces:
    15. The Royal Navy, 1900–1945: learning from disappointment Corbin Williamson
    16. US Navy cultural transformations, 1945–2017: the jury is still out John T. Kuehn
    17. The US Marine Corps, 1973–2017: cultural preservation in every place and clime Allan R. Millett
    Part IV. Air Forces:
    18. The culture of the Royal Air Force, 1918–1945 David Stubbs
    19. US Air Force culture, 1947–2017 Robert Farley
    20. Conclusion Peter R. Mansoor and Williamson Murray.

  • Editors

    Peter R. Mansoor, Ohio State University
    Peter R. Mansoor, Retired Colonel, US Army, is the General Raymond E. Mason, Jr Chair of Military History at The Ohio State University. He assumed this position after a twenty-six year career in the US Army that culminated in his service as the executive officer to General David Petraeus, commanding general of Multi-National Force-Iraq, during the surge of US forces in 2007 and 2008.

    Williamson Murray, Ohio State University
    Williamson Murray is a Professor Emeritus of history at the Ohio State University. His work over the past fifty years focuses primarily on grand strategy, operations, and airpower. He has published numerous highly acclaimed works, including The Change in the European Balance of Power, 1938–1939: The Path to Ruin (1984), Strategy for Defeat: The Luftwaffe (1986), German Military Effectiveness (1992), The Air War in the Persian Gulf (1995) and A War to Be Won: Fighting the Second World War, 1937–1945 (2000).


    Peter R. Mansoor, Williamson Murray, Leonard Wong, Stephen J. Gerras, David Kilcullen, Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh, Mark Grimsley, Jorit Wintjes, Daniel Marston, Richard Hart Sinnreich, David Hunter-Chester, Reina Pennington, Gil-li Vardi, Kevin M. Woods, Corbin Williamson, John T. Kuehn, Allan R. Millett, David Stubbs, Robert Farley

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