Cover: The Regulars: The American Army, 1898–1941, from Harvard University PressCover: The Regulars in PAPERBACK

The Regulars

The American Army, 1898–1941

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Product Details


$34.00 • £27.95 • €30.50

ISBN 9780674024021

Publication Date: 04/30/2007

Academic Trade

528 pages

6-3/8 x 9-1/4 inches

50 halftones

Belknap Press


This is an exceptionally gracefully written, scrupulously researched, professionally objective, endlessly interesting administrative and social history of a crucial 40 years for the U.S. Army.—Alan Gropman, The Washington Sunday Times

Good histories of military organizations frequently involve extensive investigation of military society and military culture. The methodologies applied by social and cultural historians to other groups can be applied effectively to the military—provided that the historian has made the effort to understand the military’s idiosyncrasies. Edward M. Coffman’s The Regulars, an account of the transformation of the US army between the end of the nineteenth century and the outbreak of the Second World War, demonstrates that factors such as social support for the military and the transition from an anti-intellectual culture to one that prized education helped turn a small, poorly organized army into a much larger and more competent force.—Mark Moyar, Historical Journal

The second volume of Coffman’s magisterial social history of the U.S. Army covers the period from the Spanish-American War to Pearl Harbor… [His] clear narrative does full justice to the army’s invaluable school system, the African American units, the transpacific troop transports, and other sometimes ignored themes… Coffman’s now two-volume work in turn must be reckoned the outstanding social history of the U.S. Army.—Roland Green, Booklist

The officers and enlisted men of the U.S. Army were not typical of their countrymen. They moved frequently, often to unlikely places. They lived under comprehensive regulation, where a playground fight or a spouses’ quarrel could shape an entire career. And they accepted an ethic of duty and responsibility in many ways anomalous in a country built on individual freedoms and rights… If WWII saw the emergence of America’s ‘greatest generation,’ its framework was provided by Coffman’s regulars, wonderfully described here.Publishers Weekly

A work of extraordinary scholarship and insight, written with clarity and wit. Edward Coffman’s history of the U.S. Army from the Spanish-American War to the beginning of World War II is the history of an American coming-of-age. Full of splendid character studies, The Regulars is a marvelous story, marvelously told.—Rick Atkinson, author of An Army at Dawn: The War in Africa, 1942–1943

Edward Coffman, in The Regulars, has done a masterful job of portraying the Army as it developed between The Spanish-American War and the Second World War. Easy reading and thoroughly researched, it is a book that I found impossible to set down. I was astonished to realize how little I actually knew about the society I grew up in.—John S. D. Eisenhower, author of The Bitter Woods and General Ike

This is a marvelous book! Coffman has provided a witty, insightful, and thoroughly informative social history of the U.S. Army’s evolution from frontier constabulary to global power. Coffman’s approach is holistic, covering the officer corps and enlisted personnel, wives and children, and civil-military relations. His coverage of the Army’s long service as protector of America’s empire is path-breaking. His extensive research makes this work a model for military and social historians. Coffman is one of the best writers in military history, and he is at the top of his form. A book to be savored and revisited.—Brian Linn, author of Guardians of Empire: The U.S. Army and the Pacific, 1902–1940

Coffman’s The Regulars provides the definitive collective biography of the officers and men of the Regular Army from 1898 to 1941. Coffman has written another classic.—Allan R. Millett, coauthor of A War to Be Won: Fighting the Second World War

A splendid evocation of the soldiers who endured long years of austerity, and of the culture that sustained them as they emerged to create and lead to glory the massed armies of World War II. A marvelous family album of the Regular Army during the years it was evolving into leadership of one of the world’s greatest fighting forces.—Lewis Sorley, author of A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America’s Last Years in Vietnam

Coffman has written a social history of the American Army that is unparalleled. No one else has done, or probably could do, anything like it as a portrayal of Army life from inside.—Russell F. Weigley, author of The American Way of War

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