Journal of Military History
Vol. 85, No. 3
July 2021


“The Battle of Fariskur (29 August 1219) and the Fifth Crusade: Causes, Course, and Consequences,” by Laurence W. Marvin, Journal of Military History 85:3 (July 2021): 597–618
This article provides a brief military background of the origins of the Fifth Crusade, but highlights the events and immediate aftermath of a battle fought 29 August 1219 between the crusaders and Egyptian sultan al-Kamil’s army near modern-day Fariskur, Egypt. Beyond mentioning that a battle took place, historians since the nineteenth century have failed to consider the reasons and implications of why the crusaders sought battle when they did. The battle resulted in a severe tactical defeat for the crusaders, and affected the rest of the crusade.
“Sexual Health in Britain’s West African Colonial Army (1898–1960),” by Timothy J. Stapleton, Journal of Military History 85:3 (July 2021): 619–45
Unlike the British metropolitan military, Britain’s new West African colonial army of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries ignored sexually transmitted diseases, more concerned with tropical disease and establishing medical infrastructure. This changed after the First World War when British officers in West Africa launched aggressive interventions against venereal disease in the ranks, including genital inspections, punishments, and emergency disinfection, none of which had any impact. After the Second World War, with more effective treatments, British officers stopped obsessing over sexually transmitted disease among West African soldiers. Colonial stereotypes around race and gender informed these military health policies.
“Notre Cher Ami: The Enduring Myth and Memory of a Humble Pigeon,” by Frank A. Blazich, Jr., Journal of Military History 85:3 (July 2021): 646–77
The legend of the military homing pigeon Cher Ami has captured the public’s imagination; but the story of this pigeon helping save the lives of the Lost Battalion is rife with inconsistencies and falsehoods. This article delves into archival records to retrace Cher Ami’s life and deconstruct the myth about the bird. There is nothing conclusive linking the pigeon to the actions of the Lost Battalion. Cher Ami did survive severe wounds transporting a message, but exactly where and when are uncertain. The U.S. Army chose to link Cher Ami with the Lost Battalion’s story to promote the contributions of the Signal Corps’ Pigeon Service. The Smithsonian Institution preserved and displayed Cher Ami with benign indifference. The public treated the pigeon as a memorial, a place of remembrance and reflection on the heroism of the Lost Battalion and of the war’s combatants.

Update since publication: The DNA results for Cher Ami have been released by the Smithsonian at
“‘This Degrading Slavery’: MacArthur’s General Headquarters and Prostitution Policy during the Occupation of Japan,” by Brian Walsh, Journal of Military History 85:3 (July 2021): 678–712
During the Allied Occupation of Japan (1945–52) one of the most vexing issues facing Occupation authorities was prostitution, which had historically enjoyed widespread acceptance. Many Allied personnel patronized prostitutes. Venereal disease was common among prostitutes and increasingly among GIs. The Occupation outlawed the old imperial system of licensed prostitution because of its reliance on human trafficking but never outlawed prostitution outright. This apparent contradiction led many writers to condemn the Occupation as hypocritical. Nevertheless, the Occupation’s decisions were consistent with its commitment to individual autonomy and its understanding of the situation in Japan, an understanding which was essentially accurate.
“The Dominican Dictator’s Funds and Guns in Costa Rica’s Wars of 1948,” by Aaron Coy Moulton, Journal of Military History 85:3 (July 2021): 713–33
This article reveals how Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo intervened in Costa Rica’s military conflicts in 1948. Previous works have centered upon Central American actors like Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza and Guatemalan president Juan José Arévalo who sought to influence the direction of Costa Rica’s Civil War or the end-of-year invasion into the country. This work applies an international perspective that recognizes the activities of actors throughout the Caribbean Basin. Recently declassified Cuban, Dominican, and Guatemalan sources demonstrate that Somoza and prominent Costa Rican figures, including ex-president Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia, lobbied Trujillo to support their efforts against an alleged network of communist enemies throughout the region, and expose Somoza’s role as a middleman for armaments and funds for the end-of-year invasion.
“The Early Military History of the Second Indochina War and the Moyar Thesis,” by J. P. Harris, Journal of Military History 85:3 (July 2021): 734–63
The early military history of the Second Indochina War—the fighting before the end of 1963—has been somewhat neglected by Western historians. This article examines it with reference to the thesis put forward by Mark Moyar that, by mid-1962, the South Vietnamese government was implementing a successful counterinsurgency program and that, until President Ngo Dinh Diem’s overthrow and assassination at the beginning of November 1963, was winning its war with the Communists. It is here argued that, for several carefully considered reasons, the fortunes of war had turned sharply in the Communists’ favor months before Diem’s demise.
Research Note:
“A Research Note on Military Medicine in Finland, 1555−1945,” by Jarmo O. Kuronen, Jarmo K. Heikkinen, and Aidan Mark Lewis, Journal of Military History 85:3 (July 2021): 765–70
Book Reviews:
Occupied America: British Military Rule and the Experience of Revolution, by Donald F. Johnson, reviewed by Matt Reardon, 771-73

The Napoleonic Wars: A Global History, by Alexander Mikaberidze, reviewed by Christy Pichichero, 773-75

Charles E. Callwell and the British Way in Warfare, by Daniel Whittingham, reviewed by Ethan S. Rafuse, 775-76

Coalition Strategy and the End of the First World War: The Supreme War Council and War Planning, by Meighen McCrae, reviewed by Ethan S. Rafuse, 777-78

The Fortress: The Siege of Przemysl and The Making of Europe’s Bloodlands, by Alexander Watson, reviewed by Graydon Tunstall, 778-80

Reign of Arrows: The Rise of the Parthian Empire in the Hellenistic Middle East, by Nikolaus Leo Overtoom, reviewed by Jonathan K. Zartman, 780-82

Gladius: The World of the Roman Soldier, by Guy de la Bédoyère, reviewed by Michael J. Taylor, 782-83

The Last Years of the Teutonic Knights: Lithuania, Poland, and the Teutonic Order, by William Urban, reviewed by Matt Sacra, 784-85

La Guerre du roi aux portes de l'Italie 1515–1559, by Julien Guinand, reviewed by Gregory Hanlon, 785-87

Arms and Letters: Military Life Writing in Early Modern Spain, by Faith S. Harden, reviewed by Iana Konstantinova, 787-88

England and Spain in the Early Modern Era: Royal Love, Diplomacy, Trade, and Naval Relations, 1604–25, by Óscar Alfredo Ruiz Fernández, reviewed by Caleb Karges, 789-90

Spies and Scholars: Chinese Secrets and Imperial Russia’s Quest for World Power, by Gregory Afinogenov, reviewed by Ian W. Campbell, 790-92

The British and the Sikhs: Discovery, Warfare, and Friendship, c. 1700–1900, by Gurinder Singh Mann, reviewed by Zayad Bangash, 792-94

The École Royale Militaire: Noble Education, Institutional Innovation, and Royal Charity, 1750–1788, by Haroldo Guízar, reviewed by Jonathan Abel, 794-95

A Global History of Relocation in Counterinsurgency Warfare, edited by Edward J. Erickson, reviewed by Paul J. Springer, 796-97

To Risk It All: General Forbes, the Capture of Fort Duquesne, and the Course of Empire in the Ohio Country, by Michael N. McConnell, reviewed by Guy Chet, 797-99

America’s Use of Terror from Colonial Times to the A-Bomb, by Stephen Huggins, reviewed by Richard D. Newton, 799-801

Noble Volunteers: The British Soldiers Who Fought the American Revolution, by Don N. Hagist, reviewed by Anna Fitzpatrick Layer, 801-2

Redemption from Tyranny: Herman Husband’s American Revolution, by Bruce E. Stewart, reviewed by Steven E. Siry, 803-4

General Peter Muhlenberg: A Virginia Officer of the Continental Line, by Michael Cecere, reviewed by Lynn White, 804-6

The Battles of Connecticut Farms and Springfield, 1780, by Edward G. Lengel, reviewed by Gerald Holland, 806-7

Military Medicine and the Making of Race: Life and Death in the West India Regiments, 1795–1874, by Tim Lockley, reviewed by John Lawrence Tone, 807-9

Courage above All Things: General John Ellis Wool and the U.S. Military, 1812–1863, by Harwood P. Hinton and Jerry Thompson, reviewed by Rod Andrew, Jr., 809-10

Fighting Terror after Napoleon: How Europe Became Secure after 1815, by Beatrice de Graaf, reviewed by Christine Haynes, 811-13

The Brontës and War: Fantasy and Conflict in Charlotte and Branwell Brontë’s Youthful Writings, by Emma Butcher, reviewed by Kenneth E. Hendrickson, 813-14

Texas Brigadier to the Fall of Atlanta: John Bell Hood; and Into Tennessee & Failure: John Bell Hood, by Stephen Davis, reviewed by Donald B. Connelly, 814-17

The Three-Cornered War: The Union, the Confederacy, and Native Peoples in the Fight for the West, by Megan Kate Nelson, reviewed by Alan C. Downs, 817-19

Human Shields: A History of People in the Line of Fire, by Neve Gordon and Nicola Perugini, reviewed by Benjamin M. Schneider, 819-20

Martial Culture, Silver Screen: War Movies and the Construction of American Identity, edited by Matthew Christopher Hulbert and Matthew E. Stanley, reviewed by Michael J. Epper, 820-21

Million-Dollar Barrage: American Field Artillery in the Great War, by Justin G. Prince, reviewed by Peter L. Belmonte, 822-23

The First Code Talkers: Native American Communicators in World War I, by William C. Meadows, reviewed by Ryan W. Booth, 823-25

Surviving the Great War: Australian Prisoners of War on the Western Front, 1916–18, by Aaron Pegram, reviewed by Han Wos, 825-26

Oil and the Great Powers: Britain and Germany, 1914–1945, by Anand Toprani, reviewed by Brian C. Johnson, 826-28

Educating Air Forces: Global Perspectives on Airpower Learning, edited by Randall Wakelam, David Varey, and Emanuele Sica, reviewed by Heather Venable, 828-30

Different Drummers: Military Culture and Its Discontents, edited by Tad Tuleja, reviewed by Travis Neal, 830-31

Warship Builders. An Industrial History of U.S. Naval Shipbuilding, 1922–1945, by Thomas Heinrich, reviewed by Brent D. Ziarnick, 831-33

Narvik: The Struggle of Battle Group Dietl in the Spring of 1940, by Alexander Buchner, reviewed by Stephen T. Satkiewicz, 833-34

The Baghdad Set: Iraq Through the Eyes of British Intelligence, 1941–1945, by Adrian O’Sullivan, reviewed by Rasha Altameemi, 834-36

War in The Far East, Volume II: Japan Runs Wild, 1942–1943, by Peter Harmsen, reviewed by Steven Cornelius, 836-37

Operation Chastise: The RAF’s Most Brilliant Attack of World War II, by Max Hastings, reviewed by Edward M. Young, 838-39

Terror Flyers: The Lynching of American Airmen in Nazi Germany, by Kevin T. Hall, reviewed by David Raub Snyder, 839-41

Nigeria and World War II: Colonialism, Empire, and Global Conflict, by Chima J. Korieh, reviewed by Charles G. Thomas, 841-42

The Art of Occupation: Crime and Governance in American-Controlled Germany, 1944–1949, by Thomas J. Kehoe, reviewed by Robert Hutchinson, 843-44

Breaching the Summit: Leadership Lessons from the U.S. Military’s Best, by Kenneth O. Preston, Michael P. Barrett, Rick D. West, James A. Roy, Denise M. Jelinski-Hall, and Charles E. “Skip” Bowen, reviewed by John M. Hinck, 844-46

Facing the World: Defense Spending and International Trade in the Pacific Northwest since World War II, by Christopher P. Foss, reviewed by Henry Richard Maar III, 846-47

The Interrogation Rooms of the Korean War: The Untold History, by Monica Kim, reviewed by Anthony Kim, 848-49

Korean Showdown: National Policy and Military Strategy in a Limited War, 1951–1952, by Bryan R. Gibby, reviewed by Zachary M. Matusheski. 849-51

Undersea Warriors: The Untold History of the Royal Navy’s Secret Service, by Iain Ballantyne, reviewed by Tyler Morton, 851-52

Military Agility: Ensuring Rapid and Effective Transition from Peace to War, by Meir Finkel, reviewed by Rami Zeedan, 852-54

A Military History of the Cold War, 1962–1991, by Jonathan House, reviewed by Ian Ona Johnson, 854-56

Secession and Separatist Conflicts in Postcolonial Africa, by Charles G. Thomas and Toyin Falola, reviewed by Bafumiki Mocheregwa, 856-57

Paramilitarism: Mass Violence in the Shadow of the State, by U─čur Ümit Üngör, reviewed by Nicholas Sambaluk, 858-59

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Angel Fire: War, Remembrance, and an American Tragedy, by Steven Trout, reviewed by Jonathan Merritt, 859-61

War and Conflict in the Middle East and North Africa, by Ariel I. Ahram, reviewed by Joshua R. Goodman, 861-62

Vicarious Warfare: American Strategy and the Illusion of War on the Cheap, by Thomas Waldman, reviewed by Ralph M. Hitchens, 863-64


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