Journal of Military History
Vol. 87, No. 4
October 2023


“A Chivalric Anomaly? Tactical Deception in the Cantar de Mio Cid,” by Idan Sherer, Journal of Military History 87:4 (October 2023): 913–40
The Cantar de Mio Cid is rightly considered to be one of the most noteworthy literary texts of medieval Spain. Despite the vast number of studies published on a myriad of subjects relating to the Cantar, the topic of military deception and ruses, as it appears in the text, has not received enough attention, especially considering its peculiarity when compared to other contemporary chivalric texts. This article attempts to address this issue by comparing the Cantar’s depictions of El Cid’s employment of deception and ruses to vanquish his enemies with similar incidents from twelfth and thirteenth century chansons de geste while considering their potential influence on the production and characteristics of the Cantar. The similarities and discrepancies are addressed through the prism of medieval chivalric literature and the social and cultural influence of a frontier society in medieval Iberia.
“American Prisoners of War in the Captive Atlantic, 1812–1815,” by Peter Hooker and Kit Candlin, Journal of Military History 87:4 (October 2023): 941–63
By 1812, a sophisticated system had emerged in the greater Anglo Atlantic for processing and housing of prisoners of war. This affected American captives of the British in the first decades of the new United States republic. Through the interrogation of three narratives written by captive American mariners, this article explores the connections between the greater Atlantic, the development of British imperial systems, and the development of ideas relating to American identity during the early republic. It underscores the significance of captivity in the Atlantic World and the contested notions of proto-American nationalism and identity that underpinned imprisonment by the British as American prisoners complemented and contested the authority of the British Empire around the Atlantic.
“‘I Hope to Have Justice Done Me or I Can’t Get Along Here’: James Webster Smith and West Point,” by
Rory McGovern, Makonen Campbell, and Louisa Koebrich, Journal of Military History 87:4 (October 2023): 964–1003
James W. Smith’s experience as West Point’s first Black cadet is a microcosm of Reconstruction and the struggle to integrate West Point. It began with the best of intentions, but ultimately failed due to a destructive combination of racist antipathy and the apathy of those who could have intervened on his behalf. His extraordinary persistence and perseverance changed the environment at the Academy, forcing the West Point community to shift from active to passive resistance. Although he did not reap the rewards himself, Smith made graduation possible, if still not probable, for those African American cadets who followed.
“‘An Uninteresting Mass of Correspondence’: Censorship and the Mundane in the British Epistolary History of the First World War,” by Alexander Nordlund, Journal of Military History 87:4 (October 2023): 1004–28
During the First World War, British soldiers and civilians wrote a sizeable number of letters to one another. The military mail censorship system of the British Army remains a major obstacle to understanding the epistolary practices of soldiers. Historians and literary critics claim soldiers concealed the true nature of their wartime experiences from civilians at home, resulting in the emotional isolation of soldiers and a rift in understanding the war between soldiers and civilians. This study argues that the British epistolary history of the conflict ought to be understood for the “mundane” communication it spawned between soldiers and civilians in wartime and asserts that the mundanity found within these letter-writing exchanges was a deliberate choice made by people at war. In essence, soldiers were far more invested in negotiating fragments of their nonmilitary identities through wartime than in sharing the horrors, trauma, and disillusion of their military lives.
“American Ethnic Misfits: The U.S. Army’s Special Organizations and Enemy Alien Servicemen, 1942–1945,” by Guido Rossi, Journal of Military History 87:4 (October 2023): 1029–55
The “U.S. Army’s Special Organizations” were unusual, little-known units within the U.S. military during World War II designed to segregate and monitor potentially disloyal soldiers. The existence and composition of these units pointed at the nationalist and ethno-racial tensions afoot in the United States at the time, reflecting both wartime undemocratic hysteria and social changes, along with long-standing concerns about U.S. national identity. The continued suspicion and large-scale internment of Japanese-American servicemen stood in contrast to the smaller numbers of other servicemen of enemy alien origin similarly interned (German- and Italian-Americans). The internal social dynamics within these units mirrored the fraught relationship among the Axis partners and the socio-cultural issues between the Japanese, German, and Italian national communities.
“British Military Perspectives on the Communist Threat in Sarawak, Borneo, 1962–1966,” by Christopher Tuck, Journal of Military History 87:4 (October 2023): 1056–89
In the early 1960s, as the Federation of Malaysia was being established, Britain joined Southeast Asian allies in an undeclared war in Borneo against Indonesia. This struggle was waged most visibly on the borders of Malaysian Borneo, notably in the state of Sarawak, but the British military was ever mindful of the internal threat from a growing communist network. This aspect of the 1962–1966 “Confrontation” has largely gone unstudied; historiography has focused on the external conflict. While the military was not central to the campaign against internal subversion, its assessment of the problem is central to a real understanding of the campaign as a whole.
Document of Note: “Extract of a Letter to the Editorial Office of the Newspaper Russkoye Slovo,” by Edward Berezin, Journal of Military History 87:4 (October 2023): 1090–93
In March 1915, an electrician sought the help of Russia’s most popular newspaper in an attempt to provide the Russian military with blueprints for his invention: an unmanned aerial reconnaissance and bombing craft. His letter to the staff of the paper recounts the all-too-usual and unfortunate obstacles posed by the bureaucracy of the Russian imperial state.
Book Reviews:
The Trojan War as Military History, by Manousos E. Kambouris, reviewed by Alfred S. Bradford, 1094–95

Sun Tsu in the West: The Anglo-American Art of War, by Peter Lorge, reviewed by Dean Nowowiejski, 1095–97

The Army of Alexander the Great, by Stephen English, reviewed by Frank L. Holt. 1097–99

Rome: Strategy of Empire, by James Lacey, reviewed by Seth Kendall, 1099–1101

Inked: Tattooed Soldiers and the Song Empire’s Penal-Military Complex, by Elad Alyagon, reviewed by Keith N. Knapp, 1101–3

Global Military Transformations: Change and Continuity, 1450–1800, edited by Jeremy Black, reviewed by James B. Wood, 1103–5

Dying for France: Experiencing and Representing the Soldier’s Death, 1500–2000, by Ian Germani, reviewed by Nick Kramer, 1105–7

The Thirty Years War, 1618–1648: The First Global War and the End of Hapsburg Supremacy, by John Pike, reviewed by Arnold Blumberg, 1107–9

Disaster on the Spanish Main: The Tragic British-American Expedition to the West Indies during the War of Jenkins’ Ear, by Craig S. Chapman, reviewed by Stephen Conway, 1109–11

John Bradstreet’s Raid, 1758: A Riverine Operation of the French and Indian War, by Ian Macpherson McCulloch, reviewed by Stephen Kostes, 1111–13

The Lion at Dawn: Forging British Strategy in the Age of the French Revolution, 1783–1797, by Nathaniel Jarrett, reviewed by Evan Wilson, 1113–15

A Great and Rising Nation: Naval Exploration and Global Empire in the Early US Republic, by Michael A. Verney, reviewed by Roger A. Bailey, 1115–17

Heart Like a Fakir: General Sir James Abbott and the Fall of the East India Company, by Chris Mason, reviewed by Christina Welsch, 1117–19

Civil War Supply and Strategy: Feeding Men and Moving Armies, by Earl J. Hess, reviewed by Charles R. Bowery Jr., 1120–21

The Lion and the Fox: Two Rival Spies and the Secret Plot to Build a Confederate Navy, by Alexander Rose, reviewed by Gordon Calhoun, 1122–23

Union General: Samuel Ryan Curtis and Victory in the West, by William L. Shea, reviewed by G. David Schieffler, 1123–25

Civil Wars and Reconstructions in the Americas: The United States, Mexico & Argentina, 1860–1880, by Evan C. Rothera, reviewed by Ethan S. Rafuse, 1125–27

Hongkongers in the British Armed Forces, 1860–1997, by Chi Man Kwong; and Lured by the American Dream: Filipino Servants in the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, 1952–1970, by P. James Paligutan, reviewed by Richard Smith, 1127–30

The Last Emperor of Mexico: The Dramatic Story of the Habsburg Archduke Who Created a Kingdom in the New World, by Edward Shawcross, reviewed by Timothy C. Dowling, 1130–32

Britain Against the Xhosa and Zulu Peoples: Lord Chelmsford’s South African Campaigns, by Stephen Manning, reviewed by Robert H. Clemm, 1133–34

Taking the Field: Soldiers, Nature, and Empire on American Frontiers, by Amy Kohout, reviewed by Jack Werner, 1135–37

The Boxer Rebellion: Bluejackets and Marines in China 1900–1901, by Emily Abdow, reviewed by David Silbey, 1137–38

The Wounded World: W. E. B. Du Bois and the First World War, by Chad L. Williams, reviewed by Amanda M. Nagel, 1138–40

More Precious than Peace: A New History of America in World War I, by Justus D. Doenecke, reviewed by Lon Strauss, 1140–42

Nine Desperate Days: America’s Rainbow Division in the Aisne-Marne Offensive, by Robert Thompson, reviewed by Samuel Watson, 1142–44

Forging the Anglo-American Alliance: The British and American Armies, 1914–1941, by Tyler R. Bamford, reviewed by Sam Edwards, 1144–46

Unraveling the Myth of Sgt. Alvin York: The Other Sixteen, by James P. Gregory Jr., reviewed by Alvin Skinner, 1146–48

Dutch Military Thought, 1919–1939: A Small Neutral State’s Visions of Modern War, by Wim Klinkert, reviewed by Jeremy Black, 1148–49

Spying on the Reich: The Cold War Against Hitler, by R. T. Howard, reviewed by Tyler Morton, 1150–52

Defeat and Division: France at War, 1939–1942, by Douglas Porch, reviewed by Michael S. Neiberg, 1152–54

War, Conquest, and Catastrophe, by Oleg Budnitskii, David Engel, Gennady Estraikh, and Anna Shternshis, reviewed by Lucien Frary, 1154–56

The Dallas Story: The North American Aviation Plant and Industrial Mobilization during World War II, by Terrance Furgerson, reviewed by Bryant Etheridge, 1156–58

Half American: The Epic Story of African Americans Fighting World War II at Home and Abroad, by Matthew F. Delmont, reviewed by Sarah-Jane (Saje) Mathieu, 1158–60

The Tormented Alliance: American Servicemen and the Occupation of China, 1941–1949, by Zach Fredman, reviewed by Chunmei Du, 1160–62

Midway Submerged: American and Japanese Submarine Operations at the Battle of Midway, May–June 1942, by Mark W. Allen, reviewed by Chris K. Hemler, 1162–64

Meat Grinder: The Battles for Rzhev Salient, 1942–43, by Prit Buttar; and To Save an Army: The Stalingrad Airlift, by Robert Forsyth, reviewed by Robert Citino, 1164–67

Bomb Group: The Eighth Air Force’s 381st and the Allied Air Offensive over Europe, by Paul Bingley and Mike Peters, reviewed by Robert H. Clemm, 1168–69

Vanishing Point: The Search for a B-24 Bomber Crew on the World War II Home Front, by Tom Wilber, reviewed by Cole T. Kruger, 1169–71

A Religious History of the American GI in World War II, by G. Kurt Piehler, reviewed by Jonathan H. Ebel, 1171–73

Everyday Denazification in Postwar Germany: The Fragebogen and Political Screening during the Allied Occupation, by Mikkel Dack, reviewed by Brian E. Crim, 1173–75

Blind Obedience and Denial: The Nuremberg Defendants, by Andrew Sangster, reviewed by Fred L. Borch, 1175–77

Soviet Air Power of the Cold War, by Michael Green, reviewed by Nicholas A. Eckenrode, 1177–79

Fighting and Writing: The Rhodesian Army at War and Postwar, by Luise White, reviewed by Jochen S. Arndt, 1179–81

Triumph Regained: The Vietnam War, 1965–1968, by Mark Moyar, reviewed by Martin G. Clemis, 1181–83

SOG Kontum: Top Secret Missions in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, 1968–1969, by Joe Parnar and Robert Dumont, reviewed by Cody J. Billock, 1183–85

An Army Afire: How the US Army Confronted its Racial Crisis in the Vietnam Era, by Beth Bailey, reviewed by Daniel Ward, 1185–87

Built on the Ruins of Empire: British Military Assistance and African Independence, by Blake Whitaker, reviewed by Timothy H. Parsons, 1187–89

Reform and Experimentation After the Cold War, 1989–2001, by Philip L. Shiman, Elliott V. Converse III, and Joseph A. Arena, reviewed by Karl Rubis, 1189–91

Trauma and Truth: Teaching Russian Literature on the Chechen Wars, by Elena Pedigo Clark, reviewed by Jeff Meyers, 1192–93

Confronting Saddam Hussein: George W. Bush and the Invasion of Iraq, by Melvyn P. Leffler; and Iraq Against the World: Saddam, America, and the Post-Cold War Order, by Samuel Helfont, reviewed by Kate Tietzen-Wisdom, 1194–97

The Ledger: Accounting for Failure in Afghanistan, by David Kilcullen and Greg Mills, reviewed by Michael A. Anderson, 1197–99

Jihadi Politics: The Global Jihadi Civil War, 2014–2019, by Tore Hamming, reviewed by Stathis N. Kalyvas, 1199–1201

Our Veterans: Winners, Losers, Friends, and Enemies on the New Terrain of Veterans Affairs, by Suzanne Gordon, reviewed by Jim Craig, 1201–3

How to Fight a War, by Mike Martin, reviewed by Michael C. Davies, 1203–5

Hacker, Influencer, Faker, Spy: Intelligence Agencies in the Digital Age, by Robert Dover; and I, Warbot: The Dawn of Artificially Intelligent Conflict, by Kenneth Payne, reviewed by Jon R. Lindsay, 1205–8

INDEX TO VOLUME 87: 1219–41
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