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2018-2019 Military Classics Seminar Schedule

I’d fallen off on my attendance at the Military Classics Seminar, but if you’re a historian or military history aficionado, you should be attending these. They’ve changed the location of the meetings to the Athena Pallas Greek Restaurant (located at 556 22nd Street, South, Arlington, VA 22202) but the concept remains the same.

Each month, we gather to have a few drinks, enjoy dinner and hear someone give an oral review of a military history book. Some are classics, but some are more modern. Of course, the grandest benefit of attending is meeting your peers. There are military historians from every branch, authors of all kinds, retired military officers and interested amateurs like myself. Some of the greatest benefit to the meetings is the discussion between the attendees throughout the evening. It wanders across all periods of history, including sometimes dealing with personal experiences, and across all kinds of topics.

The dinners cost $35 and there’s a book raffle (I always put in an extra $5 and come away with a book a few times a year). We gather at 5:30pm for a social hour, followed by dinner at 6:30pm and the presentation at 7:30pm. There is some parking in the restaurant’s lot and some along neighboring streets.

Make your reservation no later than the Wednesday prior to the meeting by replying Eric Joyce at this e-mail address militaryclassics@gmail.com or to Bob Goldich by phone at (703) 359-1074. Pay for the meal with check or cash ($35) at the entrance to the meeting room. Those who make a reservation and do not show are still obligated for the cost of the dinner.

September 25, 2018 (one week delay because of Yom Kippur)

Parker, Geoffrey. The Thirty Years War. 1984.

Speaker: Kelly DeVries, Loyola University

October 16, 2018

Kuehn, John T. America’s First General Staff: A Short History of the Rise and Fall of the General Board of the Navy, 1900-1950. 2017.

Speaker: Edward J. Marolda, U.S. Naval Institute

November 20, 2018

Coox, Alvin D. Nomonhan: Japan Against Russia, 1939. 1985.

Speaker: Stuart Goldman, Scholar in Residence, National Council on Eurasian and East European Research

January 15, 2019

Corbett, Julian S. England in the Seven Years War: A Study in Combined Strategy. 1907.

Speaker: Randy Papadopoulos, Secretariat Historian, Department of the Navy

February 19, 2019

Travers, Timothy. The Killing Ground: The British Army, the Western Front, and the Emergence of Modern Warfare, 1900-1918. 1987.

Speaker: Bruce I. Gudmundsson, DPhil, Quantico, Virginia

March 19, 2019

Crane, Conrad C. Cassandra in Oz: Counterinsurgency and Future War. 2016.

Speaker: Shane Story, Director, General Histories Division, U.S. Army Center of Military History

April 16, 2019

Crist, David. The Twilight War: The Secret History of America’s Thirty Year Conflict with Iran. 2012.

Speaker: Mark Reardon, Senior Historian, Histories Directorate, U.S. Army Center of Military History

May 21, 2019

Gross, Gerhard P. The Myth and Reality of German Warfare: Operational Thinking from Moltke the Elder to Heusinger. 2016.

Speaker: Bianka Adams, Historian, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

June 18, 2019

Neiberg, Michael. Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of World War I. 2013.

Speaker: Brian F. Neumann, Historian, Contemporary History Division, U.S. Army Center of Military History

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Military Classics Seminar Series

Last Tuesday, I attended a seminar session that’s part of the Military Classics Seminar series. The MCS is now in it’s 57th year and, shockingly, this is the first I’ve heard of it. They meet on the 2nd Tuesday of every month from September to June at the Fort Myer Officer’s Club for a dinner, a speech about a book (or a pair of books) and discussion. For my first meeting, the topic was David Ulbrich’s book, Preparing for Victory: Thomas Holcomb and the Making of the Modern Marine Corps, 1936–1943, published by the Naval Institute Press, and the speaker was Dr Charles Neimeyer of the Marine Corps University.

It was a fantastic event. The group contains many retired military officers and historians – so, exactly the people who are interested in what I and the readers of this blog are interested in. They are quite friendly to first timers, so don’t hesitate to attend. They do have a website, but the skinny is, send an email about a week in advance to Eric Joyce at this e-mail address militaryclassics@gmail.com and bring your $35 when you arrive on the second floor for cocktails at 5:30pm, dinner, the book talk and discussion. Expect to finish around 9:00pm and bring a few dollars for the open bar and a few for the book raffle (I won a book on Holcomb’s battalion, 2/6, in WWI).

I’ve been looking for a group of like-minded individuals interested in the broad expanse of military history for quite some time. So, I’ve found a home!

This year’s schedule:

October 21, 2014

Gian Gentile, Wrong Turn: America’s Deadly Embrace of Counterinsurgency. New York: The New Press, 2011.

Speaker: David Ucko, Associate Professor at the College of International Security Affairs, National Defense University

November 18, 2014

Dual selection: Max Hastings, Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War. New York: Knopf, 2013; and Barbara Tuchman, The Guns of August (1962).

Speaker: Dr. Thomas Parker, George Washington University

January 20, 2015

Steven L. Rearden, Council of War: A History of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1942–1991. Washington, D.C.: Joint History Office, 2012.

Speaker: Walter S. Poole, OSD Historical Office

February 17, 2015

Rick Atkinson, The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944–1945, vol. 3 of The Liberation Trilogy. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2013.

Speaker: David W. Hogan, Jr., US Army Center of Military History

March 17, 2015

Richard Kohn, Eagle and Sword: The Beginnings of the Military Establishment in America (1975) (Free Press, paper, 1985). [reviewed 1980]

Speaker: Eliot Cohen, Robert E. Osgood Professor of Strategic Studies, The Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University

April 21, 2015

Edward N. Luttwak, The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire: From the First Century A.D. to the Third. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976. [reviewed 1978]

Speaker: Arthur M. Eckstein, Professor of History and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher, University of Maryland, College Park

May 19, 2015

Luigi Albertini, The Origins of the War of 1914. London; New York, Oxford University Press, 1952-57.

Speaker: Tom Julian, Independent Historian

June 16, 2015

Tracy Barrett Kittredge, Naval Lessons of the Great War. Garden City: Doubleday, Page & Co. 1921.

Speaker: Mark Mandeles, President, The J. de Bloch Group




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