The Soldier and the State - Book Review

Published May 21, 2021 27 Views

The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations by Samuel P. Huntington

If the subtitle of this book didn’t give it away The Soldier and the State's primary focus is on the relationship between a government, its people, and the military that provides its security. The book, however, goes into more than just how they related to one another, but in how they shape each other in their functions; for better or worse. I would say that this represents one of those foundational works to which all future arguments on civil-military relations reference to some effect. It is well researched and beautifully written, and studying its chapters will strengthen your ability to comprehend topics on civil-military affairs.

Huntington, by necessity, begins by discussing how the military is a profession, similar to other professions, with its own unique characteristics. He discusses the profession's rise within Europe as the armies and navies of their countries slowly found the value of dedicated professionals trained in the art of warfare whose primary concern was for the security of the state. They were abandoning the past emphasis on officership being the sole domain of the aristocracy, which itself saw service as a way for personal honor and prestige. The new system was based on the education and training of those of all classes of society whose concern was for their state.

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Battleground: The American Soldier in Combat

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