The Regulars: The American Army, 1898-1941

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Harvard University Press, 2004 - History - 519 pages
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In 1898 the American Regular Army was a small frontier constabulary engaged in skirmishes with Indians and protesting workers. Forty-three years later, in 1941, it was a large modern army ready to wage global war against the Germans and the Japanese. In this definitive social history of America's standing army, military historian Edward Coffman tells how that critical transformation was accomplished.

Coffman has spent years immersed in the official records, personal papers, memoirs, and biographies of regular army men, including such famous leaders as George Marshall, George Patton, and Douglas MacArthur. He weaves their stories, and those of others he has interviewed, into the story of an army which grew from a small community of posts in China and the Philippines to a highly effective mechanized ground and air force. During these years, the U.S. Army conquered and controlled a colonial empire, military staff lived in exotic locales with their families, and soldiers engaged in combat in Cuba and the Pacific. In the twentieth century, the United States entered into alliances to fight the German army in World War I, and then again to meet the challenge of the Axis Powers in World War II.

Coffman explains how a managerial revolution in the early 1900s provided the organizational framework and educational foundation for change, and how the combination of inspired leadership, technological advances, and a supportive society made it successful. In a stirring account of all aspects of garrison life, including race relations, we meet the men and women who helped reconfigure America's frontier army into a modern global force.


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The regulars: the American Army, 1898-1941

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This sequel to Coffman's earlier study, The Old Army: A Portrait of the American Army in Peacetime, 1784-1898, chronicles the growth of the regular army from a 19th-century frontier constabulary ... Read full review

Review: The Regulars: The American Army, 1898-1941

User Review  - William J. - Goodreads

Somewhat disjointed but interesting stories about military family life from 1898 through 1941. Read full review


The Army Begins a New Era
The Colonial Army
Life and Training in the Philippines
Enlisted Men in the New Army
The Managerial Revolution
The War to End All Wars
The Army in Limbo
Soldiering in the 1920s and 1930s
The Army in Pacific Outposts 19191940
Mobilizing for War
Essay on Sources and Acknowledgments

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Page 1 - The distribution of our little army to distant garrisons where hardly any other inhabitant is to be found is the most eligible arrangement of that perhaps necessary evil that can be contrived. But I never want to see the face of one in our cities and intermixed with the people."18 And rarely for a century except in the Mexican and Civil Wars, were the soldiers intermixed with the people.

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About the author (2004)

Edward M. Coffman is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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