In This Review

Making War, Thinking History: Munich, Vietnam, and Presidential Uses of Force from Korea to Kosovo
Making War, Thinking History: Munich, Vietnam, and Presidential Uses of Force from Korea to Kosovo
By Jeffrey Record
Naval Institute Press, 2002, 201 pp

This book is a worthy sequel to Ernest May's and Richard Neustadt's work on the uses of history in policymaking. A scholar with experience in government as well as in the academic world, Record is not overly kind to U.S. political leaders from Vietnam to the present. Indeed, one is struck by just how shallow an understanding of the recent past most of them had. But his central point -- that wars must be understood on their own terms, even though a broad knowledge of history is vital to the creation of policy judgments -- is eminently sensible and clearly put.