Emory Upton: Misunderstood Reformer, David J. Fitzpatrick, 344 pp., 15 black and white illustrations, 4 maps, Campaigns and Commanders Series, Oklahoma University Press, July 1017, $35.95 hardcover.
From the publisher: Emory Upton (1839–1881) is widely recognized as one of America’s most influential military thinkers. His works—The Armies of Asia and Europe and The Military Policy of the United States—fueled
the army’s intellectual ferment in the late nineteenth century and
guided Secretary of War Elihu Root’s reforms in the early 1900s. Yet as
David J. Fitzpatrick contends, Upton is also widely misunderstood as an
antidemocratic militaristic zealot whose ideas were “too Prussian” for
America. In this first full biography in nearly half a century,
Fitzpatrick, the leading authority on Upton, radically revises our view
of this important figure in American military thought.
Methodist farm boy from upstate New York, Upton attended the United
States Military Academy at West Point and served in the Civil War. His
use of a mass infantry attack to break the Confederate lines at
Spotsylvania Courthouse in 1864 identified him as a rising figure in the
U.S. Army. Upton’s subsequent work on military organizations in Asia
and Europe, commissioned by Commanding General William T. Sherman,
influenced the army’s turn toward a European, largely German ideal of
soldiering as a profession. Yet it was this same text, along with
Upton’s Military Policy of the United States, that also propelled
the misinterpretations of Upton—first by some contemporaries, and more
recently by noted historians Stephen Ambrose and Russell Weigley. By
showing Upton’s dedication to the ideal of the citizen-soldier and
placing him within the context of contemporary military, political, and
intellectual discourse, Fitzpatrick shows how Upton’s ideas clearly grew
out of an American military-political tradition.
Emory Upton: Misunderstood Reformer
clarifies Upton’s influence on the army by offering a new and necessary
understanding of the military’s intellectual direction at a critical
juncture in American history.