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Reviewed by:
  • Warriors and Politicians: US Civil-Military Relations under Stress, and: Who Guards the Guardians and How: Democratic Civil-Military Relations
  • Roy McCullough
Warriors and Politicians: US Civil-Military Relations under Stress. By Charles A. Stevenson . New York: Routledge, 2006. ISBN 0-415-77008-4. Photographs. Illustrations. Notes. Bibliography. Index. Pp. xiii, 252. $35.95.
Who Guards the Guardians and How: Democratic Civil-Military Relations. Edited by Thomas C. Bruneau and Scott D. Tollefson . Austin: University of Texas Press, 2006. ISBN 0-292-71278-2. Tables. Figures. Notes. Bibliography. Index. Pp. xiii, 317. $50.00.

Charles A. Stevenson examines the triangular relationship between the president, Congress, and the military and how it responded in times of severe stress and controversy. He does this in a series of case studies drawn from all periods of U.S. history. The book is divided into three sections: In Part I (Warfighting), Stevenson shows how the patterns of U.S. civil-military relations emerged from the crucible of the American Revolution; how the American Civil War severely damaged these relations; and how the Vietnam War produced a generation of officers distrustful of their civilian masters. In Part II (Rearmament), Stevenson examines the contest between U.S. president John Adams and Congress in 1798, a year when war between France and the United States seemed likely; recounts Roosevelt's struggle against an isolationist Congress in the years prior to U.S. entry into World War II; and describes Truman's successful rearmament initiatives undertaken in response to the "shocks" of the late 1940s and early 1950s, including the "loss" of China, Soviet nuclear tests, and the outbreak of war in the Korean peninsula. In Part III (Transformation), Stevenson examines the ambitious presidency of Theodore Roosevelt and his efforts to expand and modernize the U.S. military; the far-reaching changes imposed on the Pentagon by the managerial revolution of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara; the contentious passage of the revolutionary Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986; and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's push for military transformation and subsequent U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Stevenson's Conclusion is a bit disappointing, in that it is little more than a summary of the preceding chapters followed by an underdeveloped engagement with existing theories of civil-military relations. Given the narrative approach of the rest of the work, this brief theoretical excursion seems somewhat forced. One also suspects that in future editions the author will want to flesh out his treatment of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, these are minor complaints. Given the scope and complexity of his subject, Stevenson has done an admirable job and produced a unique and informative book. [End Page 1326]

Bruneau and Tollefson's book, a collection of essays prepared by individuals associated with the Center for Civil-Military Relations in Monterey, California, examines the management of civil-military relations in "consolidating democracies" (i.e., democratic regimes in the early stages of institutional development). The essays focus on specific institutions and bureaucracies and are informed by the theoretical model of New Institutionalism, an updated version of Max Weber's theory of bureaucracies and political power. The essays include examples drawn from Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe and are intended to show that despite unique regional and historical circumstances, consolidating democracies around the globe face similar civil-military challenges.

The book is divided into three parts: Part I ("Actors and Institutions") includes essays on the development of military professionalism in democracies, a global comparison of the role of legislatures in national defense, and the form and function of ministries of defense. Part II ("Roles and Missions of the Military") includes just two essays. The first essay, by historian Douglas Porch, demonstrates that when it comes to questions of strategy formulation and national defense, the familiar description of politicians determining political objectives and soldiers using force to achieve those objectives is largely theoretical and not supported by the historical evidence. The second essay examines the wide variety of roles and missions expected of today's armed forces and the concomitant challenges for democratic governments as they stand up or restructure their defense establishments. Part III ("Issues in Civilian Control...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-7795
Print ISSN
0899-3718
Pages
pp. 1326-1327
Launched on MUSE
2007-10-23
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived 2010
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