Enduring Controversies in Military History

Critical Analyses and Context

by Spencer C. Tucker, Editor


Historians—and students of history—continue to consider key events and military decisions of the past because of their relevance in determining our world today.

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Cover image for Enduring Controversies in Military History

September 2017


Pages 946
Volumes 2
Size 7x10
Topics Military History/Conflict and Wars
  World History/Conflict

This provocative examination of major controversies in military history enables readers to learn how scholars approach controversial topics and provides a model for students in the study and discussion of other historical events.

Why did Alexander the Great's empire fall apart so soon after his death? How did France win the Hundred Years War despite England winning its major battles? Was slavery the primary cause of the American Civil War? Would it have benefited the Allies militarily to have gone to war against Germany in 1938 rather than in 1939? Should women be allowed to serve in combat positions in the U.S. military? All of these questions and many other historical controversies are addressed in this thought-provoking reference book.

By exploring every angle of some of the most contentious debates involving military history, this book builds students' critical thinking skills by supplying a complete background of the controversial topic to provide context, and also by providing multiple perspective essays written by top scholars in the field. The perspective essays present arguments for different positions on the controversy. Readers will consider the cases for and against whether Hannibal should have marched on Rome after his momentous victory at Cannae, whether the United States was justified in using the atomic bomb in Japan, whether Adolf Hitler was primarily responsible for the Holocaust, and whether torturing prisoners during the War on Terror is warranted, among many other historical military debates.


  • Provides compelling examinations of major controversies in military history from the time of the ancient world to the modern day
  • Enables readers to see how historians address such topics and understand how their process could be applied to other topics or research areas
  • Offers a bibliography specific to each topic to give students looking to do further research a wealth of options
Author Info

Spencer C. Tucker retired in 2003 after 36 years of university teaching, the last six as holder of the John Biggs Chair in Military History at the Virginia Military Institute. He is currently Senior Fellow in Military History for ABC-CLIO Publishing. He has written or edited 59 books or encyclopedias treating military and naval history, a number of which have won important awards. Among his works is the five-volume set World War II: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection.



"There is no shortage of divisive, thought-provoking military issues to contemplate throughout these two volumes. . . . [S]tudents and general readers will be well-served by this reference set."Booklist

"Nothing quite like this work has been published since the famous 'Problems in American Civilization' and 'Problems in European Civilization' pamphlet series of the 1950s and 1960s, published by D. C. Heath. Libraries supporting undergraduate research should consider it for their circulating collections as well as reference. Summing Up: Highly recommended. High school through upper-level undergraduates; general readers."Choice

"This book is well-argued, provides detailed rationales, and is concise."ARBA

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