Devising a Strategy for Your War Novel

If you’re writing a story that requires military research and analysis, you might want to check out www.WarHistorian.org.

The website is devoted to the discussion and reassessment of those assumptions that have shaped martial strategy throughout history.

Professor Mark Grimsley, who specializes in American History at Ohio State University, created the site in 2003 as a forum for military analysts and historians to brainstorm ideas.

Grimsley says that “we borrow most of our categories, concepts, definitions, and questions from the armed forces. We think the way they think, ask the questions they ask, overlook the questions they overlook.”

In addition to offering reading lists, presentations and conference news, the site includes a weblog called Blog Them Out of the Stone Age, a riff on General Curtis LeMay’s infamous advice to “bomb them into the Stone Age.”

Participants at WarHistorian.org take a skeptical view of traditional but outmoded military wisdom. They are perpetually on the watch guard for that ilk of general who insists on refighting the last war.

Postings have dealt with questions such as: Should the Marines have bypassed Iwo Jima during the Pacific Campaign? Does our current psychological profile of Islamic terrorists places too much emphasis on economic disparities and not enough on individual political motivation?