united states military academy

united states military academy

The West Point History of Warfare

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In December 2011, the West Point Department of History and the Viola Foundation sought to create not just the best military history textbook ever, but the best textbook ever. Just six months later, the two organizations assembled fifty of the world’s leading military historians and outlined a plan to craft a narrative that would stretch across 2,000 years of human history. By December 2012, seventy-one chapters of text were underway and Rowan Technology was formed to manage the rapidly growing endeavor. Teams of editors, cartographers, designers, and computer programmers from New York to Nebraska assembled the various authors' text into electronic format. The audacious effort produced 500 new geo-referenced maps, never before seen animations of history's most famous battles, and innovative interpretive pieces that engage the reader's visual, auditory, and tactile learning centers. In August 2013, the enhanced ebook went live to 1,100 cadets across West Point. The response has been overwhelmingly positive from both students and faculty alike. In 1847, Dennis Hart Mahan (USMA Class of 1824) published the first official West Point military history textbook. In it, Mahan used historical examples to teach his cadets what the nineteenth century professors referred to as the “art of war,” the human aspect of armed conflict beyond the technical details of attack and defense. Roughly every thirty years since then, the United States Military Academy has updated its text to reflect new interpretive ideas and more recent conflicts. The West Point History of Warfare represents the latest iteration of the Academy’s endeavor and takes the concept of what a textbook can be to exciting new levels.