JMH Review of Soldiers and Civilization

SMHThe October issue of The  Journal of Military History includes a very favorable review by Paul D. Lockhart of my book Soldiers and Civilization. Prof. Lockhart calls me on some shortcomings, but overall the review is very positive. It’s always very gratifying to have such an obviously perceptive, discerning reviewer praise one’s work, an experience I’ve been fortunate to have several times with this book.

There might be copyright issues involved in posting the review entire, so instead I’ll quote here a few lines.

“Colonel Bonadonna visits an almost bewildering variety of topics: the art and practice of war, military technology and operations, the training of officers, the political role of armies, even the contributions of soldiers to literary culture. Fortunately, in Bonadonna’s capable hands. this daunting array of topical threads comes together in a cogent package.”

“Its topical breath makes it equally suitable as a general history of Western warfare, similar to–though grander in scope than–Michael Howard’s venerable War In European History.”

His last words-

“In a field where most books traditionally zoom in on narrow topics, constrained time periods, and individual events, such a broad approach is to be admired and encouraged.”

As I work on getting my next book, “How to Think Like an Armed Forces Officer” ready for publication, I’m going to keep in mind some of Prof. Lockhart’s critical comments, especially those on my writing. The suggestion that I use too many “signposts” is one I plan to take to heart.



Publishing “How to Think”


I learned yesterday that the Naval Institute Press has accepted for publication “How to Think Like an Officer: A Guide for Officers and Others”!  My thanks to the editors and friends who have helped with this project.   I have a month or so to get the manuscript into shape, so I’m still looking for input if anybody has any bright ideas on the subject. You can read earlier posts on this blog as well as articles on The Strategy Bridge and War on the Rocks to get an idea of how my thoughts have been tending.

Briefly, the book breaks down into two main parts on getting  ready to think and thought in action. I spend a lot of time talking about reading in the first part. The second part is in three chapters on the organizer, warfighter, and visionary.  The last chapter deals mostly with life after the uniform: dreams and aspirations, continuing to serve. I think that bit might be my best and favorite, maybe because I’m retired myself, but also since I think the role of officers after we leave the service has been neglected.

Semper Fi, Reed