About WarHistorian.org

WarHistorian.org is maintained by me, Mark Grimsley, a professor of history at The Ohio State University.

I've been a military historian for most of my life. My initiation into the field came in 1974 when I wrote a history of the Antietam Campaign. I published my first article--concerning a feud between two Civil War generals--in 1980, just after my 21st birthday. After getting a B.A. from Ohio State, I went on to obtain a master's degree in War Studies at Kings College London. Then I returned to Ohio State, took my PhD in 1992, and joined the faculty as an assistant professor later that year.

The military history program at Ohio State is widely considered among the best in North America. That's mainly why my department considered an "inside hire" like myself; such things are rarely done in academe. Getting one of the best jobs in military history at the outset of my career was a great privilege. It gave me a sense of special responsibility to both the program and the field. I have not borne this burden lightly. Somewhat paradoxically, it has made me a sustained critic of academic military history. When you care about anything you want to see it reach its full potential, and for years I've felt that the field defined itself too narrowly.

I came to believe that the future of academic military history rested on discovering its proper intellectual boundaries, which were, I suspected, far more expansive than the detractors of military history--and some of its practitioners--would have you believe.

The Origins of WarHistorian.org

Back in December 2003, I began an intellectual journey to gain a better sense of the field's potential. I kept a public record of this journey in an online diary--it was not really a blog--entitled Interrogating the Project of Military History. A year later the task of chronicling that journey was transferred to a more orthodox blog called War Historian. By February 2005, War Historian was averaging about 150 visits a day.

Blog Them Out of the Stone Age

On March 6, 2005, the chronicle of the journey moved to Blog Them Out of the Stone Age. Its name--a play on General Curtis LeMay's famous advice to "bomb them into the Stone Age"--may be taken as slightly derisory of the field. But it's meant in fun and, by and large, military historians have understood that. Anyway, the "them" in the title applies, with much greater justice, to those who have a jaundiced view of military history based on unexamined stereotypes. Military history has already come a long way, and those who disparage the field from ignorance are, for all their pretensions, graceless and neanderthal.

The Web Site

Most of the action at WarHistorian.org is on the blog. The web site is principally a repository for material that does not fit the blog format: reading lists, syllabi, and presentations. Most of it has been transferred from a home page I've maintained since 1996, and much remains on the old location, particularly Dialogue in Military History.

About the Site