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A nation must think before it acts.
In June 2007, at a seminar at the U.S. Military Academy, I spent a pleasant evening speaking with a young Army captain who was completing his Ph.D. in history at Duke University, working on a topic of great interest to me: the Root reforms of the U.S. Army in the early 20th century, which “professionalized” the service by institutionalizing professional military education and creating a general staff. That officer was J. P. Clark, and his research has culminated in this magnificent new book, Preparing for War: The Emergence of the Modern U.S. Army, 1815–1917. In this work, Clark shows us how history ought to be written — not only illuminating the past but providing a useful way to think about the future.