John Eric Vining discusses:
With Violent Intent: Monographs on Military History, 1775-1991
As I sense rather than feel the sands of time slipping from the top of my life’s hourglass into the bottom, I wanted to take an opportunity to record my observations and thoughts on certain aspects of military history, which have been developed over a lifetime of study. Due to my formal training as an accountant and business manager, my take on events often come from a different slant than those of classically trained historians. At times my observations of the past either follow or only slightly vary from fairly standard historical research routes. Other times, rather than merely strictly observing and recording the facts and events that occurred in history, I take the facts that have been established and synthesize them into plans to solve some of military history’s most vexing problems. In any case, this different slant on history has fueled my perceived need to get these ideas recorded for posterity before they, like me, are lost into the dust of time.
During the many years (roughly starting in 1966 and continuing to this day) that I have studied American military history, I have read many books about the time frame from roughly 1754 to 1991, the period in which I have chosen to specialize. One of the advantages of studying a defined, significantly long, and clearly bounded period is that one gets to note and place into context varying trends and relationships. These historical aspects are perhaps not recognized by those who choose to specialize in one narrowly defined event occurring over a relatively short period. Thus, the perspective of “time” is a concept which I value highly. One drawback to having a relative long time period of specialization (roughly 250 years) is that it takes a lifetime of study to read enough material to gain a degree of mastery over the massive amount of information needed to develop these perspectives and relationships. Thus, it is now as a person of advanced age that I put to pen to paper to outline some of the perhaps obscure knowledge I have gained.
Creating this set of writings has not been as daunting as it may seem. Over the years, as I tried to structure and understand complex historical concepts, events, and facts, I took the time to write notes or short essays to organize and clarify my thoughts. After a period of organizing these notes, I now put a number of perhaps controversial ideas into the public discourse. The essays (or “monographs”) cover a wide range of American military history topics. These essays discuss certain events that occurred in several of my principal military history interests: The American conquest of the area between the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River (and further into the Great Plains and Far West); the American Civil War; air war and naval history (including “what could have been”); and the massive wars of the Twentieth Century – World War I, World War II, and the Cold War.