Handgrenade of the Month February 2016
John T. Kuehn
Popular versus Scholarly Military History
Just a short one this month. Popular military history versus scholarly military history, ideally one should try to write both, right? Or wrong?
My position, I believe any historian worth the name needs to try and write in both milieus. But how much? Of course, personal preferences play a role, but the public needs good history now more than ever I should think. Should one try to come up with syntheses a la Rick Atkinson that blend both? What is the primary distinguisher between them? Is it simply that popular military history has less argument and focuses more on narrative and human interest? I am interested in various schools of thought.
Caveat, I thought about labeling the opposing component of the dichotomy “academic” military history, but I think what I was going for was not so much academics writing military history, but any seriously researched military history that is trying to bring something new to the table, so I labeled it scholarly instead.
Mardi Gras Approaches! Laissez le bon temps roulez!
Jean (John) Kuehn
Platte City, MO (which was part of Louisiana at one time)