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Cadets on Campus: History of Military Schools of the United States, by John A. Coulter II

College State: Texas A&M University Press, 2017. Pp. xxiv, 440. Illus., tables, diagr., appends., notes, biblio., index. $50.00. ISBN: 1623495210.

American Military Education

A former career Army officer and military school administrator, Dr. Coulter has written the first comprehensive overview of such institutions from the origins of the Republic to the present.

Coulter naturally offers excellent coverage of the federal military academies. But then he looks at the history of various state and private schools, a rather neglected topic, despite the fact that, by his estimate, these seem to have numbered some 842 over the years. Andin fact, this work is most valuable for his discussion of these institutions, which were themsevles shaped in large measure by the example of federal academies.

Coulter covers the origins of military schools in America, the influences on their organization, discipline, and curriculum and, of course, the services of their alumni to American society, most notably in wartime. Among the more interesting revelations, is that such instutions were surprisingly common not only in the South, a region where they have been widely regarded as commonplace, but also existed in the North other regions is impressive numbers.

Coulter does miss a few notable schools, most surprisingly the Frères Peugnet School, a military-themed prep school in New York City, which numbered among its alumni Civil War generals Pierre G. T. Beauregard, Henry Heth, Rufus King, and even Fitzhugh Lee. In addition he only briefly touches on campus military training in otherwise non-military schools, such as Bowdoin or Columbia, and neglects several private and state maritime schools, most of which offered some military training.

Overall, however, Cadets on Campus, a volume in the “Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series”, is a very important contribution to the study of military education in the U.S.


Note: Cadets on Campus is also availabe in several e-editions


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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