by Martin King, Mike Collins, & Jason Nulton
Philadelphia: Casemate, 2016. Pp. 288.
Illus., biblio., index. $32.95. ISBN: 1612003990
The "Ivy" Infantry Division at War
Issued in anticipation of the centennial anniversary of the formation of the 4th Infantry Division on Nov. 17, 2017, To War With the 4th offers the reader an informal history the division. The authors, respectively two military historians and a former Air Force officer and defense blogger, cover the principal operational events in the division’s history, from the Great War through the Second World War, War, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
The book authors liberally season their narrative with first hand accounts by individual soldiers, including some from the enemy’s side, which help illustrate how the experience of military service and combat has changed, and in some cases not changed, over the century. The best of the sections is certainly that dealing World War I, which includes some discussion of the inadequacy of the Army’s training and doctrine, a practice which would have strengthened the later sections as well. For example, the section on World War II does not cover the division’s experimental reorganization as a motorized formation, intended to emulate the German panzergrenadier units, and its service in the Louisiana maneuvers.
Although there are some few minor errors of fact or usage (e.g. mines do not “scuttle” ships), and it has an unfortunate lack of maps, the book’s primary shortcoming is an absence of footnoting. Nevertheless, To War with the 4th will be of value for those with an interest in the experience of combat.