Is There a Career in Military History?


This is the text of an informal talk I gave to a group of grad students in military history in April 1995.

Is there a career in military history?

The short answer is yes.

But: The job market in academia is tough generally, and the job market for military historians is even tougher.

Women's history makes a good basis of comparison, because it's a thematic field that arose at about the same time as academic military history.

Military historians, by and large, have achieved no similar success. In academic circles, there is a strong perception of the field as passť, intellectually sterile, tradition-bound, antiquarian, etc.

I know that many academics do take a jaundiced view of the field because of their political views. Many others are wary. But in my experience, most academics are from Missouri: military history may be relevant, it may have a high order of sophistication, but "you are going to have to show me."

Once you achieve job security, though, you can bask in the full sunshine of a morning whose sky never clouds. Academics may be wary of us, but publishers love us. So do any number of others. As a result, good military historians find no end of opportunities to publish books, give presentations, and so on.

Three pieces of advice:

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