Founded in 2012, the U.S. Military History Group (USMHG) is a not-for-profit organization supporting the U.S. Military History Review, a peer-reviewed e-journal devoted to the military history of the United States. The USMHG also recognizes exceptional scholarship in this field through three annual book awards.


The U.S. Military History Group is pleased to announce The Army of the Potomac in the Overland and Petersburg Campaigns by Steven E. Sodergren as the winner of the inaugural Colonel Richard W. Ulbrich Memorial Book Award for 2017.

Praise from the Selection Committee members:
“Steven Sodergren has written a significant book. In some ways, it’s a little bit of a throwback to the 1970s-80s ‘social history of warfare’ school inaugurated by Keegan’s Face of Battle. Sodergren has done a great job in identifying and extracting a wide range of primary source material to provide the broad picture of morale in Grant’s army leading up to and including Richmond and Petersburg, so much so that it should change the course of
scholarship on the CW during that period. I think Sodergren has done as thorough and objective a job as humanly possible. His research is prodigious, and he writes and organizes it (never easy with this kind of thing) very well.”
-- Edward Lengel, author of First Entrepreneur: How George Washington Built His – and the Nation’s – Prosperity

“Historians have typically regarded the Overland and Petersburg campaigns as separate and distinct events. Dr. Steven E. Sodergren combined the two campaigns in his study and revealed important links between the two. Significantly, Sodergren argued that the Petersburg campaign was a morale builder for the Army of Potomac as its men recovered in the trenches from the traumas of the Overland campaign. Using an array of primary sources, Sodergren convincingly argued that regular supplies, mail from home, the reelection of Abraham Lincoln, and the growing certainty that the Army of Northern Virginia was weakened strengthened the men’s resolve and their morale. By the spring of 1865, the rebuilt and rejuvenated Army of Potomac captured Petersburg and Richmond, and then forced the Army of Northern Virginia to surrender at Appomattox.”
-- Jane Johansson, author of Albert Ellithorpe, the First Indian Home Guards, and the Civil War on the Trans-Mississippi Frontier

"Stephen Sodergren explores something that everyone asks about--what happened to the Army of the Potomac during its decisive campaigns, how did it recover from the carnage of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor and continue forward to victory--more explicitly and comprehensively than anyone else. This is the best study of US Army morale during the Civil War in 20 years, since the wave of combat motivation studies in the 1990s--none of which focused on a specific force in a specific campaign, much less the largest Union army in its most decisive campaigns. With Sodergren the debate over the role of the East vs. that of the West, which the Westerners have carried for a generation, may well be revived. Subtle, incisive, and persuasive."
-- Samuel Watson, author of Peacekeepers and Conquerors: The Army Officer Corps on the American Frontier, 1821-1846


The U.S. Military History Group is pleased to announce With Their Bare Hands: General Pershing, the 79th Division, and the Battle for Montfaucon by Gene Fax as the winner of the 2017 Master Corporal Jan Stanislaw Jakobczak Memorial Book Award.

Praise from the Selection Committee members:
“With their Bare Hands follows the men of the 79th Division from inception, through training and deployment in an epic tale. Instead of delivering another hagiographic account, the author tells the meticulously researched
unvarnished truth about the shortcomings of training, equipment, tactics and leadership in the American
Expeditionary Force that would cause an unpreceded amount of casualties in a brief time. The critical story finds a full balance with eye witness accounts of doughboys who fought on despite the odds ‘with their bare hands.’ This book is one of the most important new books about American warfare in World War I.”
--Jörg Muth, author of Command Culture: Office Education in the U.S. Army and the German Armed Forces, 1901-1940

“Gene Fax’s With Their Bare Hands is a carefully researched and well told story of the US 79th Division in the Battle of Montfaucon in World War I. From a tight focus on a single division during a single battle, Fax takes a wide aperture to discuss the geography, sociology, strategy, and politics of the Great War. His judgments are measured; doling praise when warranted and criticism when earned. His use of original German sources is an appreciated departure from many books in the same genre, and his close look at the everyday soldier experience is among the best in its field.”
--Thomas A. Hughes, author of Admiral Bill Halsey: A Navy Life

“Making sense of the United States contribution to World War I is a challenging task, for the apparent brevity of the conflict belies the monumental effort to create a fighting force from nearly nothing in a matter of months. The majesty of Gene Fax’s With their Bare Hands is that by following a single division through the entirety of its war experience, Fax makes it possible for all to reenter that distant world and make better sense of what the experience must have been like, horrific and formative, for so many young men.”
--Jonathan Reed Winkler, author of Nexus: Strategic Communication and American Security in World War I


The U.S. Military History Group is pleased to announce Elvis’s Army: Cold War GIs and the Atomic Battlefield by Brian McAllister Linn as the winner of the 2017 Captain Richard Lukaszewicz Memorial Book Award.

Praise from the Selection Committee members:
“Using 1950s draftee Elvis Presley as a clever hook, Brian McAllister Linn presents a superb study of the
doctrinal, technological, organizational, and social challenges faced by the US Army during the atomic era. Elvis’s Army: Cold War GIs and the Atomic Battlefield tackles the immense challenges of military innovation when facing a potential revolution in military affairs. Linn analyzes the many serious debates within the Army on how best to adapt to the prospect of nuclear weapons. Linn details the struggle of how to transform military organizations, equipment, and training, but also service culture, education, and attitudes. Often overlooked as simply an interlude
between World War II and Vietnam, Linn’s examination of the Cold War Army presents insights valuable for contemporary services confronting significant technological transformation.”
--John Farquhar, author of A Need to Know: The Role of Air Force Reconnaissance in War Planning, 1945-1953

"A searching, well written and long overdue examination of an overlooked period in the Army's history. Linn brings the soldiers of the early Cold War period to life and illuminates the many challenges of maintaining a large, diverse draftee army in times of nominal peace. This is fine scholarship and fine storytelling."
--John C. McManus, author of The Deadly Skies: American Combat Airman in World War II

"Kudos to Brian Linn for closely examining a period in the US Army's history that has been largely overlooked--the 'Pentomic Era,' from roughly 1954 to the early 1960s. More important is his message. Don't attempt to cut a new doctrine out of whole cloth without insuring that the organization, equipment, and especially the personnel can sustain it. Linn's book is a must read for historians and anyone involved in what we would call today force modernization."
--Peter Kindsvatter, author of American Soldiers: Ground Combat in the World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam