The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988 Page: 118
Southwestern Historical Quarterly
who they were, and their reactions to military life. Coffman superbly traces
the growth of professionalism in the officer's corps after the Civil War.
Though others have examined the contributions of William T. Sherman
and Emory Upton, Coffman delves into the letters of other, less promi-
nent officers to reveal a broader spectrum of opinions and actions.
Many officers, particularly those of Civil War fame, have been the sub-
jects of historical study. If The Old Army had been restricted to this group
it would have been useful, but by including the enlisted soldiers and
military families in his study, Coffman has created a one-of-a-kind book.
While the officer's corps is central to the book, the backbone of any army
lies in its enlisted ranks. Coffman examines their reasons for enlistment
and their social status, just as he does for officers, providing an excellent
comparison of the two groups. The book's treatment of soldiers' pay prob-
lems, drinking and sexual habits, ethnic origins and matrimonial ex-
periences allows the reader to better understand this unstudied group.
Coffman's inclusion of an important but virtually invisible group, the
women and children that lived with the regular army, is a significant con-
tribution. By using the letters, diaries, and published works of the women
who helped open the frontier with the army, Coffman has revealed a fer-
tile field for social historians. Anyone who has spent much time apart
from his family will smile that Ulysses S. Grant's son Fred, during a lengthy
family separation, questioned, "Mamma, is that ugly man my papa?"
(p. 118) This human view of a small group that braved the frontier pro-
vides important insight for both historians and sociologists.
The history of the U.S. Army has been written and rewritten, but Ed-
ward Coffman has taken this study to unfurrowed fields. The Old Army
should occupy a prominent place on any military historian or professional
soldier's bookshelf, beside the best traditional military histories.
United States Military Academy JAMES B. MARTIN
Manifest Design Anxious Aggrandizement in Late Jacksonian America. By
Thomas R. Hietala. (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1985.
Pp. xiv + 284. Preface, notes, notes on sources, index, $27.50.)
After decades of historiographic hegemony, the works of Albert K.
Winberg and Frederick Merk no longer rule manifest-destiny scholar-
ship. In 1981, Reginald Horsman examined the racial underpinnings of
American expansion in Race and Manifest Destiny. Now Thomas R. Hietala,
in a well-researched, well-written study focusing primarily on Democratic
leaders in the 1840s, strips idealistic pretenses from the essence of manifest
Here’s what’s next.
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Citing and Sharing
Reference the current page of this Periodical.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988, periodical, 1987/1988; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101211/m1/144/ocr/: accessed July 30, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.