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Civilian in Peace, Soldier in War

The Army National Guard, 1636–2000

Michael D. Doubler

February 2003
488 pages, 70 photographs, 6 x 9-1/4
Modern War Studies
Paper ISBN 978-0-7006-1249-9, $17.95

book cover imageThey were there at Concord Bridge. They shaped the vast volunteer armies of the Civil War. They have fought in America’s major wars around the world. And they made the first military response on 9/11 after the World Trade Center towers crashed in Manhattan.

The National Guard has had a singular place in American history as citizen-soldiers responding both to homeland crises and to the need for fighting power overseas. Michael Doubler now offers the first comprehensive history of the Guard to appear in over thirty years, tracing its role from the days of colonial militias to the dawn of a new millennium. Spanning more than four centuries, he records the Army National Guard’s outstanding accomplishments in peace and war on behalf of both state and federal authorities. Originally published as I Am the Guard by the Government Printing Office and with only limited public distribution, this sweeping history is now available in a paperback edition that (in a new preface) updates the National Guard story up to the events of 9/11.

Beginning with the first regiments formed in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Doubler chronicles how American militiamen have transformed themselves from a loose collection of local defense forces into a modern efficient reserve force. After action in the Spanish-American War, the militia era ended in 1903 with the creation of the modern National Guard as the federal reserve of the U.S. Army. In covering the last century, Doubler takes readers from Guard service in both world wars to Cold War duties, the Gulf War, and assignments in the Balkans. He tells of its not always friendly relations with the Regular Army, as well as of those times when Regulars and Guardsmen effectively reinforced each other to get the job done.

The militia and National Guard have always concerned themselves with homeland defense, and as the current administration reviews national security, this book provides an opportunity to reconsider the role of the Army National Guard in America’s latest war. With 2003 marking the modern National Guard’s centennial, Civilian in Peace, Soldier in War offers a virtual primer on the military policy of the United States, showing us that citizen-soldiers have played a vital role in struggles against imperialism, fascism, and communism—and assuring us that they will be ready for the war on terrorism as well.

“A solid, balanced, and readable history [that] will be the standard work on the Army National Guard for a generation.”--Journal of Military History

“Provides a broad, comprehensive view of the accomplishments of these citizen-soldiers. An informative, entertaining, and educational account of the Army National Guard’s history. May it inspire all of us to exceed the high standards of our proud heritage and to face with confidence the clear and present dangers that now confront America and the certain challenges that lie ahead in the twenty-first century.”--Lieutenant General Roger C. Schultz, Director, Army National Guard

MICHAEL D. DOUBLER served for twenty-three years as a Regular Army and full-time Army National Guard officer and is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Guard Education Foundation. He is the author of Closing with the Enemy: How GIs Fought the War in Europe, 1944–1945 and is a frequent commentator on The History Channel.


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