Armies have a need for books of a wide variety of form, content, and function. Military institutions have relied on books to convey both technical information and abstract ideas to better prepare for and win wars. As soldiers in Western armies became increasingly literate during the last two centuries, training on all levels rested upon the creation of, and access to, the printed word. Further, the development of abstract ideas of strategic thought meant that, in some armies, the rise of professional officer corps and military reading went hand in hand.
Awareness of the history of warfare allows for better understanding of current challenges. Soldiers attempting to use technical manuals in the field simultaneously relate to books as repositories of ideas and as physical objects in a very challenging way; books are among the most physically fragile of all of human material culture, and combat conditions are among the most physically stressful of all human activities.
Featured historical documentation about Military training includes texts ranging from the 1500s to the 1950s that are written in a multitude of languages for a multitude of purposes. Libraries are in a good position to encourage the study of military history, for the book has long been as important to the soldier as his weapons and supplies.
To learn more about K-State history please visit the Richard L. D. and Marjorie J. Morse Department of Special Collections.