Portrait of Dr. Eugenia Kiesling

Dr. Eugenia Kiesling




PROF Jennie Kiesling was born in Austin, Texas and grew up in Northern California.   She graduated from Yale University in 1978 with a BA in history (and rowing) and earned a second BA, in ancient history and philosophy (and rowing) from Wadham College, Oxford.   She earned a PhD in modern European military history (and bicycling racing) at Stanford University.  After a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University’s Center for International Affairs, she took up an assistant professorship in modern French and military history at the University of Alabama, where she took up mountaineering, skiing, and sky diving.  In 1995, she moved to West Point to teach military history (and rowing).   During her tenure at West Point, she has been seconded to the US Army War College (as the Harold K. Johnson Chair in 2000-2001), the Australian Defence Forces Academy, the National Military Academy of Afghanistan, and the Kazakh National Military Academy in Astana.  She was a founder of the West Point Humanist Society and spent twenty years failing to stay on horses.  In 2018 she was voted the Dad Vail Regatta Coach of the year and returned to competitive rowing herself, medaling in the World Masters’ Regatta in Sarasota.  She and her husband, Australian mathematician and rhino demographer Peter Law, bond over rock and ice climbing, cycling, concert music, and Russian blue cats.   

Ongoing Research Projects

Teaching War is an ever-expanding study of the variety of ways in which Western societies have socialized their members to make war. 

“The German Victories, 1939-1940,” submitted to The Oxford Handbook of the Second World War.  

Publications & Presentations

Edited and abridged translation of Raoul Castex, Strategic Théories.  Naval Institute Press, 1994
"`If it Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It': French Military Doctrine between the World Wars," War in History 3 (1996): 208-223.
 Arming Against Hitler: France and The Limits of Military Planning.  University Press of Kansas, 1996.
"Educated But Not Trained: Junior Officers in Interwar France," in Elliott V. Converse, ed., Rites of Passage: The Social Origins, Education, and Training of Military and Naval Officers in the Twentieth Century. Chicago: Imprint Press, 1998.
“Resting Uncomfortably on its Laurels: The Army of Interwar France," in Harold R. Winton and David R. Mets, eds. The Challenge of Change: Military Institutions and New Realities, 1918-1941.  University of Nebraska Press, 2000. 
“Debate: Armed but Not Dangerous: Women in the Israeli Military,” War in History 8 (2001).
“On War Without the Fog,” Military Review (2001).
“France,” in Richard D. Hamilton and Holger Herwig, eds. The Origins of World War I. Cambridge University Press, 2003.
“The Oldest ‘New’ Military Historians: Herodotus, William George Forrest, and the Historiography of War,” in Robert Parker and Peter Derow, eds., Herodotos and His World: Essays in Honour of W. G. Forrest. Oxford University Press, 2003. 
“Corporal Punishment in the Greek Phalanx and the Roman Legion: Modern Images and Ancient Realities,” Historical Reflections 32 (2006).
“Illuminating Strange Defeat and Pyrrhic Victory: The Historian Robert A Doughty, Journal of Military History 71(2007)
“Total War, Total Nonsense or The Military Historian’s Fetish,” in Michael S Neiburg, ed., Arms and the man: Military History Essays in Honor of Dennis Showalter (Leiden: Brill, 2011).

Selected Presentations
 "Reform--Why?: Interwar French Military Doctrine," Society for Military History, Washington, DC. 1994
"Do Soldiers Know What They're Doing?  Epistemology and Military Doctrine," Institute for Peace Studies, Cornell University 1996
"Educated, But Not Trained: Junior Officers in Interwar France," USAF Academy Military History Symposium 1996
"Leading the Classical Citizen Soldier," Society for Military History, Chicago, IL. 1998
“The American Way of War.  The Place of Technology,” Military History Institute “Perspectives” Series, United States Army War College, Carlisle, PA, 2001.
“Specious Parallels: Athens, Sparta, and Decline of Empires,” National Defense University, Washington, DC, 2001.
“The United States Army’s Approach to Historical Staff Rides,” Society for Military History, Calgary, Canada, 2001
 “Thucydides for Marines,” United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College, Quantico, 2001.
“Selling Our Souls or Serving the Nation: The Historian and National Security Studies,” Mershon Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, 2001
“Studying the Unspeakable: Researching Operations against Child Soldiers in Sierra Leone,” Society for Military History, Bethesda, MD, 2004
“Why War,” Earlham College, 2005.
“What Were they Thinking? France Before the Great War,” Royal Military College of Canada’s 27th annual Military History Symposium, 2007.
“Violence Against Women in War,” Gender Justice Conference, United States Military Academy, 2011.
“Seeking a Classical Legacy: Ancient Historians and Professional Military Education in the United States.” 81st Anglo American Conference of Historians” Senate House, 5 July 2012.   
“Field Artillery Education, 1919-1941,” Society for Military History, Montgomery Alabama, 2015
“Clausewitz on War,” two presentations for the Historical Office of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, DC, 2015
“Vietnam’s John Wayne: A Contested American Icon,” Society for Military History, Ottawa, 2016 

“Military Historians Teach War,” All Souls College, Oxford, 2017. 

“Why Talk About Total War? Society for Military History, Jacksonville, FL, 2017