These five volumes concern one of the most important institutions in human history, the military, and the interactions of that institution with the greater society. Military systems "serve" nations; they may also "reflect" them. Soldiers are "enlisted"; they may also be said to "self-select." Military units have "missions"; they also have "interests." In an older, more traditional military history, while the second reflects a newer approach. Although each statement in the pairs may be said to be true, the former speak from the framework of the military sciences; the latter, from the framework of the social and behavioral sciences.
The military systems of our past differ from one another over time, in political origins, size, missions, and technological and tactical fashions, but to a great extent their historical experiences have been more noticeably similar than they were different. When we ask questions about the recruiting, training, or motivating of military systems, or of those systems' interactions with civilian governments and with the greater society, as do the essays in these five volumes of reading on "The Military and Society" we are struck by the almost timeless patterns of continuity and similarity of experience.
In each of these volumes approximately half of the essays selected deal with the experience in the United States; the other half, with the experiences of other states and times, enabling the reader to engage in comparative analysis.