cover of book

Arming America through the Centuries: War, Business, and Building a National Security State
by Benjamin Franklin Cooling
University of Tennessee Press, 2023
Cloth: 978-1-62190-586-8 | eISBN: 978-1-62190-587-5
Library of Congress Classification HC110.D4
Dewey Decimal Classification 338.4735500973


While many associate the concept commonly referred to as the “military-industrial complex” with President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1961 farewell address, the roots of it existed two hundred years earlier. This concept, as Benjamin Franklin Cooling writes, was “part of historical lore” as a burgeoning American nation discovered the inextricable relationship between arms and the State. In Arming America through the Centuries, Cooling examines the origins and development of the military-industrial complex (MIC) over the course of American history. He argues that the evolution of America’s military-industrial-business-political experience is the basis for a contemporary American Sparta. Cooling explores the influence of industry on security, the increasing prevalence of outsourcing, ever-present economic and political influence, and the evolving nature of modern warfare. He connects the budding military-industrial relations of the colonial era and Industrial Revolution to their formal interdependence during the Cold War down to the present-day resurrection of Great Power competition. Across eight chronological chapters, Cooling weaves together threads of industry, finance, privatization, appropriations, and technology to create a rich historical tapestry of US national defense in one comprehensive volume.

Integrating information from both recent works as well as canonical, older sources, Cooling’s ambitious single-volume synthesis is a uniquely accessible and illuminating survey not only for scholars and policymakers but for students and general readers as well.

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