Carpenter, Stanley D.M.

views updated

Carpenter, Stanley D.M.


Education: University of North Carolina, A.B. (with honors), 1975; attended King's College, London, 1977; University of St. Andrews, M.Litt., 1978; Florida State University, Ph.D., 1998; U.S. Naval War College, diploma, 2000.


Office—American Military University, 111 W. Congress St., Charles Town, WV 25414.


Educator, naval officer, and author of nonfiction. Tallahassee Community College, Tallahassee, FL, adjunct professor; Florida State University, Tallahassee, adjunct professor; Norwich University, Northfields, VT, adjunct professor; Hawaii Pacific University, Honolulu, adjunct professor; Salve Regina University, Newport, RI, adjunct professor; U.S. Naval War College, Newport, professor of strategy and policy and deputy strategy and policy division head; American Military University, Charles Town, WV, professor of history. U.S. Navy, officer, 1979—; present rank, captain; currently Navy emergency preparedness liaison officer to FEMA Region II, New York, NY.


Military Leadership in the British Civil Wars, 1642-1651: ‘The Genius of This Age,’ Frank Cass (New York, NY), 2005.

(Editor) The English Civil War, Ashgate (Burlington, VT), 2007.


Stanley D.M. Carpenter is an internationally recognized expert on the British Civil Wars, and has provided commentary for several programs on the History Channel. He is a professor of history at both the U.S. Naval War College and American Military University, focusing on military history, strategy, and policy. He is also the U.S. Naval War College's official historian and deputy strategy and policy division head. Since 1979 Carpenter has served as an officer in the U.S. Navy.

In his first book, Military Leadership in the British Civil Wars, 1642-1651: ‘The Genius of This Age,’ Carpenter explores the often overlooked influence of effective military leadership in the parliamentary victory over Charles I in the British Civil Wars. He notes that "thousands of words have been penned asserting that parliamentary military victory resulted from factors such as Protestant religious zeal, defence of traditional privileges as guaranteed by the ‘ancient constitution’ against perceived arbitrary royal power, or fear of Catholic restoration. While these arguments convincingly establish individual or collective motivation to rebel and fight, they do not explain fully the ultimate military outcome." Carpenter specifically argues that the consistency, moral authority, aggressiveness, and martial superiority of certain regional commanders—such as John Lambert—decided the outcome of these wars. Expanding on this, Carpenter asserts that these leadership qualities continue to serve as the ideal model of military efficacy.

Edward M. Furgol, writing for the Canadian Journal of History, conceded that "Carpenter largely makes the case he poses: that effective leadership was crucial to victory," but questioned whether the author appreciated the complexities of the period. Furgol further noted that "there are also factual lapses" in Carpenter's account that undercut the credibility of his analysis. Nonetheless, Furgol concluded: "Laying aside these issues, the book adds to the historiography of the period. As a case study of leadership it may draw military historians and uniformed personnel unfamiliar with the wars to study them…. The book should inspire further research in other parts of the Stuart kingdoms on the quality of leaders."

Carpenter followed Military Leadership in the British Civil Wars, 1642-1651 by compiling an anthology, The English Civil War. This collection of scholarly articles explores the broader military, political, religious, and socioeconomic factors contributing to the British and Irish civil unrest from 1639 to 1660. Essays in this anthology also examine the nature of British military structures of that period and focus specifically on a dozen different battles and campaigns.



Canadian Journal of History, March 22, 2006, Edward M. Furgol, review of Military Leadership in the British Civil Wars, 1642-1651: ‘The Genius of This Age,’ p. 123.

English Historical Review, June, 2006, Malcolm Wanklyn, review of Military Leadership in the British Civil Wars, 1642-1651, p. 929.

Reference & Research Book News, May, 2006, review of Military Leadership in the British Civil Wars, 1642-1651.


American Military University Web site, (March 18, 2008), profile of author.

Arizona Memorial Museum Association Web site, (March 19, 2008), profile of author.

Ashgate Publishing Web site, (March 19, 2008), overview of The English Civil War.

Routledge Military, Strategic and Security Studies Web site, (March 19, 2008), overview of Military Leadership in the British Civil Wars, 1642-1651.

About this article

Carpenter, Stanley D.M.

Updated About content Print Article