I learned from several people over the weekend that Paddy Griffith, the former Sandhurst professor, military historian, and wargamer, had died in June. This is a tremendous loss not only for the military history profession but also the wider community of strategic studies and anyone who cares about the study of war and conflict.
Griffith was not a popular historian like Stephen Ambrose, an agenda-setting one like Martin van Creveld, or a specialist. Though he wrote academic military history he also worked extensively on wargames. Griffith was a tremendously creative and playful historian who was not afraid to poke holes in old verities. His book Battle Tactics of the Civll War, for example, challenged the prevailing interpretation of the Civil War as a preview of World War I. His book Forward Into Battle also took aim at prevailing interpretations of 19th century warfare and the idea that the United States enjoyed tactical success in Vietnam, among other things. Griffith was not a contrarian for contrarianship's sake--he had serious, data-driven arguments that were respectable even if one disagreed with them. And they informed policy as well, as Forward Into Battle was tremendously influential on the writing of the 1993 edition of the Army's FM 100-5 Operations.
Griffith, as he explained in the opening pages of The Viking Way of War, was also an unabashed champion of combat-centric military history. He was interested in the tactics, strategies, and operations---something that has grown rarer in military history of late. He understood that battle was the soul of military history, and was not afraid to polemically argue for its importance. This does not mean that the other aspects---organization, strategic culture, sociological context, etc, are unimportant, but that war revolves around fighting and the way those fights occur is a legitimate and highly important topic of scholarly inquiry.
I'd highly recommend picking up Forward Into Battle, although it's best also read in concert with other books surrounding the historical eras he covers.