Customer Reviews: America's First Battles, 1776-1965
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars9
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on October 20, 2001
As the title indicates, West Point cadets are required to read this book (or at least they used to be when I was a cadet) to understand the role that first battles have played in American military history. The reason cadets are required to read this book is because the U.S. record during the first battle of most wars has been less than stellar. Citing examples like Task Force Smith in Korea and our first battle in North Africa during WWII, the authors expose flawed strategies, low training, and poor equipment. Many times the military enters a war completely unprepared because the normal cycle of demobilization after a conflict reduces the funding and attention our leaders pay to military preparedness. This is a fantastic book to read if you wish to understand the issues and constraints which military leaders and our country usually have to overcome following our first engagement. Given that our "first battle" in the war on terrorism has already occurred, this book could help leaders think through the issues that will be necessary to change our military readiness, as well as homeland security posture to suppress terrorism to more acceptable levels.
A must have for any military library. As a student of military history, I am rereading the book more than ten years later. First Battles is still as relevant today as it was in 1990.
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on May 29, 2000
Charles E. Heller and William A. Stofft assembled a distinguished team of American military history experts to examine the first major battles fought in each of the nations wars through the Vietnam conflict. This is militay history at its best, dramatic, insightful and informative, not only for an audience in uniform but also for any American interested in how the military functions in our society. The descriptions of battles ranges from well known actions such as Bull Run in the Civil War to the savage jungle fighting at Buna, New Guinea in World War II. I frequently refer to America's First Battles as I prepare my lectures on American military history. We can only hope that the editors will consider a new edition in the future to take the story through the triumph of Desert Storm, and the confusion of the Clinton administration. A military history classic.
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on November 3, 2014
the problem isn't the book. it's me. I am only kinda familiar with World War 2 battles. I am totally ignorant of battles in other wars. I just finished the Idiots Guide Book to World War 2. Maybe that's my problem...I need to stick to the idiot's guides instead of books that assume the reader has a background knowledge of the subject matter.
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on October 19, 2015
After receiving the book, I realized that this book was more of a military analysis of key battles and not actually a historical breakdown. Probably a good book if you like military strategy but the book was not what I was looking for.
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on April 28, 2016
I found the book at a thrift store so my apologies to Amazon (I buy a lot from them though). The book should be required reading for those interested in the "why" of American victory and defeat. Some who want just a history might not care for it it but will be well served by reading because the reasons America wins or loses in the first engagement of a conflict are made crystal clear. It would be particularly useful to politicians and armchair generals who all too often seem not to understand the consequences of their indifference, ignorance or hubris when placing young Americans in harms way only to be "concerned" when things don't go as they imagined them. Or, sometimes they just blame it all on a "terrible, awful video we had nothing to do with." To those of us laying family in the ground THAT particular, shameful moment IS applicable. Coming from an American family that has been fighting our wars since Prince Philip's War I am always deeply concerned about the ignorance of politicians and the public that results in my and their relatives being pointlessly killed. Only the incurably dim do not understand that to have peace we must prepare for war and nothing is made more clear in the reading of this book. Having said this I found the reading enjoyable as well and not at all history readers do not fear it! Sorry if my editorial content seems excessive. I think the book is a great addition to the genre and more likely to be useful than many that just tell the story.
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on February 1, 2013
Ordered for my son in law. He was very happy with it although I do not know if he has finished reading it.
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on July 21, 2014
I bought this for my son-in-law who is a war-history buff and knows a lot about all wars. He said it was a good read!
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on February 21, 2016
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on January 15, 2007
This book has provided a wealth of knowledge and insight into the battles fought by the US prior to 1965. The book arrived as promised by the retailer.
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