From Library Journal
This book is big, heavy, and expensive, but as a comprehensive reference of military history it is well worth it. More than 1100 alphabetically arranged entries cover every aspect of American military history--from Bunker Hill in 1775 to the Gulf War in 1991. Using everything from brief entries to extensive essays, this one-volume treasure does much more than list battles and generals; it "explores the changing nature of war and the military." Of course, people, places, battles, and weapons are included, but those expected entries are nicely balanced by entries on logisitics, the laws of war, propaganda, anti-war movements, foreign trade, war plans, politics, literature, art, and movies. Essays on the history of land warfare and the disciplinary views of war are particularly good. Chambers (Major Problems in American Military History) has assembled 500 contributors, including noted historians John Keegan and Stephen Ambrose, to provide expert analysis, insight, and understanding of the American way of war. Although the accompanying maps are too few and too bland to be of much use, this book is otherwise comprehensive and lively. Highly recommended for all public libraries.-Col. William D. Bushnell, USMC (ret.), Brunswick, ME
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Chambers, along with more than 500 distinguished contributors (among them Stephen Ambrose and John Keegan), has compiled "a comprehensive, one-volume guide to the study of war, peace, and the military throughout American history." According to the editor, most references on military history simply recite information on wars, battles, and leaders. This one follows a truly interdisciplinary approach and provides not only the traditional fare of battles but also surveys such disparate topics as politics, economics, culture, gender, institutions, and theories.
Among the more than 1,000 alphabetically arranged entries are accounts of several hundred historical battles and events. Other articles cover concepts, such as National security and Just war theory; the armed services (including such entries as Ethnicity and race in the military and Gay men and lesbians in the military); and histories of weapons and materials. In addition, there are discussions relating to social and economic perspectives, law and ethics, dissent, and popular culture, as well as several hundred biographies. Coverage extends from colonial times to the crisis in Kosovo and Bosnia in 1999. Entries vary from a few hundred words to several thousand words in length. Longer entries, such as Civil War, are frequently broken down into chapters.
A typical entry will have asterisks in the text denoting cross-references. Many entries also have See also references at the end, as well as bibliographies of current books and an occasional periodical. There are no illustrations. Rounding out the volume are a detailed index and several appendixes. The first appendix consists of five line maps depicting the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War II in Europe and the Pacific, and Vietnam. A second appendix contains a table showing casualties in conflicts and major wars and another table showing military ranks.
There is a plethora of references on military history but nothing comparable to the Oxford Companion to American Military History. This volume will be useful for students, scholars, and military enthusiasts and should be considered for academic and public libraries.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved