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The Oxford Companion to American Military History [Hardcover]

by John Whiteclay Chambers
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 13, 2000 0195071980 978-0195071986 1st
With more than 1,100 entries written by some 500 distinguished contributors, The Oxford Companion to American Military History is "the most comprehensive treatment of American military history ever compiled" (Parameters: U.S. Army War College Quarterly) and an "easy-to-browse, well-organized work" (The Washington Post).

Here is a gold mine of information on American military history, exploring battles and soldiers, ships and weapons, services and doctrines--as well as the social and cultural impact of the U.S. military at home and around the world.
The Oxford Companion to American Military History boasts over 1,100 entries written by some 500 distinguished contributors. Readers will find Stephen E. Ambrose writing on the D-Day landing, James M. McPherson on the battle of Antietam, John Keegan on the changing experience of combat, Jean Bethke Elshtain on Jane Addams, Mark A. Noll on religion and war, and Robert M. Utley on Sitting Bull. Ranging from brief factual pieces to extensive essays, the entries examine every major war from the Revolution to the Persian Gulf; important battles from Bunker Hill, to the Alamo, Gettysburg, Little Bighorn, Normandy, and Khe Sanh; and military leaders from Washington to Grant, Lee, Eisenhower, MacArthur, Westmoreland, and Schwarzkopf. Moreover, the Companion goes well beyond the usual "drum and trumpet" coverage to examine a wide range of subjects you might not expect to find. There are entries on relevant acts of Congress and on diplomatic policies such as the Monroe Doctrine and the Marshall Plan; on peace and antiwar movements; on war in film, literature, music, and photography; and on war viewed through the disciplinary lenses of anthropology, economics, gender studies, and psychology. The result is the widest ranging account compiled in one volume of war, peace, and the U.S. military.
With over a thousand authoritative and vividly written entries, maps of several major wars, extensive cross-referencing, lists of further readings, and an index, this volume is the first place to turn for information on our nation's military history.

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Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

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

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 916 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; 1st edition (April 13, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195071980
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195071986
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.8 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #796,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great reference book. April 4, 2000
I originally received this book by accident as an unwanted "feature selection" of a book club. However, I was so impressed with it that I decided to keep it. It contains mammoth entries on America's major wars, many small ones covering lesser known interventions by U.S. forces throughout the world (such as the expedition to Russia in 1918 to fight the Bolsheviks), and biographical sketches of important American and foreign military leaders. Most importantly, this book is fairly neutral and objective when discussing any controversies. Its an excellent overview, and anyone interested in American military history will enjoy it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting reference for military history buff. October 31, 2000
This book is NOT a chronological book of American military history, but rather an encyclopedic reference with thousands of entries. No pictures- ... It covers topics including: all the major wars, battles, bios on military leaders, warfare methods, a survey of combat weapons and military hardware, political acts by Congress and treaties, overviews of the military structure and services. It features contributions by notaries like Stephen E. Ambrose and John Keegan... its coverage priorities are odd. The political-correctness bent comes out every now and then in this book...
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Prize-Winning Reference Book March 10, 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Oxford Companion to American Military History has been awarded the Distinguished Reference Book Award by the Society for Military History in 2001. It has been the subject of several long and highly favorable reviews including those by Russell Weigley in the January 2001 issue of the "Journal of Military History," by Hew Strachan in the February 16, 2001 issue of "TLS, the London Times Literary Supplement," and by Vince Rinehart in April 9, 2000 issue of "The Washington Post's Book World."
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Browser's Bonanza March 30, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Yet another of the superb Oxford Companion series...they just keep on coming! This fine book addresses not just famous battles and generals, but broader topics such as anti-war movements, treaties and the like. A must have for military buffs.
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