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The American Way of War: A History of United States Military Strategy and Policy Paperback – January 22, 1960

ISBN-13: 978-0253280299 ISBN-10: 025328029X Edition: Indiana University Press paperback ed

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press; Indiana University Press paperback ed edition (January 22, 1960)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 025328029X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253280299
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

This is a great book not just for military history buffs but for anyone who enjoys history in general.
bixodoido
The book was well written, easy to follow, and actually provided a thorough and interesting insight into the details surrounding the Civil War.
amazon shopper
Its focus is really the uneven interface between military strategy and national policy, the unending difficulties of getting it right.
D.S.Thurlow

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Toby Joyce on March 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent work on the development of American military strategy over the years. It will serve both as a standard work of reference, and an excellent read in its own right.
The book is at its best on the early Republic and the era from the Civil War to WWI. Later chapters are slightly weaker, possibly becase there is a plethora of books on the run-up to WWII, the conflict itself and its aftermath.
What is fascinating is watching the evolution of a nation deeply suspicious of a standing army (something inherited both from the British tradition, and from the experience of the Revolution), and looking for quick and easy solutions ro defend its seaborne commerce. In fact, Thomas Jefferson bleieved in strong coastal defences, and small ships equipped to defend ports. This was a disastrous strategy which misfired in the War of 1812. The British showed that command of the sea was command of the coast -such an invader could pick his spot for a landing, and proceed.
The North itself used this strategy in the Civil War.
For many years, Indian fighting was the main occupation of the army, usually supplemented by local volunteers. However, the foundation of West Point led to a significant improvement in that a cadre of trained officers were now available. In the Civil War, most of the high command (and one of the Presidents) were West-Point trained, and performed well (with exceptions) as tacticians and strategists compared with European contemporaries.
In Weigley's view (and I disagree with him slightly) Grant and Sherman emerge as the two best military strategists of the Civil War period.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By B. J Wilson on December 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
There is nothing more boring than a badly written book of military history, especially when it is required reading. I have plowed through several in command & staff college, and this one is a delight. It is easy to read without being simple. I actually enjoyed the reading. After chapters of Clausewitz and Jomini and more battle diagrams than is humane, I got to this book. What a relief! Heck, I would read this book just for fun!
I have never enjoyed reading an academic war history, before. I will probably give copies of this book to selected friends. It is on my "top ten of the genre" list. Americana at its best.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By bixodoido on December 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is essentially an exploration of the way America has conducted war, from the Revolutionary War to Vietnam. Weigley attempts to show the development of American military thought, from hit-and-run tactics of the Revolution to global policing and the containment of communism in the mid twentieth-century. Throughout it all Weigley focuses on key figures--Washington, Grant, a couple of Marshalls and a couple of Mahans, among others--who played important roles in the way the military thought and acted.
Overall, this is a very fascinating study. Weigley's knowledge of the subject is commendable. It is a bit unfortunate that about 2/3 of the book is devoted to the twentieth-century, and that there is only a very sparse chapter on the Indian Wars, but it is understandable considering the tremendous expansion of the military in the 1900s. Sometimes Weigley's writing style is a bit difficult to follow--I found myself rereading sentences quite often--but overall the book is well enough written. This is a great book not just for military history buffs but for anyone who enjoys history in general.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
I am only a third of the way through this book (just finished the Civil War) and I can already say, unequivocably, that this is an absolutely amazing book. Unlike many military history books which tend to get hung up on tedious descriptions of individual battles (and, thus, lose the forest through the trees and never make a point), this book is an absolute treasure of insights about military strategy as it has evolved from the 1700s through present day. Weigley's writing is incredible, and it seems that every paragraph makes a startling insightful comment.
This book is a pleasure to read and I really recommend it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "mr_arch_stanton" on June 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
If you were assigned this text as part of a college course, you are in luck - it might be the best thing you read all semester. Weigley has a sharp prose style, and he delves into areas of American military history that others either ignore or neglect. I found his take on the war of annihilation against the American Indians especially important, mostly because it is free of political sentimentality and simultaneously captures the human tragedy of the event. His account of the airwar against Germany and Japan is riveting and revealing. Weigley has a gift for making statistics come alive. A great and grand narrative.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 5, 1998
Format: Paperback
From Russell Weigley, one of America's most distinguished military historians, The American Way of War illustrates how the nation's political, economic, and social development shaped the military and its methods. Originally published in 1973, the work does not, of course, contain analysis of military policy from Vietnam to the present. Despite this, Weigley's work stands up well and is essential reading for those interested in military history or public policy. His conclusions are solid and writing clear and engaging. Of particular value are chapters covering strategy and policy of the War for Independence, Civil War, and World War II.
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