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The Savage Wars Of Peace: Small Wars And The Rise Of American Power Paperback – May 27, 2003
"The Best 'Worst President'" by Mark Hannah and Bob Staake
A noted political commentator and renowned New Yorker illustrator team up to give Barack Obama the victory lap he deserves. Learn more
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Top Customer Reviews
Surprises abound, the biggest being how Author Max Boot demonstrates that for the most part America's interventions happened for idealistic reasons, rather than the usual sterotype that has the U.S. always watching out for big business interests. Also surprising is Boot's account of how effective America was at fighting anti-guerilla wars, at least up until Vietnam, when our misguided tactics may have actually snatched victory from our grasp. Boot covers each intervention seperately, combining politics with actual battle narratives in an excellently readable manner. Colorful figures emerge, like "The Fight Quaker" Marine General Smedley Butler, who for over thirty years was America's foremost (and most successful) guerilla fighter, only to become a staunch pacifist upon retirement.
Though it is a historical narrative, it is obvious that the author is trying to send a message to today's military leaders, especially in the wake of such misguided post-Vietnam policies as the "Powell Doctorine." The message is that America has a duty to continue to fight small wars to make the world a safer place (especially after September 11th), but that it should also not encorage our enemies by cutting and running from such engagements after the first casualties.
Overall, Boot has wrtitten and extremely enjoyable military history book that carries with it a powerful message.
The subject of the first book is USAmerica's 'small wars': the minor conflicts with foreign powers, starting with the war against the Barbary Pirates, and continuing through the our Caribbean adventures in the twenties and thirties. It's well documented and excellently written. My only complaint is that it isn't longer and more detailed.
The second book is only a few chapters long. It covers Viet Nam, and Boot's thesis is that our greatest military mistake there was that we DIDN'T fight it as a small war. Had we done so, he believes we would have won, at a far smaller price than what we paid to lose.
No one can prove might have beens, but I find his argument convincing, and even those who disagree should find it intriguing and thought provoking.
Finally, there's the third book, which is policy prescription. Here I really disagree with Mr. Boot. Boot wants us to go haring around the world, civilizing the 'natives' with M-16s. We tried this in the Phillipines, in Haiti, in the Dominican Republic, and in Nicaragua. Boot recounts all these attempts to "Take up the white man's burden," and by his own account, at least three were utter failures. The only one that sort of succeeded was the Philipines, where we stayed over forty years, and ended with an ex-colony that isn't sure it likes us, tends to lapse into dictatorship, and suffers a revolt every decade or so. For this we spent four thousand lives on our side, and tens of thousands on the Phillipino side. This is success?
Mr. Boot would like us to do this again, in lots of places all over the world, because he thinks the 'natives' will be better off being conquered by us than ruling themselves. Perhaps so, but I'm a USAmerican, and I think MY country would be decidedly worse off if we undertook these imperial adventures.
I also wish to commend Boot on his brilliant analysis of the pivotal (often decisive) role played by the Marines Corps throughout more than 200 years of U.S. military history and, especially, his explanation of the importance of the The Small Wars Manual which the Marines created in the 1930s. This handbook grew out of the their own experiences in the early years of the 20th century as well as Britain's colonial involvements.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent review of the "hidden history" of American foreign affairsPublished 1 month ago by Frank Liska
A different history or as Paul Harvey would say "The rest of the story!"Published 3 months ago by Ron
Great analysis, and a historical overview that highlights the unknown wars. The Small wars don't get the spotlight of the civil or world wars. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Milgram
I never knew how many conflicts that U.S. troops were sent to quell in years past. Maybe not quell, because the politicos are usually responding to the pressure groups, who never... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is one of my son's favorite books (He has a masters in Political Science) and he kept after me until I read it. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Nancy Huff