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U.S. Military History For Dummies Paperback – November 5, 2007
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From the Back Cover
Understand the greatest military victories and the worst defeats
The fun and easy way to trace America's military history
Want to know more about the military's role in U.S. history? This straightforward guide takes you from the French and Indian War to the War in Iraq, explaining not only how the Armed Forces are organized and operate, but also how the military and warfare have shaped the country's society, politics, culture, and future.
Discover how to:
- Why America goes to war
- Who serves in the armed forces and why
- How early wars shaped the U.S.
- America's involvement in the World Wars
- Key moments of great battles
About the Author
John C. McManus, PhD, is an associate professor of U.S. military history at Missouri University of Science and Technology. He teaches courses on the Civil War, World War II, Vietnam, Americans in combat, and the broad sweep of American military history. A prolific lecturer on military history, he has received numerous awards for outstanding teaching.
He has written several books on the American military experience, including The Deadly Brotherhood: The American Combat Soldier in World War II; The Americans at D-Day; and, most recently, Alamo in the Ardennes: The Untold Story of the American Soldiers Who Made the Defense of Bastogne Possible. He is a member of the editorial advisory board at World War II magazine and has served as an historical expert for numerous battlefield tours.
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Chapter 1: Explains why military history is important
Chapter 2: Explains why the United States goes to war
Chapter 3: Explains what politicians, generals, and soldiers do during a war
Chapter 4: Explains what each branch of the military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard) do
Chapter 5: Explains how warfare has changed over U.S. history
Chapter 6: Covers the French and Indian War
Chapter 7: Covers the American Revolution
Chapter 8: Covers the first conflicts with American Indians, rebellions, the Quasi-War, and the Barbary Wars
Chapter 9: Covers the War of 1812
Chapter 10: Covers the Mexican-American War
Chapter 11: Covers the Civil War
Chapter 12: Covers the Indian Wars of latter half of the 19th century
Chapter 13: Covers the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War
Chapter 14: Covers World War I
Chapter 15: Explains the path to World War II up to American Involvement
Chapter 16: Covers World War II from Pearl Harbor on
Chapter 17: Covers the Cold War
Chapter 18: Covers the Korean War
Chapter 19: Covers the Vietnam War
Chapter 20: Covers the 1991 Persian Gulf War
Chapter 21: Covers both the War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War up until 2007
Chapter 22: The author's choice of the ten best American generals
Chapter 23: The author's choice of the ten worst American generals
Chapter 24: The author's choice of the ten best American war films
Now all of that information is great. But the problem comes from the fact that about 250 years of military history is being crammed into one book. Chances are, if you paid attention in high school, you probably already know more about World War II than the information that this book has to offer. For lesser taught subjects, such as the Mexican-American War, the book does provide a decent introduction if you are completely unfamiliar with it.
The book could have been organized better in my opinion. The most curious thing is including a whole chapter on the Cold War. That chapter mostly just covers the political events that occurred. As a book about military history, I wished it would have covered U.S. military events more in-depth. The invasion of Grenada gets only two sentences. The invasion of the Dominican Republic is not mentioned at all. Both of these are two Cold War military events, albeit rather small and little-known.
Also absent from the book are some of the more minor conflicts the U.S. has gotten into over the years such as the series of interventions in Latin America, or the "Banana Wars" as they are sometimes called, of the early 20th century, the invasion of Panama in 1989, or the U.S. involvement in the Yugoslav wars. None of this is even mentioned in passing.
On the flip side, the book does a decent job of covering the major wars, namely ones most everyone has heard of, without getting into the nitty-gritty detail.
I enjoyed this book when I read it, despite some shortcomings. If you want a big picture description of the major wars the United States has been in, without the little details, buy this book. If you are someone who already knows a decent amount of U.S. military history and are looking to expand your knowledge, you might as well pass this up unless you want something to refresh your memory.