Skip to main content

U.S. Military History For Dummies

U.S. Military History For Dummies

John C. McManus

ISBN: 978-0-470-64323-5

Jan 2010

384 pages



Want to know more about American military history? U.S. Military History For Dummies presents concise and revealing accounts of all of the nation's armed conflicts from the French and Indian War to Iraq. It explains how the U.S. military is organized and how its branches operate, both independently and together.

This straightforward guide examines the causes for each of America's wars and reveals how these conflicts have shaped the nation's borders, society, politics, culture, and future. You'll meet heroes, cowards, patriots, and traitors; relive great battles; and get a taste of what combat is really like, as you discover:

  • How the French/Indian war sowed the seeds of the Revolutionary War
  • Why America's battle for independence didn't end at Yorktown
  • Early U.S. wars against Indians, tax cheats, and pirates
  • The War of 1812: guaranteeing U.S. sovereignty
  • "Manifest Destiny" wars that stretched America from sea to shining sea
  • Why the American Civil War could not be avoided
  • The Spanish American War and the U.S. as an emerging global power
  • Why World War I failed to "make the world safe for democracy"
  • How World War II changed America's role in the world
  • Korea and Vietnam: hot wars during the Cold War

Featuring important insights on technological, political, and social changes that transformed the way America fights its wars U.S. Military History For Dummies is your key to understanding the evolution of the most powerful military force in history.

Introduction 1

Part I: The Nitty-Gritty of U.S. Military History 7

Chapter 1: Why This Stuff Is Important 9

Chapter 2: Why America Goes to War and Who We Fight 17

Chapter 3: Meeting the Players 29

Chapter 4: Lining Up the Armed Services 41

Chapter 5: The Changing Experience of Warfare 53

Part II: Born in War 65

Chapter 6: When the English Were Our Friends: Battling the Indians and the French 67

Chapter 7: So You Want to Start a Revolution: The War for Independence 79

Chapter 8: War and Peace: Battling Indians, Old Friends, Tax Delinquents, and Pirates 97

Chapter 9: We Have Met the Enemy: The War of 1812 107

Part III: Forged in War 121

Chapter 10: To the Halls of Montezuma: Fighting Mexico 123

Chapter 11: The Civil War 137

Chapter 12: The “Indian Wars”: The Army Secures the Frontier 159

Chapter 13: “Remember the Maine!” Fighting Spain and the Filipinos 171

Part IV Going Global: The World Wars 185

Chapter 14: Over There: The First World War 187

Chapter 15: The Looming Crisis: World War II before American Involvement 205

Chapter 16: The Greatest War: World War II 221

Part V: Bearing Any Burden: The Cold War and the Unpaid Peace Dividend 243

Chapter 17: Toying with Nuclear Armageddon: The Cold War Years 245

Chapter 18: Hot War in Asia: The Korean War 261

Chapter 19: The Very Long War: Vietnam 277

Chapter 20: A War with Allies: The Persian Gulf War 297

Chapter 21: The Long War Ahead: Terrorism, Afghanistan, and Iraq 313

Part VI: The Part of Tens 329

Chapter 22: The Ten Best Generals in U.S. Military History 331

Chapter 23: The Ten Worst Generals in U.S. Military History 337

Chapter 24: The Ten Best Movies on U.S. Military History 343

Index 349