America's First Battles, 1776-1965
Charles E. Heller and William A. Stofft, eds
This volume, a collection of eleven original essays by many of the foremost U.S. military historians, focuses on the transition of the Army from parade ground to battleground in each of nine wars the United States has fought. Through careful analysis of organization, training, and tactical doctrine, each essay seeks to explain the strengths and weaknesses evidenced by the outcome of the first significant engagement or campaign of the war. The concluding essay sets out to synthesize the findings and to discover whether or not American first battles manifest a characteristic "rhythm."
America's First Battles provides a novel and intellectually challenging view of how America has prepared for war and how operations and tactics have changed over time. The thrust of the book—the emphasis on operational history—is at the forefront of scholarly activity in military history.
“An important contribution both to the literature of war and to the analysis and making of defense policy.”
—Washington Post Book World
“Fine military history, good reading and challenging intellectual stimulation.”
—ArmySee all reviews...
“Presented here is a discussion of ten military battles, each representing one of the first battles or campaigns in the nine wars in which the U.S. Army has fought from 1776 through Vietnam. Each chapter treats a single battle and is written by a historian with acknowledged specialization in that period of military history. These evaluations are stimulating, comparable pictures for students of general history, military history, and political-military relationships.”
“Must reading for the serious student of history, whether military or civilian.”
“Not just soldiers and historians should read it, but all thoughtful Americans, even those with a visceral dislike for anything military.”
“A brilliantly conceived and executed collection of essays written by some of the country’s foremost military historians. America’s First Battles achieves that rare feat of combining genuine reading enjoyment with superb scholarship. While portraying the human drama inherent on the battlefield with the flair of novelists, the authors also masterfully integrate the sustained exploration of the effects that command and control procedures, prewar doctrine, Army readiness, and the war’s political context can have on first battles (which in turn can have such a profound impact that they often shape a war’s entire course). Nothing quite like this book exists in the literature. It automatically goes to the top of the ‘must read’ list for anyone interested in America’s military past—and, perhaps, its future.”
—Peter Maslowski, coauthor of For the Common Defense
“I can rave about this book. In contrast to the typical narrative focused on the leaders, these accounts go into depth on each battle. The authors not only tell the stories fully but also make excellent analyses. I became engrossed as I read.”
—Edward M. Coffman, author of The War to End All Wars: The American Military Experience in World War ISee fewer reviews...