A Country Made by War: From the Revolution to Vietnam: The Story of America's Rise to Power

Geoffrey Perret, Author, Robert D. Loomis, Editor Random House (NY) $22.5 (629p) ISBN 978-0-394-55398-6
The militia of the 13 American colonies was scruffy, slack and disease-prone. Today, as the largest military power in history, the U.S. commands thousands of ever-ready nuclear missiles backed by satellite reconnaissance. In tracing America's transformation from David into Goliath, this fast-moving, 640-page military history focuses on how wars were fought and won or lost. Perret ( America in the Twenties ) has a keen eye for human drama and suffering, for the personalities, issues and power struggles of each conflict. He strives for balance: he calls Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor ``daring, skillful, courageous,'' and notes dourly that Abraham Lincoln spent millions on war in open disregard of Congress and the Constitution. He faults Gen. William Westmoreland's strategies in Vietnam for poverty of thought. An overarching theme is that America's military past impinges on our daily lives in a thousand ways, e.g., it was WW I that got American men to wear wristwatches and use safety razors. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
Paperback - 629 pages - 978-0-679-72698-2
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