AMERICA'S WARS by Edwin P. Hoyt


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As this absorbing overview from prolific war-chronicler Hoyt makes clear, the putatively peace-loving US has been involved in a remarkable number of armed conflicts from colonial times to the present day. In a narrative account apparently calculated both to infuriate and inform, Hoyt devotes as much attention to little-remembered military adventures as to major belligerencies. In addition to first-rate rundowns on the Revolution, Civil War, Korea, Vietnam, and two World Wars, for example, he reviews Americans' running battles with indigenous Indian tribes, which began with King Philip's War in 17th-century Massachusetts and ended with the Wounded Knee massacre in 1890. Also covered are expeditions to quell North Africa's Barbary pirates, border skirmishes with Canada as as well as Mexico, and armed interventions in Central America's banana republics between WW I and WW II. Hoyt has a flair for including details that link the past with subsequent and current events. In 1928, he recounts, Marines like Merritt Edson and Chesty Puller gained valuable combat experience, fighting the rebel forces of Augusto C. Sandino in Nicaraguan jungles. The author also addresses such larger continuities as manifest destiny, which led to gunboat diplomacy and other activist policies. Nor does he flinch from outspoken commentary. Hoyt applauds the Grenada invasion, thinks that Castro could have been put ""into the American pocket"" during the late 1950's at a great saving in anguish, and decries ""the incompetence of the nonprofessional volunteer army,"" whose inadequacies he attributes largely to ""the overenlistment of minorities. . ."" An engrossing, judgmental briefing, replete with insights and intelligence.

Pub Date: Aug. 2nd, 1987
Publisher: McGraw-Hill