This book will provide new history to many readers, in a logical format and adept treatment of the seven minor military conflicts in America's past. The authors are both military men, and Colonel Dupuy, particularly, is known for his competent studies, The Compact History of the Revolutionary War and The Compact History of the United States Army. This compendium of military ""sideshows"" focuses first on two naval confrontations, duels with France and with the Barbary pirates, which provided the American Navy with its initial impetus and post-revolutionary battle training. The treatment of the Barbary Wars (1801-1816), particularly, is both accurate and lively to the point of amusement. The chapters on this century's Chinese Relief Expedition and the Russian interventions are among the best. In each case, the authors provide enough background to round out their battle notes, making this a keen and comprehensive report on the prosecution of these small conflicts. The whole should be quite rewarding for anyone with a taste for history well-conceived and often very well told.