A people's history of the U.S. military : ordinary soldiers reflect on their experience of war, from the American Revolution to Afghanistan

by Bellesiles, Michael A.

Format: Print Book 2012
Availability: Available at 2 Libraries 2 of 2 copies
Available (2)
Location Collection Call #
C.C. Mellor Memorial Library Non Fiction 355.009 Bel
Location  C.C. Mellor Memorial Library
Collection  Non Fiction
Call Number  355.009 Bel
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction E181.B535 2012
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  E181.B535 2012
Drawing from three centuries of soldiers' personal accounts with combat, A People's History of the U.S Military is a compelling first person account of the experiences of common soldiers in the U.S military, from the American revolution to the present day. Illustrating the reality of military experience and its aftermath with fascinating excerpts from letters, diaries and memoirs, as well as audio recordings, film and blogs to illustrate attitudes to war through the ages.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Controversial historian Bellesiles' most recent book explores the American army from the Revolution through Iraq and Afghanistan, using excerpts from letters, diaries and memoirs, recordings, and videos and blogs of soldiers in combat. In it he shows that military service can enrich or destroy a life in many ways, but that our soldiers' comradeship under fire and strong sense of nationalism, despite poor supplies, low pay, and contempt for veterans, have kept this country going for 236 years. The material from the Revolutionary War shows that many young men enlisted for the promised food and pay, which were often short or not provided at all. There were major conflicts on both sides as to whether black men should serve in the armies. Many of the same men, a generation older, fought in the War of 1812. The documents show that quite a few soldiers were confused as to why the war was being fought that hasn't changed in 200 years but glad to accept General Andrew Jackson as a popular hero. The Mexican War, with its low casualty rate, was generally a celebration of Manifest Destiny, although certain farseeing individuals, including Lieutenant Ulysses S Grant, altered their career plans as a result of the conflict. The Civil War, with its rapid-firing weapons, more powerful artillery, and frightful casualty rates, was a shock for men and women on both sides. Bellesiles finishes with accounts from the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. This history is compact yet complete, and its narrative is excellent. Its only fault is a somewhat didactic plea for honoring and understanding our veterans. Except for the 20-odd years following WWII, American veterans have been mistrusted, regarded as degenerate and a source of social tension. Their pensions have frequently been reneged upon. Even today, there is a very high suicide rate for veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq.--Murray, Frieda Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In just under 400 pages Central Connecticut State University history professor Bellesiles (1877: America's Years of Living Violently) provides a captivating history, based largely on first-person accounts, of America's military. Drawing on letters, diaries, and memoirs of American soldiers over more than two centuries, he connects the soldiers' accounts with a contextual narrative that ensures the book is more than a disconnected anthology of testimonies of service. Bellesiles's most important contribution is focusing the different chapters on various themes of military service unique to each war. For example, in the first chapter he focuses on the poverty that motivated soldiers to join the American Revolution with Congress's promise of pay, food, and a piece of land; in the chapter on the War of 1812 he emphasizes the nation's lack of preparedness and the ineffectiveness of the undisciplined, occasionally mutinous militia; and in the final chapter on Iraq and Afghanistan he investigates contemporary issues such as gays in the military and women in combat, concluding that the military has often evolved ahead of the rest of society, offering opportunities to minorities and the poor, and functioning as a meritocracy. Bellesiles's thematic structure gives the book a fresh perspective and makes it an excellent educational tool. Agent: Dan Green, Pom Inc. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Soldiers -- United States -- Diaries.
Soldiers -- United States -- Anecdotes.
Soldiers' writings, American.
United States -- History, Military.
United States -- Armed Forces -- Diaries.
United States -- Armed Forces -- Biography -- Anecdotes.
Publisher New York :New Press,2012
Other Titles Ordinary soldiers reflect on their experience of war, from the American Revolution to Afghanistan
Language English
Description 375 pages ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 325-364) and index.
ISBN 9781595586285 (hc. : alk. paper)
1595586288 (hc. : alk. paper)
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