This book is a journey through twelve epic battles of American history. And because battles determine wars, and wars determine history, it is a journey worth taking. Through these twelve battles, you will gain insights into some of the most important leaders, ideas, and conflicts that have defined this country. Some battles, like Lexington and Pearl Harbor, represent beginnings of great American struggles. Others, like Yorktown, Shiloh, Gettysburg, Midway, D-Day, and Desert Storm represent critical turning points, or culminations of, America’s wars. While the rest, Bunker Hill, Little Bighorn, the Alamo, and Antietam stand out as famous landmarks along our journey towards a common cultural heritage. These twelve battles are famous for a reason: They are part of our shared history. They bind us as a nation.
This book will appeal to many. Students will appreciate the easy-to-understand format, especially compared with modern American history textbooks. Parents and teachers will find it a great companion resource to support learning. Historians, if they can temporarily suspend their hunger for excruciating detail, will be impressed by the brevity. Members of the military will profit from these pages as they find a guidebook into the underlying patterns and structure of warfare amidst a trove of timeless lessons.
The value comes not just from content, but also from a standardize format. The deliberate brevity renders these battles readable and comprehensible, while the format conveys the essence of the struggles. This unique combination captures a truism of war, that all battles operate within a strategic context, in which leaders develop an operational framework to create a desired end state. This framework is then altered by events and decisions that require adjustment to deliver victory.
In the end, the river of history adjusts course, leaving timeless lessons deposited on the riverbank. It is in these lessons where the continuities and causal relationships are found. This format captures them, allowing the patterns of warfare and history to better emerge from the pages. And in a special nod to the military, the discussion questions will prove invaluable for facilitating thought-provoking group conversations and classes to assist in understanding the continuities, causations, and correlations in warfare.
War is an inexorable part of the human condition ‒ with us since mankind first formed into tribes. It flows through the ages ‒ from empires, through kingdoms, and into the age of the nation-state. It will be with us forever. As such, it must be understood. And by understanding battles, we can better understand war. Battles are the decisive points ‒ the turning points ‒ that define victory or defeat. American ideas have, and will be, won and lost on the fields of battle.