The new American nation fought for its survival against a variety of enemies, both foreign and domestic; during a series of wars from 1775 to 1865. The authors examine in considerable detail the various battles and campaigns of the early wars fought by the young republic, in search of common factors that may have led to the nation's survival and triumph. The vast distances, sparse population, and supply problems endemic to all the campaigns in North America are carefully examined. In all its early wars, the United States relied upon a small force of professional soldiers backed up by larger numbers of short-term volunteers: the positive and negative effects of this policy in each war are considered. For each war, the commanders for each side are rated as to performance, and an analysis made of how their individual strengths and weaknesses may have influenced the outcome of the conflict.
At the end of each part of the book, the authors rate the generals' performances (find out why they think Longstreet earned a "B" while Johnston flunked).
A specially commissioned series of maps make clear the various strategic and tactical issues at stake from the American Revolution to the end of the Civil War.