The Late 19th Century U.S. Army, 1865-1898: A Research Guide

The Late 19th Century U.S. Army, 1865-1898: A Research Guide

The Late 19th Century U.S. Army, 1865-1898: A Research Guide

The Late 19th Century U.S. Army, 1865-1898: A Research Guide

Synopsis

"A strong addition to the existing military history reference literature and to its series. . . . Dawson's research guide is more useful than a standard bibliography, and much more thorough for the time period covered than [other] sources. . . . Dawson builds his guide around more than 1,100 bibliographic entries, many of which have brief, descriptive annotations. The citations, arranged topically in eight chapters, are drawn from books, periodicals, and dissertations. A ninth chapter covers pertinent government documents and manuscript collections. Author and subject indexes and four useful appendixes are included. There is a fine introductory essay: the preface lists and briefly describes 50 top secondary sources selected from the larger body of literature. These features truly enhance the bibliographic core of the book and make it a guide useful to general readers, upper-level undergraduates, graduate students, and scholars." Choice

Excerpt

Ask any American of a certain vintage for an impression of the U.S. Army after the Civil War. One is likely to hear described romantic scenes from the West, full of drama and color, tinted by Frederick Remington and John Ford: the flash of tack, sabre and horse pistol, the angles of wide- brimmed hats, the long columns moving at funereal pace through mountain and arroyo, and not least the proud and fearsome enemy, contending with frustrating skill against their opponents' superior numbers and equipment.

If none of this is wholly misconceived, neither is it as rich as the truth of it all, for the affairs of the American Army from the end of the Civil war to the eve of the Spanish-American War were of considerably greater scope and complexity than the simple pictures our myths can convey. Joseph G. Dawson's The Late 19th Century U.S. Army, 1865-1898, the latest of the Greenwood Press Research Guides in Military Studies, is designed to catalogue, survey and appraise the substantial body of contemporaneous and historical literature that, taken together, depicts both the scale and the importance of this stage in the evolution of the U.S. Army.

As Professor Dawson makes clear in his Introduction, the period between the Civil War and the end of the century was a time of hard choices for the American Army and those who led it, for those who composed it, those who lived at its margins, those who were affected by its policies, and for those who fought against it. These choices immediately followed the Civil War when the Army stepped far beyond what its leaders regarded as traditional fighting roles and into the ambiguous realm of politico-military action during the period of Reconstruction. Not only here, but elsewhere and from several different directions, the very identity of the Army and its fundamental role in American society were under a sentence of doubt from a society that could not foresee a time when it would be used again.

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