Academic journal article Air & Space Power Journal

Ways of War: American Military History from the Colonial Era to the Twenty-First Century

Academic journal article Air & Space Power Journal

Ways of War: American Military History from the Colonial Era to the Twenty-First Century

Article excerpt

Ways of War: American Military History from the Colonial Era to the Twenty-First Century by Matthew S. Muehlbauer and David J. Ulbrich. Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group) (https://www.routledge.com/), 711 Third Avenue, New York, New York 10017, 2014, 537 pages, $72.95 (softcover), ISBN 9780415886772.

Matthew Muehlbauer and David Ulbrich's Ways of War is an ambitious undertaking, attempting to include in a single volume the entirety of the American wartime experience. The authors further seek to analyze and distill tactical, operational, and strategic highlights from over 400 j^ears of conflict. Despite this noble, well-intentioned goal, the result is a shallow analysis that loses itself among the ranks of undergraduate surveys of niche American history.

Early in the work, Muehlbauer and Ulbrich recognize the vast span of their undertaking and tty to find middle ground in the quagmire of sociopolitical relations inherent to the study of conflict and a purely tactical analysis of various engagements throughout history. They attempt to overcome the limitations of a manageable page count by supplementing the text with a website. The online information does an admirable job of adding to the printed material and allows the inclusion of updated analyses of modern conflicts. Regardless of the constraints of transforming such a vast topic into a manageable tome, Muehlbauer and Ulbrich do bring to light the evolution of the American "way of war" throughout our nation's comparatively brief history, from the unique evolution of militia-based defense forces that became the basis for our current National Guard and Reserve to the "chicken and egg" interaction between technological advances and associated tactical and operational evolutions. …

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