Dr. Samuel Johnson noted, “The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.” I am keenly aware of that truth and immensely grateful to the hundreds of specialists whose books and articles I have relied upon in such measure. I have not hesitated to add interpretations of my own in areas I know well or where it seemed to me that larger patterns in history were readily apparent and moral and other lessons might be fairly drawn. Even so, writing a work of history such as this is primarily an exercise in synthesis. In a work of this scale and nature, it is simply not possible for a single author to master the primary sources that are the raw ore from which the purer metals of historical truth must be smelted. Instead, my challenge has been to gain sufficient command of the specialty literature in order to provide enough detailed narrative that past events become comprehensible, while also communicating the differing interpretations to which those events maybe subject.
If this were a normal monograph, my heavy intellectual debt would be documented in extensive footnotes. That has not proven possible here, since footnotes and related academic paraphernalia would have added several hundred more pages to an already over long work. However, at the end of longer entries, I have cited direct sources and other recommended books—the latter for various reasons and not by any means always-interpretive agreement on my part. Also, I have added clusters of more general references upon which I have relied in entries of central importance, such as “war” or “international law” or “Spanish America.”
Finally, I have prepared and included a Select Bibliography of works consulted. Neither the end citations nor the bibliographyare intended to provide