The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power

By Norton, Richard | Naval War College Review, Summer 2003 | Go to article overview

The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power


Norton, Richard, Naval War College Review


Boot, Max. The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power. New York: Basic Books, 2002. 428pp. $30

If the story of the military history of the United States could somehow be presented in a single museum, the most grand and widely visited halls would be those dedicated to the American Revolution, the Civil War, and World War II. Less visited, but still of interest, would be much smaller exhibits devoted to World War I, Korea, Vietnam, and DESERT STORM. Conflicts such as the War of 1812 and the war with Mexico might rate a single dusty showcase in some obscure corner. Tucked out of sight, rarely seen, and all but forgotten would be cabinets, crates, and cartons packed with the jumbled stories of bush wars, expeditions, occupations, pacifications, and reprisals-the often sanguinary and surprising "small wars" of the U.S. military experience.

Reporter and Wall Street Journal editor Max Boot provides us with a long-overdue survey of the all too often slighted and neglected realm of these lesser conflicts. His work is of necessity an overview, but it is eminently readable and entertaining. Along the way, Boot reminds us that the conduct of these small conflicts is as much an "American way of war" as that which mobilizes and employs mass citizen-armies in protracted combat. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Boot suggests that many of the lessons learned from these small wars may be applied to the security dilemmas of today.

This work deserves praise on several levels. To begin with, Boot has rescued the history of these conflicts from a regrettable level of obscurity (as far as the general reading public is concerned). As the merits and limitations of the United States taking on the role of an imperial police force are increasingly debated, it is useful to recall that this is not the first time America has attempted to do so. The author has the courage to suggest that under certain conditions, imperial police forces may provide a much higher quality of life for indigenous people than would otherwise be possible. Boot notes that Haiti's greatest period of prosperity arguably occurred during its long occupation by the U.S. Marine Corps. He also points out that the Dominican Republic actually benefited when forcibly placed on a fiscal diet by the United States. Although the U.S. Marines were ensuring that nearly half the Dominican Republic's revenues went to repay foreign creditors, their honesty in disbursing the remainder was so notable that the country received more funds than it had under its own rulers. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.