Fields of Battle: The Wars for North America

Fields of Battle: The Wars for North America

4.0 2
by John Keegan

View All Available Formats & Editions

At once a grand tour of the battlefields of North America and an unabashedly personal tribute to the military prowess of an essentially unwarlike people, Fields of Battle spans more than two centuries and the expanse of a continent to show how the immense spaces of North America shaped the wars that were fought on its soil. of photos.  See more details below


At once a grand tour of the battlefields of North America and an unabashedly personal tribute to the military prowess of an essentially unwarlike people, Fields of Battle spans more than two centuries and the expanse of a continent to show how the immense spaces of North America shaped the wars that were fought on its soil. of photos.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The author of A History of Warfare examines 400 years of warfare on American soil. (June)
Library Journal
From the world's preeminent military historian (A History of Warfare, LJ 10/15/93) comes a panoramic history of war-making on our own continent. In North America, geography has shaped the course of military history as it has nowhere else in the world. Keegan takes us on a tour of every major fortification and scene of battle on the continent, from the arrival of the Europeans in the 16th century to the final defeat of the Native Americans in the 19th century. He shows how the North American climate and terrain, and the competition for the land's wealth, dictated why men fortified, fought, and campaigned as they did. In this land, the strongest always did the best. Like a modern-day de Tocqueville, Keegan has traveled across the country and into our past with wonder and affection. His work allows us to rediscover our military heritage from a lively new perspective, with the matchless insight for which he is renowned. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/95.]-Michael Coleman, Regional Lib. for Blind & Physically Handicapped, Montgomery, Ala.
Gilbert Taylor
From one of the best military historians comes this unorthodox and impressive work about the decisive wars for North America. Don't expect battles and campaigns or heroes and villains to predominate, or even any single narrative form. Instead, Keegan simultaneously engages various forms--biography, the Americana travelogue, the battlefield guidebook, topographical description--in explaining the problems faced by warfarers on this continent. Distance above all influenced their strategies, and water routes the placement of their forts. Keegan analyzes four wars: the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the Sioux War of 1876. Smoothly changing his writing gears--from, for example, the present appearance of the Plains of Abraham to its aspect in the battle there of 1759--Keegan explains the strategies an attacker had to consider when traversing vast spaces. Often the method was amphibious, achieved mostly by fluke by the British at Quebec, but a failure when they tried to repeat it against the Americans in 1781 at Yorktown. By 1862 the result was no different, as the Confederates threw McClellan back from the same area. Observing together the past and present and the timelessness of geography, Keegan renders the fights over America in constantly surprising fashion--fascinating to any history buff.
Kirkus Reviews
Distinguished British military historian Keegan (A History of Warfare, 1993, etc.) poignantly weaves personal reflections and historical analysis together in an insightful, oddly charming account of the relationship between America's landscapes and the wars that have taken place on our continent.

A self-confessed Americanophile (he begins and ends his account with the words "I love America"), Keegan eloquently writes of his deep feelings of affection for the nation and its people, of his first impressions of the transatlantic allies as a youth in WW II England, of his trips through the America of the 1950s and the very different country of the 1970s, and of his thoughts on certain unique qualities of American thought and character. Keegan offers little in the way of a unified historical theme or argument for his disparate observations on America. Instead, his account of American forts and battlefields seems to have more in common with the excellent English tradition of travel writing, a genre spiced with deep historical learning and insight. Keegan selects a broad range of battlefields, from the sites of the French and Indian Wars through the fortresses of the Revolution and the Civil War, to the battlefields of the Indian Wars of the western plains. In each case Keegan shows how geography—command of key rivers and other waterways and access to natural resources—dictated the course of the war. Keegan ends his American odyssey in Kitty Hawk, N.C., and meditates on the Wright brothers' achievement there, which presaged the aeronautical technology that would dominate war and travel in the 20th century.

Fans of Keegan, aficionados of American military history, and Americanophiles of all kinds will delight in this learned, affectionate, and highly personal look at our peace-loving nation and its warlike history.

From the Publisher
"[A] magisterial narrative history, enriched by an authorial voice."—The Washington Post

Read More

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sold by:
Random House
Sales rank:
File size:
7 MB

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Fields of Battle: The Wars for North America 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book at a booksigning in Chicago where I meet the single greatest military historian alive today. There are some who would call this work unscholarly, non-factual. Those that do make this criticism lack the understanding that history can be fun, comprehensible, readable, as well as informative. The easy, informal style(a big departure for Keegan) must be a shock to those historians who disguise their lack of originality and understanding with a mass of jargon and prose that is dense and leaden. Keegan brings forth a fascinating discussion of the intertwining of strategy and geography in North America. Whether one accepts the thesis or not, one cannot doubt or criticize the informal, yet thoroughly critical and scholarly way he presents it.