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In North America, geography has shaped the course of military history as it has nowhere else in the world. Guided by this central ...
In North America, geography has shaped the course of military history as it has nowhere else in the world. Guided by this central insight, preeminent military history John Keegan takes readers 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 American population. of photo. 6 maps.
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.
|List of Maps|
|List of Illustrations|
|1||One Englishman's America||3|
|2||The Forts of New France||65|
|3||The Fort at Yorktown||135|
|4||Fortifying the Confederacy||187|
|5||Forts on the Plains||249|
Posted July 25, 2000
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 4, 2008
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