The United States was forged as a nation in a war, and through its long history, it has repeatedly had to go back to war to protect its independence and the freedoms on which it was founded.
Although war runs counter to the democratic principles of the United States, it is an unavoidable central theme of American history. The United States at War addresses this theme by offering compact surveys of the most important military conflicts in which the United States has been involved--from the Revolutionary War through the Iraq War of 2003. The two-volume set's 177 essays examine these conflicts from a variety of perspectives, ranging from detailed discussions of individual battles to overviews of the broader ramifications of the conflicts.
The basic arrangement of The United States at War is chronological, with individual sections on twelve wars and periods of conflict. Each section on an individual war opens with an overview of the war, followed by essays that examine the war and its battles from a variety of perspectives. For example, the section on the Revolutionary War includes essays on censorship and on the role of women during the war, as well as 19 individual battles, the British surrender, and the peace treaty that concluded the war.
The section on World War II contains about 40 articles. These will include an overview essay and essays examining Allied weaponry, censorship during the war, the Lend-Lease program, the development of the atomic bomb, the expansion of the Navy, aerial warfare, the role of women in the war; and essays on 20 individual battles and campaigns.
All the essays have standardized ready-reference top matter that allows readers to see the most salient facts about each topic at a glance. Every section also contains an extensive bibliography on the conflict, and more general sources on military history are listed in an appendix bibliography.