Cover image for Warmaking and American democracy : the struggle over military strategy, 1700 to the present
Warmaking and American democracy : the struggle over military strategy, 1700 to the present
Pearlman, Michael D. (Michael David), 1944-
Publication Information:
Lawrence : University Press of Kansas, [1999]

Physical Description:
xi, 441 pages : maps ; 24 cm.
Format :


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UA23 .P384 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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While war is most effectively waged as a united effort, the United States has consistently waged military conflict without firm central direction. Throughout our history, observes Michael Pearlman, the waging of war has been subject to continuous bargaining and compromise among competing governments and military factions. What passes for strategy emerged from this process.

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Choice Review

Pearlman (US Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth) examines American war strategy in its domestic context. This is a pathbreaking work, fresh and provocative, and should force many faculty to rewrite their lectures. Pearlman scrutinizes the major conflicts, continually showing how internal divisions of various sorts--soldiers versus civilians, professionals versus volunteers, executive versus legislature--make the creation of strategy extraordinarily complex and how these divisions can inhibit victory. Sources include doctoral theses, scholarly monographs and articles, and the popular press. After noting some perennial issues in civil-military relations, Pearlman reveals the tensions in the American Revolution between militia and regulars, and shows how the Mexican War evolved from coercive diplomacy to limited warfare. His treatment of the Civil War involves demythologizing Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman, neither of whom first envisioned a war of attrition. In the Spanish-American War, Pearlman claims, the nation suffered from lack of general strategy, in WW I from antiquated tactics. The chapter on WW II reveals a complex interplay among Admiral Ernest King, General Douglas MacArthur, and FDR. During the Korean and Vietnam wars, presidents were torn between the desire for victory and fear of escalation. All levels. J. D. Doenecke; University of South Florida