Yesterday the New York Times Book Review ran my new survey of books about military history. Here are some highlights:

  • Nathaniel Philbrick argues in The Hurricane’s Eye that by 1781, the Americans had lost the War for Independence and that we were bailed out by French guns, funds, ships and troops.
  • In Learning War, Trent Hone tells the interesting tale of how the U.S. Navy invented the combat information center, starting in late 1942. My verdict: “Hone’s history is good as it goes, but it would have been better had he also addressed the Navy’s clear failures of the time.”
  • African American Officers in Liberia, a history of the U.S. Army’s forgotten deployment there in the early 20th century “is instructive in the multiple hazards and difficulties of foreign training missions.” 
  • The Viking Wars reminded me of that BBC comedy series “The Detectorists.” I liked it.
  • I was surprised at how much I liked After Combat, a composite oral history of the experience of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The approach worked. Also, I’d never heard of “mortar bingo,” in which soldiers which bet on what grid in their base would next be hit by a shell.

And much, much more!

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