Ways of War
American Military History from the Colonial Era to the Twenty-First Century
Routledge – 2014 – 537 pages
From the first interactions between European and native peoples, to the recent peace-keeping efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, military issues have always played an important role in American history. Ways of War comprehensively explains the place of the military within the wider context of the history of the United States, showing its centrality to American culture and politics. The chapters provide a complete survey of the American military's growth and development while answering such questions as: How did the American military structure develop? How does it operate? And how have historical military events helped the country to grow and develop?
Extensively illustrated and written by experienced instructors, Ways of War is essential reading for all students of American Military History.
‘Matthew Muehlbauer and David Ulbrich have raised the standard for American military history textbooks with their Ways of War. Featuring a lively narrative that synthesizes the latest scholarship, this volume will engage undergraduate readers on several levels while serving the pedagogical needs of their professors.I look forward to adopting Ways of War as the main textbook in my own United States at War course.’ —Gregory J. W. Urwin, Professor of History, Temple University, USA
‘The data is accurate. The analysis is perceptive. The material is well organized. The text is crisply written. The maps and sidebars are illuminating. This is, in short, not merely a model course text, but a valuable general-audience survey of the American military experience.’ — Dennis Showalter, Colorado College, USA
‘The authors wrote Ways of War for two related audiences. Undergraduate students of American Military History gain the base breadth of coverage and depth of detail necessary for them to go on into the specialized monographs and articles. Instructors are assured that the diligent and attentive student will have the context and bibliographic starting points that allows the instructor to examine specific topics, campaigns or battles, and provides enough introduction to support the assignment of substantive papers and research topics.’ — Joseph Fitzharris, University of St Thomas, USA
‘Ways of War: American Military History: From the Colonial Period to the Present offers a detailed yet expansive view of U.S. military history.The authors deftly survey America’s military past, exploring definitive wars and campaigns, but also issues of policy, strategy and leadership.This is a useful and informative text, especially for introductory college courses examining the broad sweep of American military history.’ — Lesley J. Gordon, University of Akron, USA
'In their new survey for Routledge, military historians Matthew S. Muehlbauer and David J. Ulbrich move beyond a simplified critique of Russell F. Weigley’s critical “American Way of War” thesis to offer a reassessment of how the construct evolved from a number of original influences to take on various forms and applications as circumstances dictated. The end result is a view of American military affairs that is marked by an inherent flexibility that has on occasion been hamstrung by misperceptions on the part of the nation’s civilian and military leaders. Based on a wide range of secondary scholarship in American Military History, Ways of War: American Military History from the Colonial Era to the Twenty-First Century (Routledge, 2013) offers far more analytical and narrative detail than many other like-minded surveys, making it a worthy candidate for supplementing and succeeding Weigley’s original 1973 work.' — Bobby Wintermute, New Books in Military History
"The authors are well aware of trends in military history to include far more than narrations of battles and campaigns, and each chapter is replete with context, both political and social…these are individually strong chapters, and they are well suited to the classroom. The authors are up-to-date; the old stories and the newer slightly revised versions are all there. It is well illustrated, well organized, and designed to get students to think critically about the use of force and the strategies behind that use." —Wayne Lee, University of North Carolina, USA
"As a whole, Ways of War (and its website) are rich in detail and will lead serious students to examine—or re-examine—the primary source material in their areas of particular interest. Matthew Muehlbauer and David Ulbrich deserve high marks for refusing to whitewash recent or long-ago mistakes made by the American military. Their open and honest approach serves them well in their effort to convey the broad scope of US military history and its relevance to American society as a whole. Their ambitious book merits a place on the same shelf as the work of Russell Weigley and in undergraduate or graduate survey courses in American military history." —Nathan Albright, Michigan War Studies Review
«Au-delà d’une introduction ne manquant pas de revenir sur un certain nombre de fondamentaux de la théorie stratégique, le contexte militaire mondial dans lequel se développent les forces américaines n’est pas oublié : il est ainsi question des effets de la révolution militaire, du rôle des femmes dans les forces armées, de stratégie des moyens et de conceptions doctrinales mais aussi de la centralité des armées et du fait militaire dans l’histoire américaine. L’ouvrage contient ainsi plus de 100 cartes, une série d’encadrés et chaque chapitre est suivi d’une courte bibliographie. L’écriture, vivante et claire, rend accessible l’ensemble et offre une vision exhaustive constituant de facto une très bonne introduction… Un ouvrage qui dépasse donc le seul cadre historique et que l’on peut sans conteste qualifier de « meilleure introduction » sur le sujet. Indispensable donc.» — Joseph Henrotin, Défense et Sécurité Internationale
"Although written as a textbook for university history courses, [Ways of War] is a rich resource for students of military history who are not in the classroom. It is well-illustrated with maps and other visual images to aid in comprehension. It is recommended for the shelf of all who have an interest in American military history, not only from the standpoint of campaigns and battles, but also the larger political and economic forces that are part and parcel of the background of conflict." — Marine Corps Gazette, November 2014
"A student-friendly account of American military from the Colonial Era to (briefly) the Obama administration. Very good on the nature of war, on military operations, on tactics and on strategy, supported by clear and effective maps, by pertinent boxes, and by illustrations. The discussion is up-to-date and the writing is good." — Jeremy Black, War in History
"[Ways of War] is strongest in the early chapters as it encapsulates the latest scholarly discoveries and reinterpretations of warfare in the colonial world. The sections on the 'ways of war' of the American Indian juxtaposed with the European settlers' practices are exemplary and engage the reader with the newest ideas and concepts. Many textbooks give the early American wars of the European colonists short shrift, but this book gives them a surprising amount of space given its nature as a textbook which must of necessity be highly selective about its subject." — Richard W. Stewart, International Bibliography of Military History
"Already adopted into the U.S. Air Force Academy's core curriculum, Ways of War serves as an excellent primer for officers, noncommissioned officers, and federal civilians seeking understanding of how American warfare has evolved between the colonial period and the 2010s. … Supplementing academic manuscripts that are often inaccessible to all but the most studied, this work arrives as a valuable and highly utilitarian complement to the current field of U.S. military histories." — Military Review
List of Figures List of Maps Acknowledgements Introduction 1. Early Colonization and Conflict, 1607-1689 2. Wars Imperial & Regional, 1689-1763 3. The American Revolution, 1763-83 4. Challenges in the Early Republic, 1783-1815 5. Expansion, 1815-1861 6. The American Civil War: Confederate Defiance, 1861-63 7. The American Civil War: Union Triumph, 1863-65 8. Transitions, 1865-1902 9. Early Twentieth Reforms and the Great War, 1902-1918 10. Transformations in the Interwar Years, 1918-1941 11. Mobilizing for the Second World War, 1941-1943 12. Winning the Second World War, 1943-1945 13. National Security in the Early Cold War, 1945-60 14. Confrontations in the Cold War, 1960-73 15. From Cold War to Pax Americana to Uncertainty, 1973-2012
Matthew Muehlbauer is currently a Visiting Professor at Manhattan College, but has taught military history at schools including the United States Military Academy, Rutgers University, and Austin Peay State University.
David J. Ulbrich is Assistant Professor of History at Rogers State University. He is author of the award-winning Preparing for Victory: Thomas Holcomb and the Making of the Modern Marine Corps, 1936-1943.