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A People's History of the U.S. Military

A People's History of the U.S. Military Cover

A People's History of the U.S. Military

Ordinary Soldiers Reflect on Their Experience of War, from the American Revolution to Afghanistan

By Michael A. Bellesiles

New Press, Hardcover, 9781595586285, 375pp.

Publication Date: September 11, 2012

In A People's History of the U.S. Military, historian Michael A. Bellesiles draws from three centuries of soldiers' personal encounters with combat--through fascinating excerpts from letters, diaries, and memoirs, as well as audio recordings, film, and blogs--to capture the essence of the American military experience firsthand, from the American Revolution to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Military service can shatter and give meaning to lives; it is rarely a neutral encounter, and has contributed to a rich outpouring of personal testimony from the men and women who have literally placed their lives on the line. The often dramatic and always richly textured first-person accounts collected in this book cover a wide range of perspectives, from ardent patriots to disillusioned cynics; barely literate farm boys to urbane college graduates; scions of founding families to recent immigrants, enthusiasts, and dissenters; women disguising themselves as men in order to serve their country to African Americans fighting for their freedom through military service.
A work of great relevance and immediacy--as the nation grapples with the return of thousands of men and women from active military duty--A People's History of the U.S. Military will become a major new touchstone for our understanding of American military service.

About the Author
Michael A. Bellesiles teaches history at Central Connecticut State University. The author of numerous books, including 1877: America's Year of Living Violently, he lives in Connecticut.

Praise For A People's History of the U.S. Military

"Surrounded by Bellesiles' acerbic commentary, this is a useful, unsettling bottom-up history of America’s wars that emphasizes the soldiers' mistreatment, suffering and injustice."
Kirkus Reviews

"Bellesiles’ most recent book explores the American army from the Revolution through Iraq and Afghanistan, using excerpts from letters, diaries and memoirs, recordings, and videos and blogs of soldiers in combat. . . . . This history is compact yet complete, and its narrative is excellent."