Fields of battle: the wars for North America

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A.A. Knopf, 1995 - History - 348 pages
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In North America geography has shaped the course of military history as it has nowhere else in the world. Our vast interior spaces, huge mountain ranges, extensive river systems, and boundless prairies have determined each critical conflict for control of the continent. Guided by this central insight, the acclaimed military historian John Keegan takes us on a tour of every major fortification and scene of battle in North America, from the arrival of the Europeans in the sixteenth century to the final defeat of the native American population in the nineteenth. He shows how the unique character of the American terrain and climate, and the inevitable competition for the land's wealth of natural resources, dictated why men fortified where they did, campaigned as they did, and were drawn to those battlefields - Yorktown, Gettysburg, Bull Run, to mention only a few - whose names are now part of our mythology. Drawing upon more than thirty years of experience researching and writing about warfare throughout recorded time, Keegan brings his unique understanding to bear on all the famed engagements of our military history, including Wolfe's victory over Montcalm at Quebec, the legendary battles of the Revolutionary War (as Keegan explains, Washington knew particularly well how to use space and distance), and, of course, the colossal campaigns of the Civil War. An important theme of this book concerns how the war-making assumptions of the Old World met conditions in the New, and so Keegan concludes his narrative with an apt twist: he recalls the arrival of troops from the United States and Canada to save his native Britain and liberate France from German domination during World War II.

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FIELDS OF BATTLE: The Wars for North America

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Distinguished British military historian Keegan (A History of Warfare, 1993, etc.) poignantly weaves personal reflections and historical analysis together in an insightful, oddly charming account of ... Read full review

Fields of battle: the wars for North America

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

From the world's preeminent military historian (A History of Warfare, LJ 10/15/93) comes a panoramic history of war-making on our own continent. In North America, geography has shaped the course of ... Read full review


TWO The Forts of New France
THREE The Fort at Yorktown
FOUR Fortifying the Confederacy

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About the author (1995)

Military historian John Keegan was born in Clapham, England on May 15, 1934. After spending two years at Wimbledon College he began studying at Balliol College, Oxford in 1953. Following his graduation Keegan was employed for three years at London's American Embassy. Keegan lectured in Military History at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst for 36 years beginning in 1960. During this time he additionally held visiting professorships at Princeton University and Vassar College. In 1997 Keegan began working for the Daily Telegraph as a Defence Correspondent and then Defence Editor. He also contributes to the American website National Review Online. Keegan has written numerous bestselling works of military history, the majority of which focus on warfare from the 14th to the 21st centuries. Among the topics treated are individual battles, strategy, the experience of the common soldier, and technological change in combat. Keegan is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, and he has also been knighted. Keegan resides in Wiltshire, England.

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