Fields of Battle: The Wars for North America

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Vintage Books, 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)

John Keegan, May 15, 1934 - August 2, 2012 John Keegan was born in London, England on May 15, 1934. He received a degree in history from Balliol College, Oxford in 1953. After graduation, he went to the United States on a grant to study the Civil War. When he returned to London, he wrote political reports for the United States Embassy and in 1960 was appointed as a lecturer at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, England, a post he held for 25 years. During this time he also held visiting professorships at Princeton University and Vassar College. In 1997, he began working for the Daily Telegraph as a defense correspondent and then military affairs editor. He also contributed to the American website National Review Online. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 20 books about military history, the majority of which focus on warfare from the 14th to the 21st centuries. His works included Barbarossa: Invasion of Russia, The Face of Battle, A History of Warfare, Who Was Who in World War II, The Second World War, The American Civil War, The Mask of Command, and The Iraq War. He was knighted in 2000. He died on August 2, 2012 at age of 78.

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