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In Harm's Way

A History of the American Military Experience

Gene Allen Smith, David Coffey, and Kyle Longley

Publication Date - February 2019

ISBN: 9780190210793

544 pages
7-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Provides the most current, comprehensive, clear, yet concise survey of US military history from colonial times to the twenty-first century


In Harm's Way: A History of the American Military Experience offers a fast-paced, highly readable synthesis of modern scholarship on every era of the nation's experience in war. Authors Gene Allen Smith, David Coffey, and Kyle Longley offer a comprehensive, accurate, and nuanced account of the subject. Covering air, land, and sea power, the book provides a narrative synthesis and analysis of America's wars and military policies from colonial times to the twenty-first century.

Each chapter discusses a different time period, exploring the significant developments that changed military thought during that period and how military operations were influenced by strategic design, tactical capability, and available technology. "Issues in Military History" sections in each chapter analyze important controversies and debates in American military history, like the role of race in the Mexican War, whether the American contribution in World War I was decisive, and the dropping of the atomic bomb. In Harm's Way covers political and diplomatic challenges, social and economic changes, philosophical and ideological debates, and technological advances, but--above all--it focuses on the experiences of the American people at war.

About the Author(s)

Gene Allen Smith is Professor of History and Director of the Center for Texas Studies at Texas Christian University.

David Coffey is Professor of History and Chair of the Department of History and Philosophy at the University of Tennessee at Martin.

Kyle Longley was previously the Snell Family Dean's Distinguished Professor in the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies and School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University. He is currently the Director of the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas.


"In Harm's Way is exactly what I need for my U.S. military history course. I appreciate how the authors do equal justice to the main branches of the U.S. Armed Forces: important developments and trends in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force all receive significant attention, as do individual soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen."--David Preston, The Citadel

"In Harm's Way is a well-written, cutting-edge survey of American military history by three leading scholars in the field."--John C. McManus, Missouri University of Science and Technology

"In Harm's Way is a beautifully written narrative, with strong individual stories introducing the chapters, and many specific examples to engage readers and add depth."--Samuel J. Watson, United States Military Academy

"In Harm's Way is a very interesting, humanistic look at American military history from the first colonial days to Iraq and Afghanistan. The chapter-opening vignettes--where the authors introduce the experiences of soldiers, sailors, and marines--remind students that wars are fought on battlefields, not in offices in the capital cities of the belligerents."--Ron Milam, Texas Tech University

"In Harm's Way is a clearly written, comprehensive, and engaging history of America at war."--Heather Stur, University of Southern Mississippi

Table of Contents

    List of Maps
    Issues in Military History
    About the Authors

    Introduction: An American Way of War

    1. Surviving in a Wilderness, 1585-1676
    English Contact In North America -- -- A Foothold In America -- The Reality Of Indian War -- The Militia Tradition And War -- Praying For Peace And Providential Protection -- The Pequot War -- A Rising Discontent

    2. Competing for a Continent, 1565-1763
    Prelude to Conflict -- Anglo-Dutch Wars -- Wars For North American Empire -- King George's War -- Great War For Empire -- Global War -- An Empire On Which The Sun Never Set

    3. 'Tis Time to Part, 1763-1776
    A Changing Relationship -- Revenue Acts -- The Boston Massacre -- Troubles Over Tea -- Shots Heard Round The World -- Bunker, No, Breed's Hill -- No More Middle Ground -- On To Canada -- Toward Independence

    4. Maintaining Independence, 1777-1782
    Struggling To Independence -- 1777: The Year Of Decision -- Stalemate In The North: 1778 -- A Suffering Army -- Struggle On The Periphery -- Breaking The Iroquois Confederation -- Spanish Conquests In The South -- A New Southern Strategy -- Treason, Pensions, And Mutinies -- The World Turned Upside Down -- King's Mountain: Beginning Of The End -- Devil Of A Whipping: War Of Attrition In The Carolinas -- Taking The War To Virginia - Yorktown -- Winning The Peace -- The Treaty Of Paris

    5. Securing the Republic, 1782-1812
    Challenges For The New Nation -- Federal Government -- First War -- Whiskey Rebellion -- Quasi-War -- Republican Ascendency -- Barbary Pirates -- Education And Exploration -- War On The Horizon -- The War Of 1812

    6. Empire of Expansion, 1810-1849
    To Conquer Without War: The Gulf South -- Reforming The Military -- Following The Setting Sun -- A Maritime Destiny -- Trailing Tears: Indian Removal -- Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, And Creeks -- Black Hawk War -- Second Seminole War -- The Lone Star Republic -- The War With Mexico

    7. Disunion, 1849-1861
    The Military At Midcentury -- The Indian Frontier -- An Imperial Navy -- The Sectional Crisis - War -- First Fights -- Troubled Waters -- Turning Points

    8. Hard War, 1862-1865
    The Western Theater 1862 -- The Eastern Theater 1862 -- The Rise Of Robert E. Lee -- The Eastern Theater 1863 -- Conscription -- The Western Theater 1863 -- Black Troops - Prisoners of War -- Decisions -- The Eastern Theater 1864 -- The Western Theater 1864 -- "Damn The Torpedoes" Naval Actions Of 1864 -- The Final Acts 1865

    9. Reconstruction and Conquest, 1865-1890
    Unfinished Business -- Demobilization And The New Regular Army -- Reconstruction -- Expanded Role -- Technology -- The Last Indian Wars -- Professionalism

    10. Empire and Intervention, 1890-1917
    An Imperial Navy Again -- A Splendid Little War -- The Ugly War -- The Boxer Rebellion -- The Big Stick -- Punitive Expeditions -- Technology -- Organization -- Separate But Not Equal

    11. The Great War and Beyond, 1917-1940
    The Great War -- The African American Experience -- Air Power -- Final Allied Offensives -- The Interwar Years -- The National Defense Act Of 1920 -- Retreat From Intervention -- Billy Mitchell And The Pursuit Of Air Power -- Descent Into War

    12. Saving the World from Evil, 1939-1945
    The Road to War and American Unpreparedness, 1939-1941 -- No Certain Victory: War in Europe, 1942 -- Turning Point: May 1943-May 1944 -- Flexing Newly Found Muscles -- We are Americans! -- American Women at War -- The Final Push -- Final Victory

    13. War Without Mercy: Fighting in the Pacific, 1942-1945
    The State of Unpreparedness -- From Defeat to Victory: June 1942-October 1944 -- The Sleeping Giant Awakened -- Island Hopping -- The War Over Japan -- The End of the Ground War -- The Final Steps

    14. Different Kind of War: The Early Cold War and the Forgotten War, 1945-1951
    From World War To Cold War -- Toward A National Security State -- A Brave New World -- The Forgotten War: The Bloody War In Korea -- Snatching Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory: November 1950-March 1951 -- The Air War

    15. From the Top of the World to a Quagmire, 1953-1975
    Dwight Eisenhower And The New Look, 1953-1961 -- The New Look -- Dipping In Their Toe In -- Indochina -- Other Flashpoints -- The Military Industrial Complex -- Pay Any Price, Bear Any Burden -- Limited Partnership In South Vietnam -- The Big Juicy Worm On The Hook: Major U.S. Involvement, 1963-1968 -- The Year Of The Continuous Nightmare: 1968 -- We've Gotta Get Out Of This Place: Vietnamization And Withdrawal, 1969-1975 -- Looking Into The Mirror

    16. The Endless Wars: The Cold War and Beyond, 1975-Present
    Ghosts of Vietnam -- The Carter Interregnum -- The Iranian Morass - A New Day Dawning -- Beyond the Cold War, 1989-2001 - Iraq 1.0 -- From Juggernaut to Peacekeeper -- The Endless Wars, 2001-present -- Iraq 2.0 -- Back to Afghanistan