7 photographs, 8 illustrations
Americans love war. We’ve never run from a fight. Our triumphs from the American Revolution to World War II define who we are as a nation and a people. Americans hate war. Our leaders rush us into conflicts without knowing the facts or understanding the consequences. Korea, Vietnam, and now Iraq and Afghanistan define who we are as a nation and a people.
How We Fight explores the extraordinary double-mindedness with which Americans approach war and articulates the opposing perspectives that have governed our responses throughout history: the “crusade” tradition, or our love of grand quests to defend democratic values and overthrow tyrants; and the “quagmire” tradition, or our resistance to the work of nation-building and its inevitable cost in dollars and American lives.
How can one nation be so split? Studying conflicts from the Civil War to the present, Dominic Tierney uncovers the secret history of American foreign policy and provides a frank and insightful look at how Americans respond to the ultimate challenge. And he shows how U.S. military ventures can succeed. His innovative model for tackling the challenges of modern war suggests the possibility of enduring victory in Afghanistan and elsewhere by rediscovering a lost American warrior tradition.
“Lucid and entertaining. . . . A provocative analysis of why Americans love some wars and hate others.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Writing in colloquial style, this college professor accessibly frames questions arising from Iraq and Afghanistan about why victories have often been followed by occupations.”—Booklist
“[Tierney’s] work here will be a useful addition to the literature of culture and war.”—Library Journal
“Tierney’s is a welcome voice in the trade press literature on American wars. He captures the essence of America’s history of warfare and presents it in a digestible, yet sophisticated and historically rich way. . . . Interesting, engaging, compelling, and even entertaining to a broader audience.”—Jon Western, Mt. Holyoke College