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War isn't just about battles or campaigns, victories or defeats, territory gained or lost; it's also about people and the effects that war has upon a society. Americans at War focuses on how war shaped (and was shaped by) American society, culture, and national identity from 1500 to the present. Each of the volumes covers a different time period: 1500-1815, 1816-1900, 1901-1945, and 1946 to the present. The 395 articles were written by 234 academic and independent scholars and average around two pages in length.
Each volume contains the same preface, alphabetical list of entries, topical outline, chronology, glossary, and index. Specific to each volume are an introduction summarizing the period of time being covered and an appendix containing a selection of primary documents. Articles are alphabetically arranged and include selected bibliographies and see also references. Sidebars appear throughout the text to supplement topics. Illustrations are in black and white.
In addition to events (Bacon's Rebellion, New York City Draft Riots, 9-11) and people (Abigail Adams, Tokyo Rose, Colin Powell), entries cover topics related to dissent (Boston Tea Party: politicizing ordinary people; Nuclear freeze movement); gender (Rosie the Riveter, Women integrated into the military); literature (Uncle Tom's Cabin, Cold war novels and movies); politics (Anti-Federalists, Homestead Act); ethnicity (Black Codes; Muslims, stereotypes and fears of); and more. Among the types of primary source documents found in the appendixes (an average of 22 documents per volume) are acts of Congress, court cases, first-person narratives, letters, speeches, and songs. Examples of these documents are the Stamp Act of 1765, the song "Battle Hymn of the Republic" (1861), "Franklin D. Roosevelt's Fireside Chat on the Bank Crisis" (1933), and "Pardon for Vietnam Draft Evaders" (1977).
Written for general readers, students, and researchers, Americans at War delivers well-written articles and would make an excellent addition to high-school, academic, and public libraries. kaye talley
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