The American Culture of War: A History of US Military Force from World War II to Operation Enduring Freedom

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9780415890199: The American Culture of War: A History of US Military Force from World War II to Operation Enduring Freedom

The American Culture of War presents a sweeping, critical examination of every major American war of the late 20th century: World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the First and Second Persian Gulf Wars, through to Operation Enduring Freedom. Lewis deftly traces the evolution of US military strategy, offering an original and provocative look at the motives people and governments used to wage war, the debates among military personnel, the flawed political policies that guided military strategy, and the civilian perceptions that characterized each conflict.

Now in its second edition, The American Culture of War has been completely revised and updated. New features include:

  • Completely revised and updated chapters structured to facilitate students’ ability to compare conflicts
  • New chapters on Operation Iraqi Freedom and the current conflict in Afghanistan
  • New conclusion discussing the American culture of war and the future of warfare
  • Over fifty maps, photographs, and images to help students visualize material
  • Expanded companion website with additional pedagogical material for both students and researchers.

The American Culture of War is a unique and invaluable survey of over seventy years of American military history, perfect for any student of America’s modern wars.

For additional information and classroom resources please visit The American Culture of War companion website at

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About the Author:

Adrian Lewis is Professor of History at the University of Kansas. He has taught at the Naval War College and at West Point, and is a retired United States Army Major. He is the author of Omaha Beach: A Flawed Victory.


'An outstanding volume that is sure to be of interest to faculty and cadets, as well as historians and national security professionals far and wide.' – Lance Betros, Colonel, US Army

'The American Culture of War is a first-rate study that asks big questions and provides answers that are of value to American and non-American scholars alike. It makes a major contribution to the developing cultural approach to military history.' – Jeremy Black, University of Exeter, UK

'Lewis combines a powerful argument with a detailed critique of U.S. strategy since World War II as overly dependant on technology, and shows how these have eroded two traditional American moral concepts: the equal value of every human life and the universal civic responsibility to defend the country.' –Dennis Showalter, Colorado College, USA

'The American Culture of War is a striking and magisterial tour de force. Combining the hard-headed realism and moral indignation of a professional soldier with the keen analytical outlook of a trained historian, Adrian Lewis exposes the political in-fighting, intellectual follies, cultural arrogance, media ignorance, inter-service rivalries, and changes in the national mood that have repeatedly caused the United States to wage its most recent wars in ways that play to its weaknesses rather than its strengths. The American Culture of War should be mandatory reading for policy makers, military leaders, students of military history, and all Americans with the slightest interest in national security.' – Gregory J.W. Urwin,  Temple University, USA

'Lewis's book is a manifesto that calls for a revolutionary change in thinking ... Even though the book presents a specific thesis that is merged within the fascinating historiographical debate over the American way of war, it also provides an in-depth discussion of U.S. military history of the past sixty years. ... This is mandatory reading for all those engaged in U.S. military history, and above all should be included in the reading list of the American officer ranks, as well as the decision makers and policy shapers among the various political and military echelons.' – H-War

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