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American Military History: From Colonials to Counterinsurgents

Narrated by: Wesley K. Clark
Length: 11 hrs and 29 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (214 ratings)
Regular price: $34.95
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Publisher's Summary

Wars have played a crucial role in defining the United States and its place in the world. No one is better equipped to analyze this subject in depth than retired US Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark - decorated combat veteran, author, Rhodes Scholar, and former NATO Supreme Commander. In this course, Gen. Clark explores the full scope of America's armed conflicts, from the French and Indian War in the mid-18th century to the Global War on Terrorism in the 21st. These 24 absorbing half-hour lectures chart the remarkable growth of the United States from a colonial backwater into the most powerful nation on Earth, thanks in large part to its talent for rising to the occasion when called to war.

Drawing on his decades of study and military experience, Gen. Clark sheds light on the tactics and strategy behind such famous battles as Yorktown, New Orleans, Gettysburg, D-Day, Inchon, and Operation Desert Storm, among many others. He also recounts his own experiences in combat during the Vietnam War, which he barely survived. This presentation is the closest most listeners will get to studying war the way military officers do - with every battle serving as a textbook for possible paths to victory.

Among the many examples, you learn that the ideal time to attack is when an opposing force is separated, distracted, and disorganized due to crossing an obstacle such as a river, as happened to British Gen. Edward Braddock's troops while fording the Monongahela River during the French and Indian War. You also learn that the fall of Fort Donelson during the Civil War was due to incoherent strategy by the Confederates, combined with brilliant tactics by Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, who went on to win the war for the North. In one of the last lectures, Gen. Clark gives insight into his own strategy for halting Serbian ethnic cleansing during Operation Allied Force in 1999, when he was the general in charge.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2018 The Teaching Company, LLC; 2018 The Great Courses

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Thoughtful, engaging, reflective

As a modern American, military history was largely ignored in the many courses I took as a history major. General Clark fills the gap -- and I don't mean the Fulda Gap! This is a non-ideological, intelligent review of the military history of the United States. G-d bless our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars

Boring, should have been titled "Battle Summaries"

On Chapter 9 of 24. The narrator clearly is very knowledgeable, but unfortunately chose only to basically give play-by-plays of major American wars and battles. Titling the content "American Military History" is pretty dishonest, actually. I expected to learn about American military strengths and weaknesses, the evolution of how we've waged war over time, the different branches' foundings, things like that. Nope. I'm disappointed to only be hearing about who fought in what battle when with details about what regiment marched along what river up to what city. Who cares? I'm not even through the Civil War yet and I'm bored of the endless descriptions of military engagements.

There is occasionally the insightful commentary I'm looking for, on military strategy, the importance of intelligence and secrecy, etc., but it comes few and far between. Overall, would not recommend.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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before reviewing; listen to the last chapter

For those whom find war and/or the military in general negatively, I (a veteran of war) would suggest reading/listening to the last chapter first... I think you will be hard pressed any combat vet that would disagree...

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Great Summary of US Military History

This is a great lecture series from one of America's great generals. He gives the general political background and well summarizes the battles and campaigns. it is amazing the breadth and scope of this course.

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military history from a General's perspectice

as a non American military officer, the lectures were thrilling, teaching and thought provoking. the General's perspective was different from a regular history book, with deep insights on the conflicts and the way they were managed. I was reminded why I deeply respect the American people. I don't think that these lectures are fit for someone with no previous knowledge in military affairs or in American history. The pace is fast so to cover all the conflicts and their insights.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Overall dry, perhaps expected from career military

Overall lacks many interesting or little known facts or anecdotes. History is much more recited. Analysis of significant events, people, or turning points needs more substance and style. Probably too hard to separate the career military man from his roots.

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  • M
  • 08-10-18

For the serious history buff

Just not what I was looking for. You need a strong base of military history before listening to this book.

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  • NM
  • 08-07-18

Clear, Concise, Informative

Gen. Clark covers one of the broadest subjects concerning this nation with skill and ease. There is just enough detailed coverage of each conflict as to see what connects each one to the next without getting bogged down with too much detail.

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Excellent description of our Military actions

Very good history book. Very accurate including my Viet Nam experiences and our current engagements through today.

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Simply Outstanding

This course has it all. It’s engaging informative and thought provoking. I will be recommending it to everyone I can.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-22-18

<br />Pragmatic review of warfare. No brag no bluster,

Pragmatic review of warfare. No brag no bluster, a well presented history of the authors experience.