Thursday, April 19, 2012

Between War & Peace: How America Ends Its Wars

Between War and Peace: How America Ends Its WarsPublication Date: January 11, 2011

An emperor bows abjectly before his conquerors on the deck of a battleship. As smoke yet rises from a bloody battlefield, a dejected general proffers his sword to his victorious opponent. Frock-coated ministers exchange red leather–bound treaty books in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. These are iconic images of war’s end, but even when they are historically accurate, they conceal more than they convey. Not all wars end decisively. Indeed, the endings of most wars are messy, complicated, inconclusive, and deeply intriguing. As the United States attempts to extricate itself from two long and costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, nothing could be more relevant than a look back at the ways America has ended its major conflicts in the past. It is a topic that has been curiously overlooked.

Edited and with an introduction by Col. Matthew Moten, a professor of history at West Point, Between War and Peace explores the endings of fourteen American wars, from the Revolution to the first Gulf War. Here, with incisive insight, narrative flourish, and strategic detail, some of America’s leading historians examine the progress of America’s wars: their initial aims—often quite different from their ends—their predominant strategies, their final campaigns, the painful journeys out of war, and the ramifications of the wars’ ends for the nation’s future.