Understanding U.S. Military Conflicts through Primary Sources
by James R. Arnold and Roberta Wiener, Editors
November 2015, 1840pp, 8 1/2x11
4 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-933-4
$457, £339, 381€, A653
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-934-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Franklin Roosevelt’s 1941″ infamy speech” rallied the nation for war after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

An easily accessible resource that showcases the links between using documented primary sources and gaining a more nuanced understanding of military history.

Primary source analysis is a valuable tool that teaches students how historians utilize documents and interpret evidence from the past. This four-volume reference traces key decisions in U.S. military history—from the Revolutionary War through the 21st-century conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq—by examining documents relating to military strategy and national policy judgments by U.S. military and political leaders.

A comprehensive introductory essay provides readers with the context necessary to understand the relationship between diplomatic documents, military correspondence, and other documentation related to events that shaped warfare, diplomacy, and military strategy. Once the stage is set, the work covers 14 conflicts that are significant to U.S. history. Treatment of each of the conflicts begins with a historical overview followed by a chronology and approximately 30 primary source documents presented in chronological order. Each document is accompanied by a description and annotations and by an analysis that highlights its importance to the event or topic under discussion. Designed for secondary school and college students, the work will be exceptionally valuable to teachers who will appreciate the ready-made lessons that fit directly into core curriculum standards.


  • Covers benchmark documents in U.S. diplomatic and military history from 14 conflicts
  • Utilizes document introductions and scholarly analysis to help students understand the primary source materials
  • Supports document-based teaching and learning strategies
  • Ties into Common Core critical thinking guidelines commonly used in high school history courses for document analysis
  • Helps students understand the difference between original source material and unsourced claims made on the Internet
James R. Arnold is the author of more than 30 books devoted to military and political history. His most recent work is Napoleon 1813: Decision at Bautzen. His previous works include The Moro War, winner of the Army Historical Foundation's 2011 Trefry Award; Napoleon Conquers Austria, winner of the Napoleonic Society Literary Award; and a work of historical fiction, The Cost of Freedom.

Roberta Wiener is managing editor of the Journal of Military History. She is the author of The American West: Living the Frontier Dream and, jointly with Arnold, has written and edited numerous historical reference works.


2015 AHF Distinguished Writing Awards Reference Winner—The Army Historical Foundation, June 27, 2015


"Useful for libraries supporting a military-history curriculum or public libraries collecting comprehensively. . . . Summing Up: Recommended."—Choice, May 1, 2017
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