Americans at War
Eyewitness Accounts from the American Revolution to the 21st Century
by James R. Arnold, Editor
May 2018, 1074pp, 8 1/2x11
3 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-4405-8
$325, 271€, A465
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-4406-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Few can imagine what it would be like to see and experience what American soldiers do during war.

This unprecedented compilation of eyewitness accounts records the thoughts and emotions of American soldiers spanning nearly 250 years of national history, from the American Revolution to the Afghanistan War.

Understanding primary sources is essential to understanding warfare. This outstanding collection provides a diverse set of eyewitness accounts of Americans in combat throughout U.S. history. Offering riveting true stories, it includes accounts from participants in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Indian Wars, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, the Spanish American War and Philippine Insurrection, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, The Persian Gulf War, the Afghanistan War, and the Iraq War.

Most eyewitness accounts of war currently available to the public are those of writers who enjoy higher military rank. Americans at War addresses this imbalance between officers’ accounts and enlisted men’s accounts by invoking oral history archives. Contextual essays and timelines allow the reader to place the accounts in time and place, while the entries themselves allow the reader to experience the thoughts and emotions of Americans who engaged in combat.


  • Offers invaluable access to the war experiences of U.S. forces throughout history through more than 300 eyewitness accounts
  • Provides a balanced portrait of eyewitness accounts from both officers and enlisted men
  • Allows the reader to place the eyewitness accounts in their proper context via contextual essays and timelines
  • Describes in detail the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor via ten captivating accounts from December 7, 1941
  • Spans nearly 250 years of national history, from the American Revolution to the Afghanistan War
James R. Arnold is author of more than 30 books devoted to military and political history. His most recent work is Napoleon 1813: Decision at Bautzen. Previous works include Praeger's Napoleon Conquers Austria: The 1809 Campaign for Vienna, winner of the Napoleonic Society Literary Award; The Moro War, winner of the Army Historical Foundation's Trefry Award; and a work of historical fiction, The Cost of Freedom. In addition, Arnold is coauthor of Understanding U.S. Military Conflicts through Primary Sources, winner of the 2015 Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award, Reference Category.


2018 Award Winner in the "History: Military" Category—Best Book Awards, American Book Fest, November 15, 2018

2019 Outstanding Reference Source — Reference and User Services Association—RUSA, January 27, 2019

2019 Award Winner in the "Journals, Memoirs, and Letters" Category—Army Historical Foundation, May 14, 2019


"For anyone interested in primary-source material from Americans engaging in warfare throughout the nation’s history, Arnold’s set is an excellent place to start."—Booklist, October 8, 2018

"By focusing on not only officers but also enlisted soldiers, this collection of diary entries, letters, autobiography excerpts, and oral history accounts sets itself apart from similar titles. . . . Readers will find it easy to locate documents, as each volume contains a useful list. VERDICT: Of interest to lower- and upper-level undergraduate military history students seeking primary source documents."—Library Journal, September 1, 2018

"It is encouraging to discover a source that provides better information than the internet offers. . . . [O]n any war one selects, the reader will be absorbed in pages of captivating reminisces." —ARBA, August 4, 2018

"The overall goal of this contribution is to not only provide easy access to such recollections but also place them within their proper context while giving a sense of what combat participation was like. . . . Summing Up: Recommended. General readers through faculty."—Choice, November 1, 2018

2018 Top Community College Resource—Choice, 00/00/00
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