Daily Life of U.S. Soldiers
From the American Revolution to the Iraq War
by Christopher R. Mortenson and Paul J. Springer, Editors
June 2019, 1139pp, 7x10
3 volumes, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-6358-5
$309, £229, 258€, A442
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6359-2
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Soldiers in America’s earlier conflicts were more likely to die from disease than combat and spent much more time trying to fend off boredom than fighting on the battlefield.

This ground-breaking work explores the lives of average soldiers from the American Revolution through the 21st-century conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

What was life really like for U.S. soldiers during America’s wars? Were they conscripted or did they volunteer? What did they eat, wear, believe, think, and do for fun? Most important, how did they deal with the rigors of combat and coming home?

This comprehensive book will answer all of those questions and much more, with separate chapters on the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, the Indian Wars, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II in Europe, World War II in the Pacific, the Cold War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, the Afghanistan War and War on Terror, and the Iraq War.

Each chapter includes such topical sections as Conscription and Volunteers, Training, Religion, Pop Culture, Weaponry, Combat, Special Forces, Prisoners of War, Homefront, and Veteran Issues. This work also examines the role of minorities and women in each conflict as well as delves into the disciplinary problems in the military, including alcoholism, drugs, crimes, and desertion. Selected primary sources, bibliographies, and timelines complement the topical sections of each chapter.


  • Provides readers with an understanding of the daily lives of soldiers in America's wars, greatly complementing more standard histories of battles and leaders
  • Offers a curated collection of primary sources for each conflict that illuminates the daily lives of US soldiers during wartime
  • Includes detailed bibliographies that offer many accessible sources needed by students and researchers looking to further explore the topics
  • Provides a comprehensive chronology for each conflict that helps readers to place it within the proper historical context
  • Spans nearly 250 years of national history from the American Revolution to the Afghanistan War
Christopher R. Mortenson, PhD, is associate professor and chair of the Department of History at Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, AR. He is author of Politician in Uniform: General Lew Wallace and the Civil War. He is past president of the Arkansas Association of College History Teachers and serves on the board of trustees of the Arkansas Historical Association.

Paul J. Springer, PhD, is full professor of comparative military studies and chair of the Department of Research, Air Command and Staff College. He has previously taught at the United States Military Academy at West Point and Texas A&M University. He is a senior fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Springer has authored books including America's Captives: Treatment of POWs from the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror; Transforming Civil War Prisons: Lincoln, Lieber, and the Laws of War; and Outsourcing War to Machines: The Military Robotics Revolution.


2019 Award Winner in the "History: United States" Category—Best Book Awards, American Book Fest, November 13, 2019


"Highly recommended for undergraduate majors and graduate students of history or military science, or general adult history buffs."—Library Journal, September 1, 2019

"As an introductory work, Daily Life of U.S. Soldiers is unique in that it outlines novel aspects of war and soldiering. A solid resource for high-school and introductory college-level courses."—Booklist Online, November 1, 2019

"A great deal of information is presented in a single work, making it useful for those seeking an introduction to this subject. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty."—Choice, November 1, 2019
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