7 May 1954 is a day that helped to alter the course of American history. It was on this day that French troops, under siege for two months by Ho Chi Minh’s Vietminh forces, were roundly defeated, signaling the end of France’s efforts to re-exert control over its former Southeast Asian colony. American involvement, however, was to begin to ramp up and continue for the next 21 years.
This is an updated version (December 2014) of a piece originally published in 2013, which extends the coverage of the review to include some more recent works on 1812.
‘No one knows what George Kennan really meant [to say]!’ So did the late McGeorge Bundy, my then professor, initiate me and a half a dozen other graduate students into mystery of George Frost Kennan. I say ‘mystery’ deliberately, as both at the time and later, there was indeed something distinctly odd about two aspects of the life and career of the one-time scholar-diplomat.
Paul A. Gilje, Professor of United States History at the University of Oklahoma and renowned expert on the history of common people on the waterfront in early America (1), argues in his recently published book on the War of 1812 that the U.S. declared war against Great Britain in 1812 in defense of neutral rights and the safety of American sailors.
John Murray, fourth earl of Dunmore, the last royal governor of Virginia, features briefly in most accounts of the American Revolution. White slave-holders, in Dunmore’s colony and elsewhere, regarded him as a malign threat. George Washington, Virginia gentleman and planter, as well as commander of the Continental army, was among the many who denounced the governor as the devil incarnate.
Most canonical interpretations of the American Civil War revolve around some facet of the great national contest over the status and future of slavery in the western territories.
Ryan Floyd’s Abandoning American Neutrality should be considered required reading about America’s entry into the First World War.
The editors believe that The Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Early American Republic, 1783–1812: A Political, Social, and Military History is the first to be dedicated to the military history of the early United States, and on this evidence it has been long overdue.
The literature surrounding British attitudes toward the American Civil War has a long history extending almost back to the conflict itself, in part because it speaks to a question that has long intrigued academic and popular readers alike; namely, how might the outcome of the conflict been different if the British government had extended diplomatic recognition to the Confederacy or even interve
Ask Americans when their country became the world’s dominant power and chances are most will point to the hard-fought victory in the Second World War. But as Adam Tooze shows in his latest work, that shift occurred a generation earlier and before American forces had even fired a shot in what was once called the Great War.