America’s Wars and Military Excursions
No reader who is interested in the Pacific campaigns of World War II or in the Korean War is likely to be unfamiliar with the works of Edwin P. Hoyt. His eminently readable volumes of popular history have over the years won for him a loyal following. Possessed of a spare, no-nonsense narrative style, Hoyt is above all a compelling storyteller. In this, his most ambitious work, Hoyt succeeds in making the story of America’s wars, large and small, both exciting and edifying. Hoyt follows Karl von Clausewitz in arguing that war is an extension of politics. He shows that this simple dictum has all too often been forgotten by American statesmen and the American people, at the expense of much American blood. In Hoyt’s view, what has repeatedly skewed American policy is an ideological evangelism which first arose at the time of the American Revolution. Since that time, Americans have tried to remake other peoples in the American image, confident in the benevolence of their intentions and oblivious of these peoples’ native traditions and desires.
Hoyt’s book is a deliberately timely work. Citizens attempting to understand the roots of American involvement in the Mediterranean, Central America, and the Far East would do well to turn to this account of often obscure but colorful wars fought by colorful characters. Knowledge of the wild activities of William Walker in the 1850’s helps explain the instinctive anti-Americanism of many Nicaraguans today. Hoyt has produced his most valuable as well as his most ambitious work.