Saturday, May 18, 2013

Review: United States Army, The Definitive Illustrated History



By D. M. Giangreco

It’s nearly an impossible task to cover the entire history of the United States Army from its humble beginnings in 1607 to the present (2011) and call it a definitive history, but somehow D. M. Giangreco has managed to do it.  Of course it took a massive book of 11.4 x 9.8 x 1.4 inches and 528 pages do it in, and it’s fully illustrated too!

Each chapter of Mr. Giangreco’s “The Definitive Illustrated History” covers specific a period of the Army’s History:
  • Creating a Continental Army, 1607-1782
  • The Army and the Young Republic, 1794-1848
  • Regulars, Volunteers and Civil War, 1861-1865
  • War on the Plains and Domestic Strife, 1865-1878
  • Beyond the Borders, The Far East, Caribbean and Mexico, 1877-1917
  • Over There, 1917-1921
  • Between Two Wars, 1919-1941
  • Victory in the Pacific, 1941-1945
  • Defeating Nazi Germany, 1942-1945
  • The Cold War Turns Hot, 1945-1953
  • Preparing for the “Next War” and Vietnam, 1953-1973
  • The Volunteer Army, Panama, and the Persian Gulf, 1972-1991
  • A “New” Enemy, 1991-2011

Of course even for a book of its size it would be impossible for it to be an in depth study spanning every phase of the United States Army’s four hundred year history.  That would take multiple volumes and span several feet of valuable shelf space.  Mr. Giangreco takes a “skirt-length” approach to each of his chapters: short enough to keep it interesting, but long enough to adequately cover the subject.

Also included are four Appendices:
  • Appendix A: Medals and Decorations; Ribbon-Only Awards; Unit Commendations and Foreign Citations.
  • Appendix B: Campaign Streamers; Chiefs of Staff of the U. S. Army
  • Appendix C: Branches of the U. S. Army; Distinctive Unite Insignia (DUI) Pins
  • Appendix D: Rank and Structure of the U. S. Army

Highlighting Mr. Giangreco’s 180,000+ word text are hundreds of photographs and illustrations; from the uniforms the soldiers carry and the weapons they used, to the mundane equipment they used daily; from generals to privates; from maps and historical paintings to battlefield photographs.  Taken as a whole they thoroughly illustrate and cover each of America’s conflicts from the French and Indian War to the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and everything in between.

Mr. Giangreco’s “United States Army: The Definitive Illustrated History” is a beautifully produced book, thoroughly researched, well written and easily read.  Coming in at a hefty weight of 5.8 pounds it is not a book to be taken lightly, nor would a recommend reading it in a chair for long periods of time without wrist braces.  To call Mr. Giangreco’s book a “coffee table book” would do a great injustice to it, but I would recommend reading it while seated at a table.

ISBN 1402791046, Sterling, © 2011, Paperback, 11.4 x 9.8 x 1.4 inches, 528 pages, 5.8 pounds, Maps, Photographs, Illustrations, Appendices, Photo Credits & Index. $24.95.  To purchase this book click HERE.

1 comment:

EJ DAgrosa (HBG) said...

Good review! I have this book, bought it when I was a newly graduated private fresh out of boot...I was "gung ho" then! I haven't read it all cover-to-cover, but read the parts that most interest me.