This is a full and clear account of the war, balanced in viewpoint and meticulous in detail. M. describes the details of the Cuban rebellion up to '98. he notes the strengths and weaknesses of the various personalities. Taking his departure from Jackson Turner on the end of the frontier, he holds that the outward venture of the U.S. was inevitable. Since so many have dealt with the journalistic side, M. need not stress it. He points out the role of racism in the tendency to withdraw support from the Cuban rebels. From this book one can grasp the full panorama, political and military. The dignity and sense of honor of the Spaniards shines forth. One interesting feature was the role of Civil War veterans, including generals who were generals then: Joe Wheeler, once C.S.A.; from the U.S.A.: Miles, Merritt, Schofield, Dodge, and others who were field officers during the rebellion. Dewey's hero was Farragut, whom he not only idolized, but also emulated, combining careful preparation...
Being a Civil War buff and author who is considering doing a work on the Indian Wars, I have always been fascinated by that period between the Civil War and the turn of the century. Especially on its effect on the U.S. Army as it fought both the Indian Wars and the Spanish American War under the leadership of former Civil War Generals, and Musicant does not disappoint. Some of the names are familiar - Nelson Miles, Wesley Merritt, Admiral (George) Dewey,and of course, the Confederate Cavalry great "Fighting Joe" Joseph Wheeler. And the not-so-well known - men such as William Rufus Shafter, the corpulent former Union officer and presumed model for "Pecos Bill", who was named commander of the expeditionary forces in Cuba and who often clashed with both his superiors in Washington, and with one certain volunteer colonel by the name of Theodore Roosevelt. To be fair, I haven't gotten to the military operations nor the logistical problems experienced by the U.S. Army -...
Musicant's book doesn't really bring anything new to the table. He has done little research among the original sources, and none in the Spanish, Filipino, or Cuban source material, and has written what is largely a rehash of secondary source materials. This isn't to say that it's a bad book. Musicant's grasp of things military is very sound, and this is the strength of the book. The book is well written, although there are some jarring uses of words or phrases that simly don't match the tone of the book. Overall, I came away with the feeling that I had read a detailed overview of an important event, to which the author applied little analysis or originality. In particular, the book is very weak in its portrayal of the Cubans, Filipinos, and, to a lesser degree, the Spanish. Yes, it's an American story, but that doesn't mean you leave out the other protagonists in the drama.
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