452 pages, Crown Forum, ISBN-13: 978-1400053636
For anyone educated by today’s milquetoast academia, Don't Tread on Me: A 400-Year History of America at War, from Indian Fighting to Terrorist Hunting is a painful reconstruction of the American military in all of its politically incorrect might. Crocker’s book is a page-turner for anyone interested in a chronological (though incomplete) history of the most formidable military in history. More recent generations of graduates of American learning institutions would do well to read a historical portrayal of America’s Best, sans the airbrush.
With that said, this book is not without its flaws. While it provides a fine overview of the many conflicts in which American soldiers have participated, it suffers from a lack of substantive discussion or analysis. The author loudly states his reverence for the average American grunt, but uses precious little in the way of primary sources to illustrate his point and spends most of the book talking about overarching political events or critiquing the actions of the generals and politicians. He seems to take many of his own presumptions for granted – for example, the South had a right to secede from the Union, or the U.S. should have been pursued a more aggressive imperialist policy in the antebellum period – without supporting his claims with evidence. The author seemed to suffer from bipolar disorder, vacillating between a factual overview of American military efforts and a conservative rejection of politically correct liberal histories.
However, one of the reasons I like this book is because the author chose not to go through the politically correct route, and his book is refreshingly different from most other books because of its admitted bias. For all that, any history buff reading this book will probably learn something new, and while I think the author has done an honest job in researching and presenting his facts, his interpretation of certain facts may serve to take away from his work in the great scream of things. But then, this is how history is to be told; give the honest facts, both positive and negative, and let the chips fall where they may.