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If you are interested in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and/or the American Civil War, this book is a must read. It is a very easy to read for a nineteenth century book. It is more more about political science than actual tactics, even though the author was a tactical genius of the first order. At this time (Dec. 31, 2010) many are thinking about American military policy and how it needs to change in the future, a study of the ideas of Emory Upton would enrich the national discussion.
General Emory Upton (1839-1881) was a Civil War hero, largely responsible for the Union Army successes at Spotsylvania in May 1864. A great tactician, I believe he could have beaten Nathan Bedford Forest at chess in five moves.
On the negative side, Upton doesn't appreciate the effect of the McCormick reaper upon American warfare. Prior to the mechanization of American agriculture in the 1850's, large professionalized armies were impossible. The reliance of Washington or Jackson on militia had as much to do with feeding an army as it did with popular attitudes toward the military.
On the positive side, Upton must be studied if we are to get beyond the mythology which surrounds the American Civil War. Military success and failure arises from careful observation and analysis, to Upton. If the nation must fight wars, the nation has an obligation to act intelligently to husband human life and minimize suffering.
A person who hates war and is concerned with democratic governance will like Upton. Upton observes a long war tends to lead a government into despotism, but despotism doesn't increase military effectiveness.
Download on you e-book and read at your leisure.