I drove down to Knoxville, Tennessee today to run a few errands and decided to hit a couple of the bookstores on the west end of town. For those of you who haven’t spent much time there, Knoxville probably has more big bookstores than any other city of comparable size, and some cities much larger—so many, in fact, that a few years ago the local weekly ran a feature story asking whether the place could sustain them all.
Anyway, while browsing around the area’s biggest used bookstore, I got slapped with a stunning reminder of the lopsided state of American military historiography. This place has a pretty substantial history section: world, European, U.S., regional, and so on. It has, also, a considerable military history section, which for some bizarre reason is on the other end of the store, nowhere near the other historical books.
I’d guess that slightly more than half of the titles in the military section are Civil War books. World War II has the second biggest share, with a good selection of other twentieth-century and international topics.
Nestled among these titles is a rather small section of shelf space with this label: “U.S. WARS PRIOR TO WWI.”
That would be King Philip’s War, King William’s War, Queen Anne’s War, King George’s War, the French and Indian War, the Cherokee War, the Revolutionary War, the Northwest Indian War, the Chickamauga conflicts, the Quasi-War, the Barbary naval actions, the War of 1812, the Creek War, the Black Hawk War, the Seminole Wars, the Texas War of Independence, the Mexican War, the battles with the Sioux and Nez Perce, the Spanish-American War, the Philippine War, a few interventions in Latin America and China, and various other little spats that flared up from time to time.
So, are we gonna get to D-Day here, or what?