This fall, University of Missouri-Rolla author and military historian John
C. McManus will release his sixth book on military history, a down-to-earth
study that covers everything from the French and Indian War through the war in
Iraq. The book, titled U.S. Military History for Dummies, will be
released Nov. 12.
Titles in the For Dummies series, published by John Wiley & Sons, are
known for their promise of simplifying topics that are often viewed as
confusing or intimidating. Topics range from health and money-making to travel
and advanced computing.
U.S. Military History for Dummies tells the story of military history
in the United States in a lively, entertaining fashion with sidebars, special
icons and a bit of the author’s opinion. According to McManus, the book is
intended for anyone who has even the slightest interest in U.S. military
“If you are completely new to the topic of U.S. military history, the book
is a wonderful, engaging introduction to the subject," McManus says. “On
the other hand, if you know a lot about military history, you’ll still find
plenty of new information."
McManus believes the book would make a perfect textbook for an introductory
“I structured the book, to some extent, the same way I structure my U.S.
military history course (History 280)," explains McManus. “Believe it or
not, there are very few good books that explain the whole story. There is
plenty of basic information for beginners and also a lot of advanced stuff for
In addition to narrations about specific battles and the latest thinking on
a broad range of military topics, the book includes special sections in
chapters focusing on the Revolutionary War, World War II and Vietnam that
discuss how different groups of historians have, over time, interpreted the
significance and meaning of those particular wars.
“The events of history may not change, but the way we look at them sure
does, and this book stresses that."
The book also includes McManus’ top-10 lists of the best and worst generals
in U.S. military history and the best films on the subject, engaging histories
of each military service, the military’s role in peacetime, and discussion
about the American home front and battle front in times of war.
“I also wrote a special chapter about the American combat experience, since
that is my particular area of expertise," McManus says.
McManus is the author of five previous books on U.S. military history:
Alamo in the Ardennes, The Americans at Normandy: The Summer of
1944–The American War from the Normandy Beaches to Falaise, The
Americans at D-Day: The American Experience at the Normandy Invasion,
The Deadly Brotherhood: The American Combat Soldier in World War II and
Deadly Sky: The American Combat Airman in World War II. A seventh book
focusing on the 7th Infantry Regiment will be published in May.
In October, McManus was named one of History News Network’s Top Young
Historians. He began his career at UMR as a history instructor in 2000 and was
named assistant professor in 2003. He was named associate professor in 2007. He
teaches courses on the Civil War, World War II, the Vietnam War, U.S. military
history and the modern American combat experience. He received the UMR history
and political science department’s first Faculty Excellence Award, and two
campus faculty excellence awards.