'America's Splendid Little Wars: A Short History of U.S. Military Engagements: 1975-2000' by Peter Huchthausen
Reviewed by H.W. Brands
Sunday, July 20, 2003; Page BW03
AMERICA'S SPLENDID LITTLE WARS
A Short History of U.S. Military Engagements: 1975-2000
By Peter Huchthausen
Viking. 254 pp. $25.95
It is in the nature of well-crafted short histories to leave readers wishing for more. Here one wants additional information on the political context in which U.S. military operations took place. Huchthausen's brevity occasionally leads him into questionable interpretations. He writes that the Shah of Iran was threatened by a Soviet-backed coup in 1953; in fact, the Shah was threatened not by a coup but by the popularity of the elected prime minister, Mohammad Mossadeq. When Huchthausen asserts that Saddam Hussein's behavior in the months before Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait was growing more "unpredictable," he should acknowledge that this was partly because of the mixed signals Saddam was getting from the first Bush administration.
H.W. Brands's most recent book is "Woodrow Wilson."