Book Review: In the Shadows of Victory: America's Forgotten Military Leaders, 1776-1876


by Thomas Phillips

Philadelphia: Casemate, 2016. Pp. xx, 288. Illus., maps, biblio., index. $32.95. ISBN: 1612003605

Some Overlooked American Commanders

Phillips, a retired Air Force colonel and independent historian, is the author of several interesting several books, including Battlefields of Nebraska. In the Shadows of Victory, the first of a planned two volume set, Phillips gives us a look at some successful commanders in the first century of American independence, who despite having attained a degree of fame in their day, he argues are today largely forgotten.

Phillips covers over 30 officers. Some them are rather more obscure than others, depending on the background of the reader, anyone with more than a passing interest in American military history will know who most of them are, but while all of the men covered may not have received as much attention as some others in popular memory, his choices are generally sound. So although such men as Nathanael Greene, Dan Morgan, Jacob Brown, William Worth, John Wool Montgomery Meigs, Emory Upton, and Nelson A. Miles, are pretty well known to historians, they’re hardly household names, and even Winfield Scott’s services in the War of 1812 and the Civil War tend to be overlooked. On the other hand, some other commanders are certainly more “forgotten than George Thomas, Phil Sheridan, and Joshua Chamberlain, but on the whole Phillips has made some excellent picks.

The men are grouped according to their wars. For each officer, Phillips gives us a discussion of his services in the war, and then a “Before and After” look at his life, which helps set them into the framework of America in its first century. He also includes explanations of contemporary military terms and organization, to held the reader understand some of the events. In the Shadows of Victory is particularly useful for the novice student of American military history.

Note: The companion volume, America's Forgotten Military Leaders: The Spanish-American War to World War II, will be published in late 2017


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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