Book Review: Hitting the Military History Trail: VFW's Travel Guide to Battlefields, Museums, & Historic Sites


by Shannon L. W. Hanson

Kansas City: VFW Publications, 2010. Pp. 192. Illus., maps, biblio., index. $19.50 paper. ISBN: 0974364339

Touring North America’s Military History

Hanson’s very handy guide to historic sites across North America with a generally military theme was originally published around 2002. It covers battle fields, museums, preserved ships, forts, grave sites and monuments, and the like.

The book is arranged in 56 “chapters”, covering each state, the District of Columbia, and five Canadian provinces; the limitation to North America unfortunately omits sites in Puerto Rico, Guam, and other American territories. Some regions have only two or three sites, while several have many more. Unfortunately, the effort to include some sites in every state mean that the coverage does not necessarily accurately reflect the tides of history. The entries for several states with numerous important sites, New Jersey (where more Revolutionary War battles were fought than anywhere else), or New York (where more of America’s battles were fought until the Civil War), and Virginia and Tennessee (with their plethora of Civil War sites), lack coverage of many important historic sites, in order to include places of lesser historical impact in other states.

Each entry has a brief description of the importance of the site, and often a picture as well. From time to time, little side bars offer profiles of some who served from a state – Harry S Truman, Audie Murphy – or provide interesting bits of trivia or advice. Although there are occasional errors (e.g., the USS Constellation in Baltimore is not the ship of that name launched in 1797), this is a very handy book to have around when on a long road trip.

Although reissued several times now, Hitting the Military History Trail seems to be virtually unchanged from the first edition, but is still a very useful book for any traveler with an interest in military history.


StrategyPage reviews are shared with The New York Military Affairs Symposium


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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