America's small-scale, undeclared imperial wars have played an essential but little-appreciated role in its growth as a world power. This text charts the history of these and argues that the US should train for such conflict as inevitable, rather than focusing on improbable large-scale wars. Reviewed and debated everywhere, this book has become a key volume in the case for a new policy of interventionism. America's "small wars," "imperial wars," or, as the Pentagon now terms them, "low-intensity conflicts," have played an essential but little-appreciated role in its growth as a world power. Beginning with Jefferson's expedition against the Barbary Pirates, Max Boot tells the exciting stories of our sometimes minor but often bloody landings in Samoa, the Philippines, China, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Mexico, Russia, and elsewhere. Along the way he sketches colorful portraits of little-known military heroes such as Stephen Decatur, "Fighting Fred" Funston, and Smedley Butler. From 1800 to the present day, such undeclared wars have made up the vast majority of our military engagements. Yet the military has often resisted preparing itself for small wars, preferring instead to train for big conflicts that seldom come. Boot re-examines the tragedy of Vietnam through a "small war" prism.