America's Elite - US Special Forces from the American Revolution to the Present Day, Chris McNab

America's Elite - US Special Forces from the American Revolution to the Present Day, Chris McNab

This book looks at the history US Special Forces, from the pre-revolutionary Rangers (including the famous Roger's Rangers), their revolutionary war successors, sharpshooters of the Civil War through the various elite units of the Second World War and on to the Vietnam and post 9-11 eras. 

Much of the text comes from earlier Osprey volumes. This includes the Second World War Cabanatuan Raid, taken from Raid 3, Civil War sharpshooters from Warrior 60, some of the Vietnam section comes from Fortress 33 (Special Forces Camps) and from Warrior 28 (Green Beret in Vietnam). Presumably much of the remaining text comes from other volumes.

This isn't automatically a problem - the similar volume on Operation Barbarossa is excellent - but it does concern me that there isn’t a list of the original sources anywhere in the book, making it hard to judge if you already have all or part of the material included here. Because the text has many different authors and comes from different books it can be rather uneven in pace - some sections focus on a small number of individual actions, others provide more of an overview.

The pre-existing text is linked by well written bridging sections, so the joins are rarely noticeable. The test is supported by an impressively wide range of contemporary photos and art, Osprey illustrations, maps and diagrams. This is a good single volume history of US Special Forces, as long as you don’t already have the earlier books used as its sources. 

Colonial and Civil War Warriors
Elite Troops of World War II
Vietnam and Cold War Special Forces
New Wars

Author: Chris McNab
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 376
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2013

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