Woodrow Wilson's Wars

The Making of America's First Modern Commander-in-Chief

Hardcover $44.95
Member Price $26.97 Save 40%
Book: Cover Type


Woodrow Wilson’s presidential administration (1913-1921) was marked not only by America’s participation in World War I, but also by numerous armed interventions by the United States in other countries. Spanning the globe, these actions included the years-long occupations of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, a border war with Mexico, and the use of Marines guarding American citizens during unrest in Chinese cities. Author Mark Benbow examines what these American policy decisions and military adventures reveal of Wilson as commander-in-chief, and the powers and duties of the office.  

Wilson tended to let his cabinet officials operate their own departments as they wished as long as their actions did not contradict his overall policies. However, as regards foreign policy, Wilson took an active role overseeing American diplomats. His policy toward the military followed a similar pattern, though sometimes military commanders’ actions. affected Wilson’s diplomatic goals. Benbow focuses on those conflicts between military reality, the pragmatic needs of policy, and the larger goals of crafting a lasting foreign policy.  

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

“Woodrow Wilson was the first U.S. president to oversee the nation's participation in an overseas war, and the precedents he set have influenced every commander-in-chief since. Thanks to Mark Benbow, we now have a comprehensive study of Wilson's pattern-setting relationship with the U.S. military, which began to take shape long before Congress declared war on Germany in April 1917.” —Trygve Throntveit, author of Power without Victory: Woodrow Wilson and the American Internationalist Experiment
“Mark Benbow has done an excellent job of telling the story and analyzing the many elements that contributed to Woodrow Wilson's performance as commander-in-chief. He is even handed and insightful in viewing the fumbles, foibles, and feats of Wilson's on-the-job education as this commander. Despite everything that went wrong, Wilson won America's first big overseas war, and Benbow gives credit where it is due.” —John Milton Cooper, Jr., professor emeritus of history, University of Wisconsin-Madison, author of Woodrow Wilson: A Biography
“In this most outstanding study of Woodrow Wilson as commander-in-chief, Mark Benbow examines the mixed record of the president's many military interventions. These were characterized by his close supervision of diplomatic goals but not of military strategy and by his inadequate military planning and preparations, notably during World War I.” —Lloyd E. Ambrosius, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and author of Woodrow Wilson and American Internationalism