The United States has been fighting wars constantly since invading Afghanistan in 2001. This nonstop warfare is far less exceptional than it might seem: the United States has been at war or has invaded other countries almost every year since independence.

In his new book, The United States of War, David Vine traces this pattern of bloody conflict from Columbus’s 1494 arrival in Guantanamo Bay through the 250-year expansion of a global US empire. Drawing on historical and firsthand anthropological research in fourteen countries and territories, The United States of War demonstrates how US leaders across generations have locked the United States in a self-perpetuating system of permanent war by constructing the world’s largest-ever collection of foreign military bases—a global matrix that has made offensive interventionist wars more likely.

Beyond exposing the profit-making desires, political interests, racism, and toxic masculinity underlying the country’s relationship to war and empire, The United States of War shows how the long history of U.S. military expansion shapes our daily lives, from today’s multi-trillion–dollar wars to the pervasiveness of violence and militarism in everyday U.S. life. The book concludes by confronting the catastrophic toll of American wars—which have left millions dead, wounded, and displaced—while offering proposals for how we can end the fighting.

What inspired Vine to write the book? Hear the story behind The United States of War.

David Vine will donate all proceeds from this book’s royalties to nonprofit organizations serving victims of war.

Praise for the Book

“A wide-ranging survey of the American way of war, expensive and incessant, in support of an empire we’re not supposed to have…. Vine offers much to ponder about our militarized foreign policy and its deep antecedents.” — Kirkus Reviews

“While the idea that the global expansion of military bases corresponds with the rise of US empire may seem obvious, this book convincingly shows that it is both consequence and cause. Vine brilliantly documents the way widespread global military positions — which are always sold to the public as defensive — are, by their very nature, offensive and become their own, self-fulfilling ecosystems of conquest. . . . One walks away convinced that the US empire and its global network of bases must be dismantled if we are to have any hope of putting a stop to the devastating cycle of endless US wars and meddling.” — Jacobin

“Military expansion, war without end, and the pervasiveness of violence in American lives: Vine offers countless insights into this uniquely American way of war.” — Foreword Reviews

“Brisk, sweeping, and utterly persuasive.” — Andrew Bacevich, author of The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory

“Akin to reading the very best of essay writing.” — Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

About the Author

David Vine is Professor of Anthropology at American University. His other books include Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World and Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia.

His other writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Guardian, Politico, Mother Jones, and the Boston Globe, among others. David helped write and compile Militarization: A Reader and The Counter-Counterinsurgency Manual. David is a board member of the Costs of War Project. David received his PhD and MA degrees from the City University of New York’s Graduate Center. David feels at home in many places but has lived for much of his life in New York City, Oakland, and the Washington, DC area, where he was briefly a dancing waiter.

Visit the author’s website for more information about the author, upcoming events, and the book: