Shot against the backdrop of the presidential campaign, Simon Schama travels through America to dig deep into the conflicts of its history to understand what is at stake right now.In American War, Simon reveals how different the American attitude to war is from what outsiders assume it to be. Two of the founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, disagreed about whether America should even have a professional army - a division still evident when Simon visits America's premier military academy at West Point. From the Civil War right through to Mark Twain's denunciation of President Teddy Roosevelt's imperial adventure in the Phillipines, American wars have inspired profound debate. And nowhere more so in the 2008 election than San Antonio, Texas, nicknamed Military City because of its high population of veterans and serving soldiers, where Simon finds feelings about the war are deeply divided. As with the great war elections of the past, it's a debate which forces America to dig deep and rediscover what it stands for.