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Examining nine landmark battles from ancient to modern times--from Salamis, where outnumbered Greeks devastated the slave army of Xerxes, to Cortes’s conquest of Mexico to the Tet offensive--Victor Davis Hanson explains why the armies of the West have been the most lethal and effective of any fighting forces in the world. Looking beyond popular explanations such as geography or superior technology, Hanson argues that it is in fact Western culture and values–the tradition of dissent, the value placed on inventiveness and adaptation, the concept of citizenship–which have consistently produced superior arms and soldiers. Offering riveting battle narratives and a balanced perspective that avoids simple triumphalism, Carnage and Culture demonstrates how armies cannot be separated from the cultures that produce them and explains why an army produced by a free culture will always have the advantage. From the Trade Paperback edition.
It has long been acknowledged that the study of war and warfare demands careful consideration of technology, institutions, social organization, and more. But, for some, the so-called "war and society" approach increasingly included everything but explained nothing, because it all too often seemed to ignore the events on the battlefield itself. The military historians in Warfare and Culture in World History return us to the battlefield, but they do so through a deep examination of the role of culture in shaping military institutions and military choices. Collected here are some of the most provocative recent efforts to analyze warfare through a cultural lens, drawing on and aggressively expanding traditional scholarship on war and society through sophisticated cultural analysis. With chapters ranging from an organizational analysis of American Civil War field armies to the soldiers' culture of late Republican Rome and debates within Ming Chinese officialdom over extermination versus pacification, this one volume provides a full range of case studies of how culture, whether societal, strategic, organizational, or military, could shape not only military institutions but also actual battlefield choices.
We tend to measure war's winners and losers in terms of major engagements. Gettysburg, Trafalgar, Midway, Waterloo, Agincourt, Dien Bien Phu - all resonate in the literature of war and in our imaginations as either tide-turning or decisive. But what actually signifies a "decisive" battle? The Allure of Battle by Cathal J. Nolan systematically examines a series of great battles, each traditionally perceived as the "turning point" of the war in which they occurred and shows how and where these battles fit into the histories of those wars, and into military history as a whole. In eachcase, even large and important battles have only contributed to victory or defeat by accelerating the erosion of the other side's defences. In massive conflicts, a shared characteristic emerges: prolonged stalemate created from an uneven military balance, broken only over time and by a series ofsmaller engagements.Rather than claim to have discovered linear or universal laws about warfare, or some overarching "theory of war," this book places battles within the context of the wider conflict in which they took place. In the process it help corrects a distorted view of battle's place in war - replacing popularimages of the "decisive battle" with somber appreciation of the commitments and human sacrifices made in war. Accessible, provocative, and entertaining, The Allure of Battle will sparks fresh debate about the history, strategy, and conduct of warfare.
Battle: A History of Combat and Culture spans the globe and the centuries to explore the way ideas shape the conduct of warfare. Drawing its examples from Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, and America, John A. Lynn challenges the belief that technology has been the dominant influence on combat from ancient times to the present day. In battle, ideas can be more far more important than bullets or bombs. Carl von Clausewitz proclaimed that war is politics, but even more basically, war is culture. The hard reality of armed conflict is formed by - and, in turn, forms - a culture's values, assumptions, and expectations about fighting. The author examines the relationship between the real and the ideal, arguing that feedback between the two follows certain discernable paths. Battle rejects the currently fashionable notion of a "Western way of warfare" and replaces it with more nuanced concepts of varied and evolving cultural patterns of combat. After considering history, Lynn finally asks how the knowledge gained might illuminate our understanding of the war on terrorism.
This clear, readable introduction to the popular field of military history is now available in a refreshed and updated second edition. It shows that military history encompasses not just accounts of campaigns and battles but includes a wide range of perspectives on all aspects of past military organization and activity. In concise chapters it explains the fundamental features of the field, including: The history of military history, showing how it has developed from ancient times to the present; The key ideas and concepts that shape analysis of military activity; it argues that military history is as methodologically and philosophically sophisticated as any field of history; The current controversies about which military historians argue, and why they are important; A survey of who does military history, where it is taught and published, and how it is practiced; A look at where military history is headed in the future. The new edition of What is Military History? provides an up-to-date bibliography and cutting edge new case studies, including counterinsurgency, and as such continues to be ideal for classes in military history and in historiography generally, as well as for anyone interested in learning more about the dynamics of a rich and growing area of study.
For the past three decades, many history professors have allowed their biases to distort the way America’s past is taught. These intellectuals have searched for instances of racism, sexism, and bigotry in our history while downplaying the greatness of America’s patriots and the achievements of “dead white men.” As a result, more emphasis is placed on Harriet Tubman than on George Washington; more about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II than about D-Day or Iwo Jima; more on the dangers we faced from Joseph McCarthy than those we faced from Josef Stalin. A Patriot’s History of the United States corrects those doctrinaire biases. In this groundbreaking book, America’s discovery, founding, and development are reexamined with an appreciation for the elements of public virtue, personal liberty, and private property that make this nation uniquely successful. This book offers a long-overdue acknowledgment of America’s true and proud history.
A substantial amount of work has been carried out to explore the military systems of Western Europe during the early modern era, but the military trajectories of the Asian states have received relatively little attention. This study provides the first comparative study of the major Asian empires' military systems and explores the extent of the impact of West European military transition on the extra-European world. Kaushik Roy conducts a comparative analysis of the armies and navies of the large agrarian bureaucratic empires of Asia, focusing on the question of how far the Asian polities were able to integrate gunpowder weapons in their military systems. Military Transition in Early Modern Asia, 1400-1750 offers important insights into the common patterns in war making across the region, and the impact of firearms and artillery.

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