Perilous Glory: The Rise of Western Military Power

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Yale University Press, 2011 - Military art and science - 467 pages
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This expansive book surveys the history of warfare from ancient Mesopotamia to the Gulf War in search of a deeper understanding of the origins of Western warfare and the reasons for its eminence today. Historian John France explores the experience of war around the globe, in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. His bold conclusions cast doubt on well-entrenched attitudes about the development of military strength, the impact of culture on warfare, the future of Western dominance, and much more.

Taking into account wars waged by virtually all civilizations since the beginning of recorded history, France finds that despite enormous cultural differences, war was conducted in distinctly similar ways right up to the Military Revolution and the pursuit of technological warfare in the nineteenth century. Since then, European and American culture has shaped warfare, but only because we have achieved a sense of distance from it, France argues. He warns that the present eminence of U.S. power is much more precarious and accidental than commonly believed. The notion that war is a distant phenomenon is only an illusion, and our cultural attitudes must change accordingly.

 

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Perilous Glory: The Rise of Western Military Power

User Review  - Brian Odom - Book Verdict

Eschewing the dominant thesis about Western military history, as seen in Victor Davis Hanson's The Western Way of War, that Western military supremacy springs from cultural and democratic origins ... Read full review

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Contents

ILLUSTRATIONS AND MAPS
PREFACE
CHAPTER ONE
CHAPTER TWO
CHAPTER THREE
CHAPTER FOUR
CHAPTER FIVE
CHAPTER SIX
CHAPTER EIGHT
CHAPTER NINE
CHAPTER TEN
CHAPTER ELEVEN
NOTES
FURTHER READING
TABLES
INDEX

CHAPTER SEVEN

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About the author (2011)

John France is professor emeritus, Department of History and Classics, Swansea University. He lives in Swansea, UK.

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