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Description - A History Of Warfare by John Keegan

In this brilliantly readable and controversial book, Britain's most distinguished and widely-read military historian provides not merely a history of warfare but an analysis of world history, and the role that man's impulse to war has played in it. After thirty years of reading, research, teaching and commentating on military affairs, A History of Warfare brings together in a single volume the themes explored in such earlier best-selling books of his as The Face of Battle and The Mask of Command and adds to them the insights gained in his visits to many of the world's major battlefields, a lifetime's friendship with soldiers of different armies and experience as a war correspondent in the Lebanon and the Gulf. John Keegan believes that the history of warfare has for too long been written either as specialist study of 'war as the continuation of politics' or as a horror story. Its place at the heart of human cultures and the enormous variety of forms it takes in different societies has too often been ignored. The narrative of the book moves from the strangely ritualistic combat of the Stone Age peoples to the nihilistic destructiveness of mass warfare in the modern age, in an historical sweep which covers human aggression in variety of contexts: the rule-bound battles of Roman legions, the power of an 'idea' in warmaking by Islam, the unrestrained aggressiveness of the steppe horse peoples from Attila to Genghis Khan and the attempts of Chinese civilisations to attain its ends without violence. The author demonstrates how particular cultures and their styles of warmaking go hand in hand. He also attaches his analysis to the great changes in military technology - the discoveries of bronze and iron, the taming of the horse to the chariot and riding, the introduction of gunpowder and the mobilisation of science and industry to produce the weapons of mass destruction of the twentieth century, culminating in the development of the atomic bomb. A History of Warfare stresses that warmaking, for all its destructiveness, has been an inescapable feature of human culture since organised societies emerged. It also recognises, however, that man has consistently sought to limit the effects of his own capacity for violence and that now, in the nuclear age, he has no alternative to making limitation effective if he is to survive.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781844137497
ISBN-10: 184413749X
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 28mm)
Pages: 448
Imprint: Pimlico
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 7-Oct-2004
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - John Keegan

John Keegan is the Defence Editor of the Daily Telegraph and Britain's foremost military historian. The Reith Lecturer in 1998, he is the author of many bestselling books including The Face of Battle, Six Armies in Normandy, Battle at Sea, The Second World War, A History of Warfare (awarded the Duff Cooper Prize), Warpaths, The Battle for History, The First World War, and most recently, Intelligence in War. For many years John Keegan was the Senior Lecturer in Military History at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and he has been a Fellow of Princeton University and Delmas Distinguished Professor of History at Vassar. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He received the OBE in the Gulf War honours list, and was knighted in the Millennium honours list in 1999. John Keegan died in August 2012.

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