Knockout Narratives Sale
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    The Powell's Playlist | January 5, 2015

    Tim Johnston: IMG The Powell's Playlist: Songs for Not Sleeping by Tim Johnston



    I once told a medical-profession-type lady that I didn't sleep well, that I awoke all through the night and was awake for hours. "What do you do... Continue »

    spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$11.50
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Local Warehouse Military- Napoleonic Wars

The First Total War: Napoleon's Europe and the Birth of Warfare as We Know It

by

The First Total War: Napoleon's Europe and the Birth of Warfare as We Know It Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The twentieth century is usually seen as "the century of total war." But as the historian David Bell argues in this landmark work, the phenomenon acutally began much earlier, in the era of muskets, cannons, and sailing ships — in the age of Napoleon.

In a sweeping, evocative narrative, Bell takes us from campaigns of "extermination" in the blood-soaked fields of western France to savage street fighting in ruined Spanish cities to central European battlefields where tens of thousands died in a single day. Between 1792 and 1815, Europe plunged into an abyss of destruction.

It was during this time, Bell argues, that our modern attitudes toward war were born. In the eighteenth century, educated Europeans thought war was disappearing from the civilized world. So when large-scale conflict broke out during the French Revolution, they could not resist treating it as "the last war" — a final, terrible spasm of redemptive violence that would usher in a reign of perpetual peace. As this brilliant interpretive history shows, a war for such stakes could only be apocalyptic, fought without restraint or mercy.

Ever since, the dream of perpetual peace and the nightmare of total war have been bound tightly together in the Western world — right down to the present day, in which the hopes for an "end to history" after the cold war quickly gave way to renewed fears of full-scale slaughter.

With a historian's keen insight and a journalist's flair for detail, Bell exposes the surprising parallels between Napoleon's day and our own — including the way that ambition "wars of liberation," such as the one in Iraq, can degenerate into a gruesome guerrilla conflict. The result is a book that is as timely and important as it is unforgettable.

Review:

"Bell combines his roles as professor of history at Johns Hopkins and contributing editor for the New Republic in this interpretive study arguing that history's first total war was waged during the Napoleonic era. Scholars have increasingly stressed the global aspects of the network of conflicts extending across North America, South Asia and Europe during that time. Bell goes further, presenting a fundamental transformation of war from an ordinary aspect of human existence to an apocalyptic experience whose 'terrible sublimity' tested societies and individuals to their limits and ultimately became a redemptive experience. Total war developed not in the context of nationalism or revolutionary zeal, but in the fundamental sense of a 'culture of war' driving participants in the direction of complete engagement and total abandonment of restraint. Ironically, the intellectual roots of this modern militarism are in the Enlightenment belief in the coming of perpetual peace. Revolutionary France transformed a moral concept into a practical one: war to emancipate humanity from its past. Bell's conclusion that this mentality survived two world wars is open to challenge, yet his appeal for the rediscovery of restraint and limitation is particularly relevant at a time of nuclear proliferation and apocalyptic rhetoric." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Once upon a time, there was a boy called Karl von Clausewitz, who was a cadet in the Prussian army. In 1792, at the ripe age of 13, he saw action against the French at the Battle of Valmy. Naturally, he was much impressed. Forever after, he remained convinced that Valmy and the following campaigns, lasting until 1815, were the greatest the world had ever seen. Clausewitz saw the Napoleonic wars as... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Once upon a time, there was a boy called Karl von Clausewitz, who was a cadet in the Prussian army. In 1792, at the ripe age of 13, he saw action against the French at the Battle of Valmy. Naturally, he was much impressed. Forever after, he remained convinced that Valmy and the following campaigns, lasting until 1815, were the greatest the world had ever seen. Clausewitz saw the Napoleonic wars as... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Synopsis:

The twentieth century is usually seen as and#147;the century of total war,and#8221; but as the historian David Bell argues in this landmark work, the phenomenon actually began much earlier, in the age of Napoleon. Bell takes us from campaigns of and#147;exterminationand#8221; in the blood-soaked fields of western France to savage street fighting in ruined Spanish cities to central European battlefields where tens of thousands died in a single day. Between 1792 and 1815, Europe plunged into an abyss of destruction, and our modern attitudes toward war were born. Ever since, the dream of perpetual peace and the nightmare of total war have been bound tightly together in the Western worldand#151;where and#147;wars of liberation,and#8221; such as the one in Iraq, can degenerate into gruesome guerrilla conflict.

With a historianand#8217;s keen insight and a journalistand#8217;s flair for detail, Bell exposes the surprising parallels between Napoleonand#8217;s day and our own in a book that is as timely and important as it is unforgettable.

Synopsis:

As Bell argues in this tour de force of interpretive history, nearly every modern aspect of war took root during the Enlightenment and the French Revolution: conscription, unconditional surrender, total disregard for the rules of combat, mobilization of civilians, guerrilla warfare, and the perverse notion of war fought for the sake of peace.

About the Author

David A. Bell is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Johns Hopkins and a contributing editor for the New Republic. A graduate of Harvard College, he completed his Ph.D. at Princeton and taught for several years at Yale. Bell has written for the New York Times, Slate, and Time, and was featured on the History Channel's program on the French Revolution.

Table of Contents

Maps and Illustrations viii Acknowledgements ix

Introduction 1 1. Officers, Gentlemen, and Poets 21 2. Conscience, Commerce, and History 52 3. Declaring Peace; Declaring War 84 4. The Last Crusade 120 5. The Exterminating Angels 154 6. The Lure of the Eagle 186 7. Days of Glory 223 8. Warand#8217;s Red Altar 263 Epilogue 302

Notes 321 Bibliography 360 Index 397

Product Details

ISBN:
9780618349654
Subtitle:
Napoleon's Europe and the Birth of Warfare as We Know It
Author:
Bell, David A
Author:
Bell, David A.
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Location:
Boston
Subject:
Europe - France
Subject:
History
Subject:
Military - Napoleonic Wars
Subject:
France
Subject:
Military history, Modern
Subject:
Napoleonic wars, 1800-1815
Subject:
Napoleon - Military leadership
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
January 2007
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
20 b/w halftones
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
8.63 x 5.56 x 1 in 0.85 lb

Other books you might like

  1. The Forever War
    Used Hardcover $8.95
  2. The Changing Face of War: Lessons of... Used Hardcover $15.50
  3. Tales from a Tin Can: The USS Dale... Used Hardcover $8.50
  4. Cinderella Army: The Canadians in... New Trade Paper $39.25
  5. Battle Orders #05: US Army in the... New Mass Market $26.00
  6. At Leningrad's Gates: The Story of a... Used Hardcover $6.95

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Military » Napoleonic Wars

The First Total War: Napoleon's Europe and the Birth of Warfare as We Know It Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$11.50 In Stock
Product details 432 pages Houghton Mifflin Company - English 9780618349654 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Bell combines his roles as professor of history at Johns Hopkins and contributing editor for the New Republic in this interpretive study arguing that history's first total war was waged during the Napoleonic era. Scholars have increasingly stressed the global aspects of the network of conflicts extending across North America, South Asia and Europe during that time. Bell goes further, presenting a fundamental transformation of war from an ordinary aspect of human existence to an apocalyptic experience whose 'terrible sublimity' tested societies and individuals to their limits and ultimately became a redemptive experience. Total war developed not in the context of nationalism or revolutionary zeal, but in the fundamental sense of a 'culture of war' driving participants in the direction of complete engagement and total abandonment of restraint. Ironically, the intellectual roots of this modern militarism are in the Enlightenment belief in the coming of perpetual peace. Revolutionary France transformed a moral concept into a practical one: war to emancipate humanity from its past. Bell's conclusion that this mentality survived two world wars is open to challenge, yet his appeal for the rediscovery of restraint and limitation is particularly relevant at a time of nuclear proliferation and apocalyptic rhetoric." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,
The twentieth century is usually seen as and#147;the century of total war,and#8221; but as the historian David Bell argues in this landmark work, the phenomenon actually began much earlier, in the age of Napoleon. Bell takes us from campaigns of and#147;exterminationand#8221; in the blood-soaked fields of western France to savage street fighting in ruined Spanish cities to central European battlefields where tens of thousands died in a single day. Between 1792 and 1815, Europe plunged into an abyss of destruction, and our modern attitudes toward war were born. Ever since, the dream of perpetual peace and the nightmare of total war have been bound tightly together in the Western worldand#151;where and#147;wars of liberation,and#8221; such as the one in Iraq, can degenerate into gruesome guerrilla conflict.

With a historianand#8217;s keen insight and a journalistand#8217;s flair for detail, Bell exposes the surprising parallels between Napoleonand#8217;s day and our own in a book that is as timely and important as it is unforgettable.

"Synopsis" by , As Bell argues in this tour de force of interpretive history, nearly every modern aspect of war took root during the Enlightenment and the French Revolution: conscription, unconditional surrender, total disregard for the rules of combat, mobilization of civilians, guerrilla warfare, and the perverse notion of war fought for the sake of peace.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.