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Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Powerby Victor Davis Hanson
Synopses & Reviews
Examining nine landmark battles from ancient to modern times--from Salamis, where outnumbered Greeks devastated the slave army of Xerxes, to Cortess 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.
Through vivid depictions of historic battles, Hanson reveals the connection between the West's superiority on the battlefield and its rise to world dominance. of photos.
About the Author
Victor Davis Hanson is a military historian who is a professor of classics at California State University, Fresno. He has written several scholarly and popular books on ancient history and classical warfare, including The Other Greeks, The Western Way of War, and The Soul of Battle. He lives in Selma, California.
Table of Contents
List of Maps
Why the West Has Won
Enlightened Thugs · The Primacy of Battle · Ideas of the West ·The Western Way of War
PART ONE · CREATION
Freedom—or “To Live as You Please” · Salamis, September 28, 480 B.C.
The Drowned · The Achaemenids and Freedom ·The Persian Wars and the Strategy of Salamis · The Battle ·Eleutheria · The Legacy of Salamis
Decisive Battle · Gaugamela, October 1, 331 B.C.
Angles of Vision · The Macedonian Military Machine · Killing Spree · Decisive Battle and Western Warfare
Citizen Soldiers · Cannae, August 2, 216 B.C.
A Summer Slaughter · Hannibals Jaws · Carthage and the West · Legions of Rome · The Idea of a Nation-in-Arms ·“Rulers of the Entire World”—the Legacy of Civic Militarism
PART TWO · CONTINUITY
Landed Infantry · Poitiers, October 11, 732
Horse Versus Foot · The Wall · The Hammer · Islam Ascendant ·Dark Ages? · Infantry, Property, and Citizenship · Poitiers and Beyond
Technology and the Wages of Reason · Tenochtitlán, June 24, 1520-August 13, 1521
The Battles for Mexico City · Aztec War · The Mind of the Conquistadors · Spanish Rationalism · Why Did the Castilians Win? · Reason and War
The Market—or Capitalism Kills · Lepanto, October 7, 1571
Galley War · Legends of Lepanto · Europe and the Ottomans · Capitalism, the Ottoman Economy, and Islam · War and the Market
PART THREE · CONTROL
Discipline—or Warriors Are Not Always Soldiers · Rorkes Drift, January 22-23, 1879
Killing Fields · The Imperial Way · Zulu Power and Impotence · Courage Is Not Necessarily Discipline
Individualism · Midway, June 4-8, 1942
Floating Infernos · The Annihilation of the Devastators ·The Imperial Fleet Moves Out · Western and Non-Western Japan ·Spontaneity and Individual Initiative at Midway · Individualism in Western Warfare
Dissent and Self-Critique · Tet, January 31-April 6, 1968
Battles Against the Cities · Victory as Defeat · Aftermath · War amid Audit, Scrutiny, and Self-Critique
Western Warfare—Past and Future
The Hellenic Legacy · Other Battles? ·The Singularity of Western Military Culture · The Continuity of Western Lethality ·The West Versus the West?
Carnage and Culture
after September 11, 2001
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