Synopses & Reviews
Many consider conscience to be one of the most important—if not the fundamental—quality that makes us human, distinguishing us from animals, on one hand, and machines on the other. But what is
conscience, exactly? Is it a product of our biological roots, as Darwin thought, or is it a purely social invention? If the latter, how did it come into the world?
In this biography of that most elusive human element, Martin van Creveld explores conscience throughout history, ranging across numerous subjects, from human rights to health to the environment. Along the way he considers the evolution of conscience in its myriad, occasionally strange, and ever-surprising permutations. He examines the Old Testament, which—erroneously, it turns out—is normally seen as the fountainhead from which the Western idea of conscience has sprung. Next, he takes us to meet Antigone, the first person on record to explicitly speak of conscience. We then visit with the philosophers Zeno, Cicero and Seneca; with Christian thinkers such as Paul, Augustine, Aquinas, and, above all, Martin Luther; as well as modern intellectual giants such as Machiavelli, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, and Freud. Individual chapters are devoted to Japan, China, and even the Nazis, as well as the most recent discoveries in robotics and neuroscience and how they have contributed to the ways we think about our own morality. Ultimately, van Creveld shows that conscience remains as elusive as ever, a continuously mysterious voice that guides how we think about right and wrong.
Kirkus, January 15, 2011
A polished, readable narrative.”
New York Times Book Review, April 24, 2011
As Martin van Creveld shows in this brisk, original and authoritative history, since its zenith during World War II, when two United States B-29s ended the global struggle by dropping their payloads on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the value of air power has largely fizzled
I hope that this spring, van Crevelds timely book will remind NATO leaders supervising the bombing campaign in the Libyan civil war of how often in history we have watched air power lead unexpectedly to ground fighting on quicksand.”
A brilliantly formulated, exhaustively researched, and engagingly written critique of Americas once vaunted military service, this is sure to arouse much controversy among interested parties.”
Foreign Affairs, May/June 2011
A new book from Van Creveld is always something to be savored. There have been many previous histories of airpower, but none so comprehensive and sensitive to context as this one.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 17, 2011
Martin van Creveld's new book is sure to enlighten
.[It] comprehensively surveys the rise and evolution of aerial warfare from the dawn of the 20th century to our own day. No conflict or air-power variant seems to have escaped van Creveld's formidable attention. He covers naval aviation, helicopters, remotely piloted vehicles ("drones") and space. This volume, like the others produced by van Creveld, deserves a place on the bookshelf of any serious student of military affairs.”
New York Times, April 30, 2011
"Martin van Crevelds work is always worth reading. 'The Age of Airpower' is equal parts historical survey, idiosyncratic editorializing, and bold prediction. Airpower advocates and critics alike need to engage with this book."
CHOICE, August 2011
Morozov (contributing editor, Foreign Policy) takes on the "Google Doctrine," the enthusiastic belief in the liberating power of technology to promote democracy and improve human life. He rightly points out that technology is almost always a double-edged sword guided by the hopes and fears of users and regulators more than by the inherent characteristics of the technology itself. He provides numerous examples of how authoritarian regimes have used technology to track people, thwarting privacy and basic freedoms. By pointing out that social problems are seldom, if ever, "solved" by technology and that building public policy around technological fixes diverts attention from the root causes, the book is a good antidote to the optimistic technological determinists.”
Midwest Book Review, June 2011
No military collection should be without this”
Survival: Global Politics and Strategy, August/September 2011
The latest opus by Martin van Creveld, one of the leading contemporary theorists of military affairs, is a massive (500 pages) and comprehensive compendium on air power. A work of history more than of theory, this fact rich book is written in an unadorned, plain style, punctuated by occasional bouts of the authors trademark wit. The Age of Airpower succeeds
whatever one thinks of the authors main thesis.”
Van Creveld does a creditable job surveying the broad and complex history of airpower in military operations.”
CHOICE, November 2011
Marine Corps Gazette, January 2011
When Martin van Creveld speaks, people listen. His thoughtful works on military theory and history continually seek to challenge conventional wisdom. His insights and arguments are profound and substantial enough that even if one does not agree, they cannot be dismissed; they must be countered. Van Crevelds latest book, The Age of Airpower, is another such work. [It] expertly and effectively continues Van Crevelds work of championing transformation, challenging militaries to think about what they are designed to do vice what they are actually doingthe threats they prepare for versus the threats they are actually facing and/or are likely to face
A renowned military historian tells the story of airpower's rise in the twentieth century-- and argues that its great days are over
Airpower, more than any other factor, has shaped war in the twentieth century. In this fascinating narrative history, Martin van Creveld vividly portrays the rise of the plane as a tool of war and the evolution of both technology and strategy. He documents seminal battles and turning points, and relates stories of individual daring and collective mastery of the skies.
However, the end of airpower's glorious age is drawing near. The conventional wisdom to the contrary, modern precision guided munitions have not made fighter bombers more effective against many kinds of targets than their predecessors in World War II. U.S. ground troops calling for air support in Iraq in 2003 did not receive it any faster than Allied forces did in France in 1944. And from its origins on, airpower has never been very effective against terrorists, guerrillas, and insurgents. As the warfare waged by these kinds of people grow in importance, and as ballistic missiles, satellites, cruise missiles and drones increasingly take the place of quarter-billion-dollar manned combat aircraft and their multi-million-dollar pilots, airpower is losing utility almost day by day.
[A] brisk, original, and authoritative history.” New York Times Book Review
In this fascinating narrative history, internationally recognized military expert Martin van Creveld narrates the rise and fall of the most glamorous offensive and defensive instrument of war in military historyairpower. From the scenes of its greatest exploits during World War I and II, to present day where the advent of ballistic missiles, drones, and other computer-controlled weaponry threaten to eclipse its use all together, van Creveld recounts the successes and failures of airpower to date and shows how its triumphs are fast becoming a thing of the past.
Many consider conscience to be one of the most important, if not the fundamental quality that distinguishes humans from animals on one hand and machines on the other. However, what is conscience? Is it a product of our biological roots, as Darwin thought, or is it a purely social invention? If so, how did it come into the world?
Beginning in ancient Egypt Martin van Creveld explores conscience throughout history, ranging across numerous subjects from human rights to health and the environment. Along the way he considers the evolution of conscience in its myriad, occasionally strange, and ever-surprising permutations. Individual chapters are devoted to Japan, China, and the Nazis, as well as the most recent discoveries in robotics and neuroscience. The book concludes by arguing that, the claims of the artificial intelligence community notwithstanding, we are no closer to understanding the nature of conscience than we have ever been. As one computer expert has said, we shall probably build machines able to mimic conscience before we know what it really is.
About the Author
Martin van Creveld is an internationally recognized authority on military history and strategy. The author of twenty-two books which were translated into twenty languages, he has lectured or taught at virtually every strategic institute, military or civilian, in the Western world. He lives near Jerusalem.