Though technological advances and superior weapons have certainly played a role in Western military dominance, Hanson posits that cultural distinctions are the most significant factors. By bringing personal freedom, discipline, and organization to the battlefield, powerful "marching democracies" were more apt to defeat non-Western nations hampered by unstable governments, limited funding, and intolerance of open discussion. These crucial differences often ensured victory even against long odds. Greek armies, for instance, who elected their own generals and freely debated strategy were able to win wars even when far outnumbered and deep within enemy territory. Hanson further argues that granting warriors control of their own destinies results in the kind of glorification of horrific hand-to-hand combat necessary for true domination.
The nine battles Hanson examines include the Greek naval victory against the Persians at Salamis in 480 B.C., Cortes's march on Mexico City in 1521, the battle of Midway in 1942, and the 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam. In the book's fascinating final chapter, he then looks forward and ponders the consequences of a complete cultural victory, challenging the widespread belief that democratic nations do not wage war against one another: "We may well be all Westerners in the millennium to come, and that could be a very dangerous thing indeed," he writes. It seems the West will always seek an enemy, even if it must come from within. --Shawn Carkonen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Hanson does an excellent job of illustrating the cultural and philosophical basis of western military dominance.
Having just finished this book in two days, I can recommend it as an excellent read to absolutely anyone interested in military history, or world history in general.
Hanson's battle narratives are excellent, and his maps are very well-done and useful (very important for a military history book).
Although some with an agenda might claim that this is work of historical determinism or chauvinism, it is not. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
This book had me hooked from the beginning because of the intellectual way it presented an argument which I had not previously considered. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
The author was somewhat repetitive however he did an excellent job analyzing pivotal battles and the reasons the west has tended to win those.Published 4 months ago by James R Griffin
I've read this book as a teen and it has stayed with me ever since.
In it Victor Hanson obligingly goes through all the worse errors that can be committed by a... Read more
This book is extremely insightful regarding the rise of western and American military superiority. If you have ever wondered how we could win WWII againsed such military... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Clint
Victor Davis Hanson carries an attractive thesis about war forward from more than two thousand years ago then loses me entirely at what he is really talking about, the war of my... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Dan Duffy
I've read a lot of military history in my 70 years and didn't expect to find anything new. Instead, I was stunned both to learn new facts and - much more than that - a new... Read morePublished 8 months ago by B Leyden
A landmark book outlining in detail why the west won and why cultures are *not* equivalent, no matter how much some insist - for political reasons - that they are interchangeable. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Victor Davis Hansen