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.
Great book by a great author. Really goes into detail and helps a reader visualize each location and those involved. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Greg
Excellent book with great analysis of some of the pivotal battles of the western experience. Hanson uses the battles to show us why Western militaries have been so successful for... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dan
Extraordinary book. Detailed and timeless in its message. One can only hope, as I do for all our children and grandchildren, that the qualities in our culture that have seen us... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Andrew M. Klein
I enjoy the writing style of Victor Hanson. His reasoning is sound, and the book is well researched. I highly recommend reading all of his writings.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very interesting read and counter to Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel. For example, Hanson makes a point to describe how little an effect disease was in conquering the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Nate N.
Excellent book. A must read for everyone interested in history and society.Published 5 months ago by ALEXANDER B. UAN-ZO-LI
Good arguments, presented for an unique viewpoint which I find quite compellingPublished 5 months ago by Timo Immonen