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).
An in depth study of western influence on war. Goes deep into war strategies and weaponry. I had trouble putting it down.
Wonderful text on western culture's positive influence on the world. Explains in enjoyable and easy to ready language why some cultures have succeeded while others continue to... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Russell McDowell
There is nothing like luck to make a book and its theme perfectly line up with a major political event. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Carl Robinson
Although some with an agenda might claim that this is work of historical determinism or chauvinism, it is not. Read morePublished 5 months 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 6 months 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 9 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