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War in European History (Opus) Paperback – July 22, 1976

ISBN-13: 978-0192890955 ISBN-10: 0192890956 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Opus
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (July 22, 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192890956
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192890955
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 0.5 x 5.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,886,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"Wars have often determined the character of society. Society in exchange has determined the character of wars. This is the theme of Michael Howard's stimulating book. It is written with all his usual skill and in its small compass is perhaps the most original book he has written. Though he surveys a thousand years of history, he does so without sinking in a slough of facts and draws a broad outline of developments which will delight the general reader."--A.J.P. Taylor, Observer


"Michael Howard...shows that he can spread his range of historical vision as far as an eagle surveying a mountain chain. He covers, in a fewer than 150 pages of text, warfare over a thousand years; and he covers it comprehensively, without trying to be encyclopaedic. He has the true historian's gift for combining the general view and the illuminating detail...This is a book that, for all its brevity, broadens and deepens our understanding of how the world we live in came to be the shape it is."--The Economist


"The beginning undergraduate will find this book a superb introduction; the specialist will find it a stimulating review. Highly recommended for all college libraries."--Choice


"A marvel of concise erudition."--John Shy, University of Michigan


About the Author

Sir Michael Howard is Emeritus Professor of Modern History at the University of Oxford. He is a noted writer on the subject of war and his publications include: The Franco-Prussian War (1961) (Duff Cooper Memorial Prize, 1962); The Theory and Practice of War (1965); Grand Strategy, Vol IV (in UK History of 2WW, Military series, 1971) (Wolfson Foundation History Award, 1972); The Causes of Wars (1983).

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Anyone interested in military history broadly conceived should read this book.
R. B. Bernstein
Very good analysis from how the war developed through the years in Europe and how that affected the European society!
Dennis Baltzis
This is an excellent, short overview of an incredibly complicated subject matter.
David W. Southworth

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Hoke on July 29, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A friend of mine recommended this book to me. At the time it was required reading at West Point and it very well may still be. No other book displays the history of war in Europe in such a concise and complete way. It also shows how the nations of Europe developed and what gave them thier defining characteristics. Anyone with an interest in Western history or military history should own a copy of this book.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is the first first book I have come across that really delves into the political and economic aspects of military history while not losing a beat in discussing the tactics. Howard does a great job of leading one subject into another, but if you do not have some background in European History, this is not the book to start with. Howard's thematic tool is combatants, such as "War of the Knights," "War of the Mercenaries," etc. While this is effective in converying how one group becomes more important than the previous, he does not really give you a full flavor for why it is changing, concentrating more on weaponry and politics. Overall: read it if you haven't, but make sure you have some background in European history first.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By D.S.Thurlow TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 7, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In "War in European History", distinguished British military historian Michael Howard provides a concise and fascinating survey of European conflict from roughly the Fall of Rome to the end of the Second World War. This book was first published in 1976 and has been provided with a new afterword for the 2009 edition.

In brisk, well-written chapters, Howard explores the contributions to European warfare of the Knights, the Mercenaries, the Merchants, the Professionals, the Revolution, the Nations, and the Technologists. Along the way, he examines the ways in which political movements, growing economic wealth, more effective governments, and more lethal technology interacted to change the nature of European wars.

In a sense, Howard's book has two endings. In the first, the devastation of the world wars and the rise of the Soviet Union and United States by 1945 seemingly ended the role of Europe as the military and political center of the global system. After 1945, the lethality of nuclear weapons seemed to make another major European war all but unthinkable. However, in his updated epilogue, Howard acknowledges that conflict within the global system, of which Europe is a part, will almost inevitably require European participation in future wars.

At a brief 144 pages, "War in European History" can be no more than a survey, even if brillantly written. Details have inevitably been slighted in favor of larger trends. Howard is admittedly a specialist in European military history; others may reasonably disagree with, for example, his estimate of the adaptibility of the American military. However, as an introduction to a major theme of military history, "War in European History" is hard to beat and very highly recommended.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "jennaratrix" on March 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
A very good, very quick military history overview - hits all the main points without belaboring any, gives the reader a good list of authors to look at after finishing Howard.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Etienne ROLLAND-PIEGUE on May 9, 2011
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War in European History is more than a brilliantly written survey of the changing ways that war has been waged in Europe throughout history: it is a Shakespearian drama, a tragic play in seven acts that conforms to the rules of the three unities of time, place and action. This drama has a beginning and an end. It starts with the barbarian invasions of the fourth century, reminding us that "the origins of Europe were hammered out on the anvil of war". And it concludes with the settlement of the second world war, by which war disappeared from the European horizon, although Europeans may well meditate Leon Trotsky's remark that "you may not be interested in war, but war is very interested in you."

Conceived as a time-bound whole, Michael Howard's narrative is a combination of straight lines and turning points, of sustained single tones and rapid tempo notes. His choice to begin his survey with the warrior societies who settled on conquered land and then resisted the invasions of Vikings from the north, Magyars from the east, and Moslems from the south, reminds us that "the descendants from that warrior class--a few hundred families constantly intermarrying and as constantly reinforced by fresh recruits--were to retain the landed dominance of Europe until the sixteenth century, political dominance until the eighteenth, and traces at least of social dominance until our own day.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jack Lechelt on August 1, 2008
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This book was perfectly phenomenal. In 144 pages, Howard packed in so much, without making it appear over-packed. 1,000 years of warfare, with all the attendant strategies, tactics, and developments, are presented in a readable and thorough fashion, without coming across as simplistic or factoid laden. Howard finished the book in 2001 (I'm thinking in the pre-9/11 2001) and in the last page he nailed some of the major issues the world would be dealing with in the early stages of the 21st century. First, he properly casts doubt on the Revolution in Military Affairs approach (doubt, mind you, and not a complete discard); second, he recognizes the likely rise of terrorism; and third, he points out that troops will be taking on far more than conventional battle missions, which will come to include peacekeeping, counterinsurgency warfare, and a host of other previously difficult to imagine military missions.
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