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The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace, and the Course of History Hardcover – May 14, 2002
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Top Customer Reviews
Bobbitt clearly demonstrates that the Modern State was put together when it proved necessary to create a constitutional order that could wage war more efficiently than the feudal and mercantile orders it replaced (p. xxv). Bobbitt spends most of his time covering the pattern of epochal wars and state formation, of peace congresses and international constitutions in Europe. The Modern State was indeed born and went through successive mutations in Europe before spreading to the rest of the world. Bobbitt gives his readers a nice pictorial representation of the six constitutional conventions of the international society of states at the end of Book I dedicated to the State of War (pp. 346-347). Book II focuses on the States of Peace.
To his credit, Bobbitt does not reduce war to a pathology that could one day be eradicated totally.Read more ›
For those who complian about missing the point of the book, I somehow found it very simple. History of the European nation-states, right now the world's most accepted form of governence where the states take the power and legitimacy from its people, has arisen from constant interaction of military and legal innovations. The author goes to great lenght to justify the thesis and in my opinion is very convincing.
The only missing thing in the book is the omition of factors other than those directly related to the topic. Still, one cannot blame the author for keeping those factors out since it would make a book that many already complain is too long, even longer.
Huntington or Fukuyama's approach may seem more direct and understandable to many from the western part of the world, but professor Bobbit goes into great effort to show that history is not over yet, and that we should not expect a clash of civilizations, rather a clash of market states trying to maximize the opporutnites of its clients, sorry citizens.
I definitely reccomend it.
Bobbitt runs through the historical development of all the subsequent european organizations of the state, up to the 20th century industrial nation state, and what he calls, implicitly paraphrasing Arrighi and Hobsbawm's "long centuries," the "long war" that was to decide which constitutional regime would survive: that of democratic federalism, communist federalism, or fascist federalism.
Now that that war is over, Bobbitt posits that the nation state is weakening and that the market state will enter the world stage. According to bobbitt, contrary to some current theorizing, the state is not "dying;" it is changing-- to the market state. The last part of the book is spent trying to imagine how this might play out over the next century. This is probably the weakest part of the book, but Bobbitt acknowledges that he is embarking on conjectures which obviously are nothing more than that. But since his book was written BEFORE 9/11, some of what he has written does sounds prescient; other parts read almost naive in light of the "war on terror" and bush unilateralism, the weakened dollar, the potential within a rising EU, etc.
THis is a big book, 822 pages of actual text, with a lot of notes and a complete bibliography.Read more ›
Rather than defining international politics in the typical framework of the "balance of power", or that of a "bipolar" or "mulitpolar" world, Bobbitt has completely redefined the course of history with his thesis. He states the modern state has evolved through the course of history and taken many different forms, based on the demands and interplay (or history) of Strategy and Constitutional development.
These various forms of the state have had differing expectations demanded from their populaces, and differing relationships amongst themselves at the international level. Based on a field relationship between Strategy and Constitutionalism, different forms of the state have proven dominant at different periods of time. Developments in one arena will create new trends in another- and the interplay is constant. Currently Bobbitt makes the case that the current incarnation of the modern state, the Nation-State, is giving way to a new form which he has named the Market-State.
Bobbitt backs up his arguments well with an historical analysis of the modern state ranging from the Machiavellian Princely-State to the wars of the Nation-States and beyond. The entire book is very well documented with Primary and Secondary sources, which are indexed and included in a comprehensive bibliography.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This rather long book seems to have been written with multiple goals in mind. First the author wants to connect up evolving military tecnhnology, guns and particularly artillery,... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Matthew Rapaport
This book is really two volumes combined; they do work well together, but the mass isn't for the faint of heart of the short of attention. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Eric S Metcalf
Bobbitt presents an argument that the relationship between governed and government is going to be changing in the 21st century. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Genma Saotome
This is one of the MOST influential books I have ever read. If anyone ever read it and explained how they understood it to me, I would treat then like a brother and look out for... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Cirino
Bobbitt asks the question, "When and why is the use of force justified?" He's one of the few commentators I've come across who digs deeper, who goes beyond the normal... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Chris Almstrom
The conflict between universal law and universal war has existed since Homer first set the dilemma out in the Illiad. Read morePublished on May 14, 2014 by Andy K