The Pursuit of Power and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $25.00
  • Save: $4.51 (18%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Want it tomorrow, April 17? Order within and choose One-Day Shipping at checkout. Details
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Good | Details
Sold by Reddwave
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: PLEASE READ - Good: Solid book with some cover and edge wear, markings and or writing found on pages, smooth spine. Tracking number provided in your Amazon account with every order.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force, and Society since A.D. 1000 Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0226561585 ISBN-10: 0226561585 Edition: 1st

See all 8 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$20.49
$15.50 $1.49 $60.00

Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student



Frequently Bought Together

The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force, and Society since A.D. 1000 + The Military Revolution: Military Innovation and the Rise of the West, 1500-1800
Price for both: $48.99

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Sell Your Books
Get up to 75% back when you sell your books on Amazon. Ship your books for free and get Amazon.com Gift Cards. Learn more.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (September 15, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226561585
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226561585
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #361,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William H. McNeill is the Robert A. Millikan Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Department of History and the College at the University of Chicago. His many books include The Pursuit of Power, The Rise of the West, and Mythistory and Other Essays, all published by the University of Chicago Press.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
8
4 star
3
3 star
2
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 13 customer reviews
The book is very interesting, well explained and catch your attention up to the end.
Fabio B. Castro
McNeill shows how military conflict and the advances in technology have stimulated mankind to better itself within the flux of a constantly changing balance of power.
Eugene A Jewett
This book is important to everyone with an interest in history, especially the history of warfare.
Epops

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Epops on February 4, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Professor McNeill describes this 1982 book as a "footnote" to his famous 1963 The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community, and as a companion to his even more famous 1976 Plagues and Peoples. The subject of "The Pursuit of Power" is warfare rather than disease, as in "Plagues and People", but Prof. McNeill's conceptual approach is the same. In fact, in the introduction to this book he describes armed force as "micro-parasitism" of the human race.

This is a densely-written and tremendously erudite book. It has 540 footnotes, all pertinent, in 387 pages. There are 21 very interesting illustrations, including a beautiful etching by Violet le Duc showing the use of the 16th century "trace italienne" in defensive siege warfare, Maurice of Orange's 1607 manual of arms for musketeers, and tank photographs from Heinz Guderian's "Panzer Leader". Every page is filled with interest for the general historian as well as the specialist in military affairs, but it is not light reading.

He elaborates on a few broad themes as drivers of historical change, echoing his previous work: Population growth, the development of markets, and the evolution of military technology. He states: "Indeed all humankind is still reeling from the impact of the democratic and industrial revolutions, triggered so unexpectedly in the last decade of the eighteenth century." He elaborates on these changes as they play out in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The last chapter, "The Arms Race and Command Economies since 1945" is by far the weakest.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By T. Graczewski VINE VOICE on May 23, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a sweeping history of the interplay between technology, society and war by one of the preeminent historians of our generation. Moreover, it is, in this reviewer's opinion, even more relevant today than it was when first published in 1982.

McNeill, quite naturally, observed the events of the past millennium through the lens of the Cold War and came to the conclusion that the current epoch was wholly unprecedented - weapons so powerful that they made their possessors weak because of their inability to flex any power - and that the global ideological confrontation would continue on as the defining feature of the twenty-first century. To the author's credit, he concludes the volume with these sage words: "But the study of [the] past may reduce the discrepancy between expectation and reality, if only by encouraging us to expect surprises - among them, a breakdown of the pattern of the future suggested in this conclusion."

The near future of 2007 does indeed look a lot different than anyone could have imagined in 1982 - but McNeill's themes are no less germane to the radically altered international environment that we currently find ourselves in. Two bear specific mention and consideration.

First, McNeill emphasizes the power of market forces and the incredibly stimulating effect the early markets of Western Europe had on technological development. By the time he wrote "Pursuit of Power," McNeill had come to see the return of command innovation where technological change is driven by the direction and investment of sprawling state bureaucracies, much as the feudal lords of Medieval Europe controlled military technology.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 25, 1997
Format: Paperback
If you only read one book describing the influence of military developments on general history, read this one.

--Prof. Clifford J. Rogers
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Caleb Hanson on April 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In essence, the history of the evolution of the military-industrial complex. Intended as a complementary work to the author's previous "Rise of the West" and "Plagues and Peoples."

To grossly oversimplify: technological advances improve military killing power; since new technologies are more expensive to produce and implement, and since governments have vested interest in a more deadly military, an ineluctable trend develops as states exert more and more socio-economic power in order to develop more and more killing power in order to exert more and more socio-economic power. Compare and contrast command economies v. market economies. One part I found especially new and interesting was how and why, over the course of the 19th century, first land forces were much more open to technological innovation than naval forces, then with the advent of steam power those roles reversed. If the whole subject sounds awfully reminiscent of Kennedy's "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers" and Ferguson's "War of the World," well, McNeill was one of Kennedy's major inspirations, as Kennedy was one of Ferguson's.

An important and seminal work, as I just implied, but it still has its drawbacks. There's a lot of the "blind forces of history" style writing: for this book, the Napoleonic wars were "the French revolutionary solution to an excess of manpower and a deficiency of economically productive jobs." And there's the occasional truly weird stumble: he suggests that Northern European cultures are inherently more bloodthirsty than Southern European, because Northern Europeans need to slaughter large numbers of large mammals every year to get through the winter, "cf. the Saga of Olav Trygveson." Huh?!?
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Product Images from Customers

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search
ARRAY(0xa38ffc3c)

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?