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Visions of War: Picturing Warfare from the Stone Age to the Cyber Age Hardcover – November 29, 1999


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

David D. Perlmutter delivers an idiosyncratic and highly original history of warfare by focusing on its images, starting with cave art nearly 20,000 years old and concluding with today's computer games. In between, he brings aesthetic and photojournalistic sensibilities to a series of studies on how artists and cultures (mainly Western) have depicted captains, comrades, enemies, and the terror of war. Readers will find famous pictures on these pages, such as the six American soldiers raising the flag on Iwo Jima's Mount Suribachi in the Second World War. ("The original group of six could have been cast by Warner Brothers," Perlmutter writes. "Their ethnic background included Anglo-Saxon, Pima Indian, Czechoslovak, and French. Their diversity became one of the selling points of the image and its ideal--they were America, or rather how America wanted to see itself in olive drab in wartime.") Perlmutter shows how some well-known images, such as the crumbling mosaic portraying Alexander the Great and Darius II in close combat, are works of fiction. Alexander and Darius "probably never came within shouting distance," yet this famous picture, in its way, reveals larger truths about combat. And he wonders how the antiseptic, high-tech images of "living room wars" such as the Persian Gulf War will alter warfare in the future: "Could training in virtual war simulations, no matter how realistic in the other elements of war--including noise, jolting movement, and variations in temperature--fail to teach nascent warriors to fear death?" Visions of War lacks a single thesis, but it more than compensates through dozens of fascinating discussions of individual war imagery and what they reveal about human nature and civilization. --John J. Miller

Review

"There have been countless books on revolutions in warfare. David Perlmutter has written an extraordinarily important book on what is permanent in warfare and on the relationship between the permanent and the transitory. By looking at war through the prism of images that humans have created to prepresent warfare, Perlmutter has plumbed the relationship between the experience of war, imagining war, and the evolution of warfare. He has gone beyond ordinary books about warfare to consider the relationship between war and the human condition. Visions of War is more than a contribution to the study of warfare. It is an important contribution of the study of war as a dimension of human exsistence." --George Friedman, Chairman of Stratfo and author of The Future of War
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (November 29, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312200455
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312200459
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,536,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

DAVID D. PERLMUTTER is a professor at the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications, University of Kansas. He received his BA and MA from the University of Pennsylvania and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He has served as a Board member of the American Association of Political Consultants and now sits on the National Law Enforcement Museum Advisory Committee for its Media Exhibit. A documentary photographer, he is the author or editor of seven books on political communication and persuasion: Photojournalism and Foreign Policy: Framing Icons of Outrage in International Crises (Praeger, 1998); Visions of War: Picturing Warfare from the Stone Age to the Cyberage (St. Martin's, 1999); (ed.) The Manship Guide to Political Communication (LSU Press, 1999); Policing the Media: Street Cops and Public Perceptions of Law Enforcement (Sage, 2000); Picturing China in the American Press: The Visual Portrayal of Sino-American Relations in Time Magazine, 1949-1973 (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007); (ed., with John Hamilton) From Pigeons to News Portals: Foreign Reporting and the Challenge of New Technology (LSU Press, 2007), and Blogwars: The New Political Battleground (Oxford, 2008). He has also written several dozen research articles for academic journals as well as over 150 essays for U.S. and international newspapers and magazines. He writes a regular column, "P&T Confidential," for the Chronicle of Higher Education. He has been interviewed by most major news networks and newspapers, from the New York Times to CNN and ABC and most recently, The Daily Show. He is editor of the blog of the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas (http://www.doleinstituteblog.org/) and has a personal blog about blogging (http://policybyblog.squarespace.com/)

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