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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Popular and "Brief" History of Technology in War
There are many factors which combine to determine the outcomes of battles, some within man's control and others such as blind luck and the ineluctable fog of war residing firmly in the realm of fate. But to many, and for a large number of Americans particularly, the impact of technology has a special resonance in their imaginations. Max Boot's War Made New is a good,...
Published on July 11, 2009 by Dianne Roberts

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite Disappointed Actually
I was really looking forward to getting hunkered down with the book with its promise of vast spans of time and promise to identify the locus of technological change through history that makes for revolutions in warfare.

I was more than a little disappointed.

I found that did not hold my interest because of the following:

1) Everything Boot...
Published 6 months ago by Rodney J. Szasz


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Popular and "Brief" History of Technology in War, July 11, 2009
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Dianne Roberts (Los Angeles, California United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: War Made New: Weapons, Warriors, and the Making of the Modern World (Paperback)
There are many factors which combine to determine the outcomes of battles, some within man's control and others such as blind luck and the ineluctable fog of war residing firmly in the realm of fate. But to many, and for a large number of Americans particularly, the impact of technology has a special resonance in their imaginations. Max Boot's War Made New is a good, popular history of the impact of several technological revolutions in weaponry on the battlefield. Although over 500 pages long, it is not an exhaustive or comprehensive history. Instead it is an anthology of several battles for each of his identified revolutions, all occurring within the "modern" era of warfare defined from around the Renaissance forward.

Perhaps the two best features of this book are the caution with which Mr. Boot approaches the subject and the accessibility he gives it to readers not steeped in military history. War is a very complex and adaptive thing, a chameleon in Karl von Clausewitz's description. No two are alike, and the comparative impact of technology in each is unique, variable, and dependent on other factors which change with each new conflict in unpredictable ways. Mr. Boot thus prefaces his book with two fitting quotes to showcase the range of professional opinion on this fungible factor, one from the eccentric British Armor pioneer J.F.C. Fuller to the extent that technology is the exclusive determinant of battlefield success, the contrasting from Napoleon stating that it's impact is essentially non-existent.

The second very attractive feature of this book is that Mr. Boot is actually quite a good writer who truly makes history an interesting and quick read. His individual histories go into significant background matter to set up the battle, he delves into the bios of the major commanders on both sides, the political issues at stake, and the geography and terrain of the sites of the clashes. His accounts of the engagements themselves are raw, often exciting, and he performs a thorough after analysis action for each of his selected battles drawing out harsh lessons from the bloodshed and detritus.

Many have criticized what may at first glance seem like his eclectic selection of conflicts. This is perhaps understandable given the lack of representation of some major and politically important conflicts, Korea and Vietnam in particular being mentioned. However the author's purpose is to explore the slim slice of battles in which generally technology played a dominant role, and more particularly in which one side was pioneering or had mastered one of his identified revolutions in military technology while the other side was about to pay the price for its failure to adapt. Vietnam, although politically more important to America than many of the battles he showcases, was one in which the enemy fought successfully in a manner that nullified the impact of technology on the overall outcome of the war.

Mr. Boot summarizes his book with a preview of possible military revolutions to come and a recap of the lessons which have appeared repeatedly in his individual battle histories. Namely the constant changing of the technology of war, but a pace of change that is anything but, coming in fits and starts here and in giant and rapid bursts of innovation there. The unpredictability of when military revolutions will occur. The importance of mastering not just the technology behind them but the necessity of developing supporting tactics, training, doctrine, personnel policies, etc. to make the whole apparatus of war work in concert to deliver battlefield results. And perhaps most importantly the way military revolutions have restructured the geopolitical order in the past, leaving nations which did not adapt, often regardless of their previous size and power, on the decline, and smaller powers which did adapt the new masters of their domain.

All in all a recommended, but popular and not academic, book on technology in war which draws what appear to be very reasonable and illuminating conclusions.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just history, but analysis and insight, September 3, 2007
This review is from: War Made New: Weapons, Warriors, and the Making of the Modern World (Paperback)
Max manages to well capture the balance between seeing the forest at the same time as the trees. Further, by extrapolation, he offers insight as to what the forest will look like in the future. I thought the book was excellent, and should be good reading for any military officer. I am a retired military officer, and have seen all the changes from the middle of the Cold War to Gulf War II. It's a completely different ball game, and Max covers it well. {To the detractors; all books have factual errors. Look to the forest, not the trees, or you miss the point of the book.)
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Evolution of War, October 14, 2009
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This review is from: War Made New: Weapons, Warriors, and the Making of the Modern World (Paperback)
The main reason why this book is important is simply that there is a basis for all of injustice in warfare in the world today and before. It is important to realize that everything changes, and because not so much of a pivotal invention or technique, but a single thought pattern and innovation to utilize these techniques and inventions would be the game changer in almost every major or minor conflict since the 14th and 15th century. In many conflicts the smaller, and very often physically weaker adversary overcame the opposition in a largely compelling way, on thier way to victory. Every example in this book illustrated that bigger is not better, in fact the larger one became, the more entrenched they had become in maintaining thier status quo, and subsequently more and more unwieldly as time progresses. In the end, those that are able to change and innovate will continue to dominate, regardless of size, and in many ways some cultures have become victims of thier own sucesses and excesses. It is important to recognize this idea and fact. Whomever was the adversary last week is not going to be the adversary next week. And the folks next week, in the information age will have learned from the people last week.
Warfare like all other manifestations of mankind's idiosyncrasies will continue to evolve and grow. And until we evolve away from fighting one another, then we must evolve the fight.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Only the dead know the end of war, September 29, 2009
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In the sense that history is really military history punctuated by brief periods of peace, this book is worth the read. Max Boot engages and brings along the reader while making military history come alive. Anyone can understand his narrative while grasping the basic lessons of war. Max Boot divides the last 500 years into the Gunpowder Revolution, the 1st Industrial Revolution, the 2nd Ind. Rev. and the Information revolution. He cites pivotal battles and renown captains to make his case - Gustavus Aldolphus, Lord Kitchener, Yamamoto, LeMay, Napoleon, Guderian, Schwarzkopf, etc. It's about a series of military measures and counter measures where one technological innovation follows another with the importance of leadership and training as an overshadow.

Not enough is taught on this subject which is shameful considering its importance in the ordering of power about the globe. As always the tide will swing when the shock of recognition suffiently jars those at the levers of power out of their complacency. Until then, buckle up!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Quite Disappointed Actually, April 3, 2014
This review is from: War Made New: Weapons, Warriors, and the Making of the Modern World (Paperback)
I was really looking forward to getting hunkered down with the book with its promise of vast spans of time and promise to identify the locus of technological change through history that makes for revolutions in warfare.

I was more than a little disappointed.

I found that did not hold my interest because of the following:

1) Everything Boot writes has been covered by countless historians before. If you have read about major wars and battles from ancient to modern, you will be familiar with many of the themes and facts Boot raises to buttress his central exposition of revolutionary change in warfare. If you have read a lot of history you will find most of the points rather common fayre in other books written far more beautifully. eg. John Keegan, AJP Taylor, even good 'ol Sir Edward Creasy covers a lot of the military and poltico elements covered in this overly massive and, at times banal, tome.

2) The length of the book is way too long. A good editor could have cut about 1/2 of the book out and it would not have affected what Boot wants to say, but it would have improved flow and heightened my interest. Boot repeats points and assumes almost no knowledge of the history he relates. This may be good for someone who wanders by the shelf looking for a different read, but if you read mainly history you would be better off spending your time on other reads.

At the end of the day I felt that I was not learning anything new. The level of the analysis was not up to snuff and thought he violated my sense of efficiency by endless repetition. I had to give up on it after about 300 pages, I was too much like eating a thin gruel - too much water and not enough grains.

I fear that this has turned me off Boot totally. I see his massive tomes on other subjects... but I do not think I will venture between his pages again.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Reference Book - Clear and Concise, December 13, 2013
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Good book -- used it as reference material for a history paper I was writing. Writing is clear and concise.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and Comprehensive, October 31, 2013
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This book is an intriguing look at points of history where large leaps were made in the conduct of war. At this, it is a definite success. I think the best part is the way that it compares and contrasts countries with similar technological capabilities that somehow had various levels of success on the battlefield. As the author points out, technological superiority is no guarantor of victory. For students of history, politics, and professional warriors, this book is an excellent guide to the intricate balance that makes an army great and strengthens a nation.

The sole gripe is that Mr. Pressfield can be unduly verbose. There are times where he hits an angle several times before moving on. Overall, though, this is a minor issue, and does not detract from the book's value.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable military tech history, September 8, 2013
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I like every Max Boot book I read. As an engineer who is an ex Infantry officer I enjoy the combination of technology and tactics that this book talked about.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The importance of technology on the advancement of society, August 10, 2013
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This is a wonderful book. I have read it from cover to the last page in a sitting, enjoying its descritions and its reasoning. It shows the urgent need of steady adaptation to changing environment (human and natural) conditions, and the disasters that appear when we try to keep old ways of actuation. Read it and enjoy!
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5.0 out of 5 stars War Made New, July 17, 2013
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J. Corn "john" (Sandpoint, ID United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: War Made New: Weapons, Warriors, and the Making of the Modern World (Paperback)
One a handful of best history books I've ever read. Incredible portfolio of the last half-millenium of world history through the prism of war, based on advance of technology, bureaucratic organization, training, leadership and societies; and how all changed the nations of the world.
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