- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press; 1st Edition edition (March 21, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0691137900
- ISBN-13: 978-0691137902
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,503,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome 1st Edition Edition
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Winner of the 2010 PROSE Award in Classics & Ancient History, Association of American Publishers
"The book is a worthwhile read and some of the articles would do well as reading material on courses of ancient warfare or even modern strategic studies."--Joonas Sipila, Acto Philogica Fennica
"At every point throughout this superb collection of essays, one cannot but reflect on Western engagements in far-off, alien places."--Peter Jones, Sunday Telegraph
"Mr. Hanson's examination of the dangers implicit in pre-emptive warfare is riveting, as is John W.I. Lee's explanation of why the specter of urban warfare was as despised by ancient strategists as it is today by modern warriors. . . . Mr. Hanson and Mr. Luttwak have begun the serious study of what the ancients might have to teach us about a world where traditional nation-states not only have to coexist with armed non-state actors but must negotiate with them on nearly equal terms or sometimes fight them."--Gary Anderson, Washington Times
"This is a worthy edition to the literature of military history."--Kevin Winter, Sacramento Book Review
"The essays are all thought provoking, and readers will find surprises, insights, and things to argue about."--Choice
"Coming up for air after a couple of hours with this recent Victor Davis Hanson book, I switched on CNN and was briefly confused as to what century it was. Did his point on the overwhelming impact of organized military force refer to Moammar Gaddafi's generals chasing down Libyan rebels or to Roman soldiers crushing a slave revolt? The parallels are striking. 'Spartacus was overmatched by the logistics, discipline and generalship of the Roman legions,' Hanson writes in his fine introduction to Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome. The Libyan rebels face the same odds today, reduced by Western media to a 'ragtag' band of fighters rapidly losing the initiative, pretty much like those of Spartacus when it all ended for him. Hanson, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a respected military historian, has assembled here ten succinct studies by academic colleagues that demonstrate, with variable persuasiveness, the 'relevance of the past to military challenges of the present.' . . . Hanson encouraged his contributors to choose a subject of special interest to them. As a result, the studies make for a diverse and refreshing collection."--Michael Johnson, American Spectator
"This exciting collection reflects a publishing as well as an academic opportunity. The publishing opportunity is that of providing a prequel to the highly successful collection, Makers of Modern Strategy, while the academic opportunity is offered by the wealth of talent available to write on the earlier period."--Jeremy Black, European Review of History
From the Back Cover
"All serious students of military strategy must have on their bookshelves Makers of Modern Strategy. In this essential prequel to that classic volume, Victor Davis Hanson has assembled an all-star team of historians to analyze past conflicts and draw relevant lessons for the present day. If you seek the roots of modern warfighting, look here."--Max Boot, author of War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History, 1500 to Today
"In this outstanding collection, ancient historian and thoroughly modern pundit Victor Davis Hanson has assembled a gleaming cohort of historians who deepen our understanding of the constants of warfare and illuminate brightly the peculiarities of strategy in the worlds of ancient Greece and Rome. Today's makers of strategy and war as well as students of antiquity will be informed and stimulated by fascinating essays that range from Persia and Pericles to Julius Caesar and the Goths, and from mass foreign invasion to street fighting and counterinsurgency."--Paul Cartledge, author of Alexander the Great
"Though the technology has changed, the nature of war and strategy has remained constant over the chasm of the centuries and millennia. This book makes the ancient Greeks and Romans relevant to our modern conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Scholars will find much to argue about in these lively essays; lay readers much to be fascinated with."--Robert D. Kaplan, author of Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos
"An outstanding book--the contributions are all clear and interesting, and should be of great interest not only to scholars, but to the general public, which continues to be fascinated by ancient history."--Williamson Murray, Ohio State University
"This book will be welcomed by anyone interested in the ancient military strategies employed to conquer, pacify, and govern, and in the ways those strategies remain relevant to the contemporary world."--Loren J. Samons II, Boston University
Top customer reviews
Having said that, the collection does a good job of presenting insight into ancient strategy. For example, although I think her use of the term "insurgency" is too broad, Susan Mattern's essay on "Counterinsurgency and the Enemies of Rome" is an excellent overview of how Roman diplomacy, personal connections, social mechanisms, and force were used to subdue rebellions and keep the empire in line. At the same time Peter Heather's essay "Holding the Line" presents what I feel is a complementary analysis of Rome's offensive strategy that fits with Luttwaks's defensive theory in "The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire: From the First Century A.D. to the Third." (Despite Heather's contention that Luttwak's theory is "mistaken," I believe offensive and defensive options can, and did, both exist.)
At the same time, essay's such as John W. I. Lee's "Urban Warfare in the Classical Greek World," and David L. Berkey's "Why Fortifications Endure" cover types of warfare that tended to be overshadowed by more famous ancient set piece battles at sea and on land.
All-in-all, a very nice collection of essays that address strategy in the ancient world.
The other nice thing about this book is that it updates your knowledge, if you needed an update, on the latest scholarship across the board. For someone like me who reads history and enjoys it a book like this allows the most modern scholars to update our knowledge base on the latest research without waiting for a new book. Many people like me read the generally available classics of history but don't get the professional journals so find it hard to balance the classics with new thinking and discovery. This book helps put many of the classic histories into context and gives an excellent reading list of books to pursue down any of the essay's topics. Really a fine book.
The selections are :Tom Holland on the Persian Wars and a Persian view of the conflict aganst a "terrorist state"; Donald Kagan on Thucydides and Pericles' attempt to defend the Athenian Empire; David L Berkey's brilliant essay on The Fortifications of Athens and how these enabled her to have a vigorous role in foreign policy; Hanson writes on Epaminondas and the use of preemptive war by Thebes to weaken Sparta and spread democracy. A very valuable essay as Epaminondas and Theban democracy are almost totally ignored by the historical community. Hanson as might be expected vigorously compares this to US policy in the post 9/11 world; Ian Worthington on Alexander the Great and nation building and dealing with a large multi-ethnic empire; John W I Lee on the neglected topic of Urban Warfare in the Classical Greek World; Susan Mattern on Roman Counterinsurgency; Barry Strauss on the messianic nature of Slave Wars; Adrian Goldsworthy on Caesar; and finally Peter Heather on Frontier defense and the Later Roman Empire, which rejects Luttwak's theories of a passive defense in depth in favor of a more "offensive" policy of raids and expeditions to punish or support client states, and how over the course of time this interaction resulted in stronger hostile neighbors.
All of these essays have conclusions that relate the topics to the modern world, and Lee's essay would be particularly useful for those who serve in the modern military. Whether you accept them or not is another matter. This collection should not be missed with those that have an interest in the classical world, and would be an excellent selection for a classical history course which wishes to defend its "relevance.