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War Games: A History of War on Paper (MIT Press) Hardcover – March 16, 2012
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Philipp von Hilgers's War Games is a major work of intellectual history and media archeology. By recovering a lost genealogy that runs from the game boards of early modern Europe to the sand tables of the Second World War, he articulates the space of the war game -- which mathematics and semiotics cohabitate -- to demonstrate the truth of his grand opening claim, that such games are 'the most effective and fateful concept the twentieth century produced in order to master its crises.' Hardly a work for the military fetishist or ludologist alone, War Games should be read and broadly engaged by students of math, media, crisis, and representation.(Matthew G. Kirschenbaum, Associate Professor of English, University of Maryland, and author of Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination)
Starting with the war games, which the Prussian general staff, in the early nineteenth century, invented in its fight against Napoleon, Philipp von Hilgers investigates the link between warfare and mathematics, states of emergency and computability, from the Middle Ages to the present. It is a timely book which not only speaks to cultural historians, but also to the teenagers online who inherit the games they are playing from military planners who are spending millions on electronic and real life conflict simulations.(Wolf Kittler, University of California, Santa Barbara)
Beginning with the rise of the war game in the Holy Roman Empire and ending with the general staff of Hitler's Third Reich, Philipp von Hilgers explores the interrelationship between and influence of mathematics and military affairs. War Games raises new critical questions about the underlying mathematical nature of simulations and reality in a military context and is therefore a crucial text for contextualizing the 'strategic simulation' from the Cold War to the present.(John Laprise, Northwestern University in Qatar)
About the Author
Philipp von Hilgers, recently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University, is Managing Director at Meetrics, a Berlin-based company for Web analytics and the measurement of online reading activities.