Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History: 1500 to Today Hardcover – October 19, 2006
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Publishers Weekly
From bronze cannons to smart bombs, this engaging study examines the impact of new weaponry on war by spotlighting exemplary battles, including famous epics like the defeat of the Spanish Armada and the attack on Pearl Harbor along with obscure clashes like the 1898 Battle of Omdurman, in which a British colonial force mowed down Sudanese tribesmen with machine guns. Boot (The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power) gives due weight to social context: advanced weapons don't spell victory unless accompanied by good training and leadership; innovative doctrine; an efficient, well-funded bureaucracy; and a "battle culture of forbearance" that eschews warrior ferocity in favor of a soldierly ethos of disciplined stoicism under fire. These factors flourish, he contends, under a rationalist, progressive Western mindset. The author, a journalist and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, enlivens his war stories with profiles of generals from Gustavus Adolphus to Norman Schwarzkopf and splashes of blood and guts. Boot distills 500 years of military history into a well-paced, insightful narrative. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Readable and informative, this book provides a valuable overview of how military innovations can abruptly affect the course of history. Highly recommended. -- Library Journal
War Made New is impressive in scope. What is equally impressive is its unique interpretation of the causal relationship between technology, warfare and the contemporary social milieu. This is a superb thinking-person's book, which scrutinizes conventional historical wisdom through a new lens. -- Lt. Gen. Bernard E. Trainor, USMC (ret.), coauthor of Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq
From Drake's ships harrying the Armada up the Channel to U.S. Special Forces deploying in the mountains of Afghanistan, Boot's narrative takes the widest possible view, yet it always crackles with fascinating detail and swift, adept character sketches. Drawing examples from scores of battlefields, War Made New show how nations have seized technological opportunities, or failed to do so at the steepest imaginable cost. Boot makes events from the dawn of the gunpowder era as immediate to contemporary America as is the treat of terrorist attack, all the while telling a story as enthralling as it is significant. -- Richard Snow, Editor, American Heritage
Magisterial. -- The Weekly Standard
Max Boot traces the impact of military revolutions on the course of politics and history over the past 500 years. In doing so, he shows that changes in military technology are limited not to war fighting alone, but play a decisive role in shaping our world. Sweeping and erudite, while entirely accessible to the lay reader, this work is key for anyone interested in where military revolutions have taken us-and where they might lead in the future. -- U.S. Senator John McCain
Max Boot's book takes hundred of years of tactical battle history and reduces it to an incisive narrative of how war has changed. By providing such a coherent view of the past, he has pointed us toward the future. What is doubly impressive is how he draws surprising, fresh lessons from wars we thought we knew so much about but in fact didn't. -- Robert D. Kaplan, author of Imperial Grunts
Mr. Boot is ably filling the role occupied for many years by John Keegan, the famed British author of classics like "The Face of War" and "The Mask of Command." Both use a similar approach: Illustrate broad military trends with specific examples, and embed the analysis in an entertaining historical narrative accompanied by commentary. Fans of Mr. Keegan's will enjoy Mr. Boot. -- Bruce Berkowitz, New York Sun
Never does he bog down in detail--and never does he lose sight of the fact that without good people, good weapons are useless. Boot has bitten off a big chunk of history. But thanks to his knowledge of the facts and his skill in setting them down, he has served up a first-class book. -- St. Louis Post Dispatch
The subject of military transformation is one that is difficult to make interesting -- some think it impossible -- but the book is not just interesting, it is compelling. -- Powerlineblog.com
While much has been in written in recent years about the so-called 'Revolution in Military Affairs,' Max Boot is the first scholar to place it within the broad sweep of history, and in the context of the rise of the West in world affairs since 1500. In so doing, he not only tells a remarkable tale, but he compels us all, even those obsessed solely with contemporary military affairs, to ask the right questions and to distinguish what is truly new and revolutionary from what is merely ephemeral. He has rendered a valuable service, and given us a fascinating read at the same time, so we are doubly in his debt. -- Paul Kennedy, Professor of History at Yale University and author of The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Boot describes a number of case studies to illustrate the effect that technology has had on military affairs: the battle of the Spanish Armada, decided at least in part by superior English ship design, cannons and gunnery; Breitenfeld and Lutzen, where Sweden's King Gustavus Adolphus developed the tactics required to employ gunpowder with decisive results; Konniggratz, where Prussian mastery of breachloading rifles, railroads and telegraphs spelled disaster for the Austrian army; Omdurman, where the British Maxim gun annihilated the forces of the Sudanese; Tsushima, where Japan's use of advanced battleships, superior training and bold tactics led to catastrophe for the Russian fleet; the Fall of France, where German doctrine effectively deployed tanks and close air support to defeat opponents who were somewhat better equipped than the Germans; Pearl Harbor, an amazing strategic and logistical feat that rendered the battleship obsolete in the space of a few hours; the firebombing of Tokyo, where newly developed B-29 Superfortresses were combined with ruthless tactics to destroy a city overnight; the First Gulf War, the war in Afghanistan, and the Second Gulf War, which illustrate the power and limitations of a military organized to fight using information technology.
This book does not answer questions so much as raise them. The author concedes that while the United States military performed well in conventional and non-conventional confrontations in Iraq and Afghanistan, it has so far failed as an occupying force in both of those countries. The United States probably wishes that it had invested at least as much in linguists, MPs, civil affairs specialists and boots on the ground as it did in JDAMs and JSTARS, or that it hadn't invaded Iraq at all--but, as Boot not unreasonably points out, if the actual opponent had been North Korea or China, the country might feel differently about how it had set its priorities.
I don't agree with everything that Boot has to say, but I find his book to be thought provoking. He doesn't seem to break much new ground, but he writes briskly, organizes his narrative well and offers a succinct history of the interplay between technology and warfare. "War Made New" will make very interesting reading for anyone who enjoyed (or was provoked by) Victor Davis Hanson's "Carnage and Culture," Stephen Budiansky's superb but seemingly little noticed "Air Power," or Craig L. Symonds "Decision at Sea: Five Naval Battles that Shaped American History".
The discussion of Pearl Harbor and Midway neglects the most recent books on the topic such as "The Shatterd Sword"; and suffers from being unable to use data that would have supported Boot's Theories! The book is at its best in the 20th and 21st century periods; and particularly on the period after 9/11. The thesis about the role of bureaucratic stuctures in warfare is quite valid and can be applied to many other fields as well. The right amount of structure and not too much or too little is crucial. Without the proper organizational structure technology is useless. The notes and bibliography are impressive.
Written superbly, with an entertaining, logical & contemporary-styled flow of subjects and an informative-yet-lay description of some extremely interesting & notable battles, inventions, personalities & tactics.
A tremendously enjoyable work that I highly recommend.
Yet as Boot himself points out technology is only one facet in any RMA. Indeed the role of technology in any RMA is best understood in the context of other facets driving the revolution. Also as Boot himself makes clear the term "revolution" means radical change, but not necessarily rapid change. Therefore the RMA events he recounts often represent changes that have occurred over many years rather than abrupt shifts in the way things are done. This book is filled with sound observations like these.
Unfortunately Boot appears unable to apply his own observations to his execution of this work. He all but ignores factors other than technology in his discussions of RMA events. More importantly, he does not accurately describe the RMA events that he has chosen to illustrate his arguments. For example, in the section on the RMA he calls the "First Industrial Revolution" he uses the Battle of Sadowa (1866) in the Prussian-Austrian war as one of his illustrations to demonstrate the effect of that RMA on warfare. Yet in his description of the battle he discusses the impact of the Prussian breech loading rifle (the needle gun) on the battle, but ignores the fact that the Austrian artillery proved superior to the Prussians and that this led Prussia to adopt the first large scale use of breech loading field guns (used effectively in the Franco-Prussian War). In the same manner he fails to note the development of the Prussian General Staff as part of the RMA that had a profound contribution to the Prussian victory at Sadowa. Further, how can a discussion of this RMA be complete without mentioning the technical contribution of Alfred Krupp, who among other things developed a breech loading system capable of being used in even large caliber guns? This is example is fairly typical of the way Boot has executed this study and shows a marked lack of refelction.
Are these minor points in such a sweeping history? The answer is no, not if the author is trying to give a comprehensive view of effect that technology has had on successive RMA's over a five hundred year period. The book could have been a important contribution, but is not.
Most recent customer reviews
As a courtesy, I copied Boot on a letter to the LA Times that pointed out a series of...Read more