- File Size: 2387 KB
- Print Length: 255 pages
- Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (May 1, 2013)
- Publication Date: May 1, 2013
- Sold by: Random House LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00C8S9UV2
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #291,846 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Western Way of War: Infantry Battle in Classical Greece Kindle Edition
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About the Author
About the Author:
Victor Davis Hanson is Professor of Classical Languages and coordinator of the Classical Studies Program at California State University in Fresno. He is the author of Warfare and Agriculture in Classical Greece and editor of a forthcoming book, Hoplites: The Ancient Greek Battle Experience.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Enthralling. . . . One closes this book wishing that its final verdict was as well known as more familiar tenets of Greek wisdom." -- Christopher Hitchens, Newsday
"[Hanson's] vivid style and meticulous combing of the ancient literary, archaeological, and epigraphical sources have produced a near masterpiece of historical imagination and reconstruction. . . . Masterful and gripping." -- Journal of Interdisciplinary History
"[Hanson] has opened up a whole new way of looking at classical Greek war-fare. . . . The study of Greek warfare can never be quite the same again." -- Journal of Hellenic Studies --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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These meetings, Hanson tells us, were never about the glory of war, or the passage into manhood, but deliberate, mutual agreements to resolve conflicts as quickly as possible in order to minimize the loss of farmers.
Hanson explores such topics as the value of a commanding officer fighting and dying alongside his men, the driving bond by which men fought, and the principle of standing your ground, a concept in which Ancient Greek warfare was rooted in.
More than historical description and analysis, Hanson provides reflection on what the principle of ancient Greek warfare meant for the Greeks and what it could mean today if we thought seriously of conducting ourselves shamelessly an honorably in conflict as the Greeks strove to do.
Hanson writes in a way that the ordinary, non specialist reader can easily grasp and assimilate. Highly recommended.
Thank God they taught the West how to FIGHT!! I always knew I was a soldier. NOT a "warrior".
Thank you Mr. Hanson. I know why.
Aim High! It allows for bullet drop.
"The Western Way of War" has become a fundamental concept in military history, as fundamental as things like the role of surprise or the importance of logistics.
Hanson is especially laudable in his discussion of Western warmaking because he denies any "superiority" in the moral sense, and utterly disdains any racial element. He makes it clear that Western armies have too often used this deadliness do do what they should not. But it is important for an understanding of the world, and how we can prevent some wars (NOT all) and contain the harm done by those which do start.
Top international reviews
The idea is interesting, and perhaps if I knew the primary material as well as the author, I would agree with everything he writes. However, a big weakness of the book is that there is not much discussion of the plausibility of the author's argument, or of alternative interpretations of the evidence. For example, the author argues that the pushing match was a key part of the battle, where each row of the phallanx pushes their shields into the back of the row in front. This idea seems implausible: how can anyone defend themselves effectively when they are being crushed from behind in this way? Perhaps the author has an explanation for how this was possible despite the implausibility. But he doesn't discuss the implausibility or any explanation. There are other astonishing facts that are not discussed as much as one might expect. For example, the hoplite shield is said to be 1" to 1.5" thick, which is a truly astonishing thickness compared to, say, the Roman scutum which was less than a centimetre thick. There are a lot of these unsatisfying points in the book, which makes one wonder whether the entire arguments holds water.
The broader idea that hoplite warfare is some sort of template for modern western warfare seems even more tenuous. The ancient Greeks were not primarily a western people in the modern sense of the word. The Greeks primarily belonged to the group of ancient civilizations clustered around the eastern Mediteranean. The idea that modern western Europe is somehow uniquely a successor of ancient Greece in a way that other places are not is nonsense. The immediate successors of the Greeks were the Macedonians who spread Greek culture across the eastern Mediteranean and west Asia, then the eastern part of the Roman Empire, which continued to be a great Greek empire until 1453. We in the west have been profoundly influenced by the Greeks, but their influence on the Islamic world has also been profound. Arguably Greek civilization has had a much greater influence on Christian Orthodox countries such a Russia, which have a much stronger claim on being the successors of Greek Byzantine civilization than we do.
Perhaps there is a uniquely "western" way of war that somehow reflects western culture rather than simply being a result of the west having overwhelming military supremacy on the open battlefield for the last few hundred years. But the idea that we can uniquely trace this method of war back to the ancient Greek hoplites in an unbroken line seems implausible.
Hanson ose fait un parralele avec les guerres modenes. Pour lui, les fondements de la guerre occidentale n'ont pas changé depuis l'antiquité (cette thèse est encore aujourd'hui contreversée). C'est un clasique à ranger à coté de l'histoire de la guerre de J Keegan, et de Bellone de R Caillois.