According to General J.F.C. Fuller, "the musket made the infantryman and the infantryman made the democrat." In short, modern war and modern society are inextricably linked. But how has war changed over the centuries?
This highly informative and engaging work investigates the techniques, technology, and theory of warfare. From the military revolution of the seventeenth century to the present day battalion of high-tech weaponry and satellite technology, expert contributors explore major developments and themes, including air and sea warfare, combat experience, technology, and opposition to war. Specific topics include the extraordinary achievements of Napoleon's armies, the role of nationalism in battlegrounds, colonial wars, and the concept of "total war." One thought-provoking essay points out that today's armies face an range of low-intensity conflictsfrom civil protests to domestic terrorismthat can not be won by any purely military approach. As a result, the military professionalism that evolved to foster modern war is beginning to erode.
Highlighting a wide range of information with expert insights and historical analysis, The Oxford History of Modern War leaves no aspect of modern warfare unexplored. This volume will fascinate everyone from casual readers and history buffs, to scholars, political thinkers, and historians.
This book, which is an excellent overview of the topic, consists of a series of well-integrated essays by various authors. Part I, entitled "The Evolution of Modern War," begins with certain changes in the Renaissance (but chiefly in the 18th century in the Seven Years War and French Revolution) that produced modern warfare. Part II, entitled "Elements of Modern War," has essays on technology, battle, sea warfare, the social impact of total war, women in war, and arguments against war. The book's Introduction synthesizes its main themes, which revolve around the development and meaning of total war. The lessons of the American Civil War, unfortunately, were not learned by European states. For example, the Civil War was a modern war of attrition based on the industrial and technical superiority of the northern states, something European observers failed to see. However, the Introduction also points out that few could realize how new military technologies might "totally overwhelm the human spirit" (p. 13). The Great War (WW I) soon made that point obvious to all. KLIATT Codes: SARecommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2000, Oxford Univ. Press, 418p, illus, bibliog, index, 20cm, $15.95. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Prof. John Rosser; Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA, May 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 3)