Battle: A History of Combat and Culture from Ancient Greece to Modern America

Battle: A History of Combat and Culture from Ancient Greece to Modern America


By (author) John A. Lynn

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  • Publisher: BASIC BOOKS
  • Format: Hardback | 432 pages
  • Dimensions: 166mm x 241mm x 34mm | 744g
  • Publication date: 1 June 2003
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0813333717
  • ISBN 13: 9780813333717
  • Edition statement: export ed

Product description

Spans the globe and the centuries to explore the way ideas shape the conduct of warfare Drawing on examples from Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, and America, John A. Lynn challenges the belief that technology has been the dominant influence on combat from ancient times to the present. In battle, ideas can be more far more important than bullets or bombs. Carl von Clausewitz proclaimed that war is politics, but even more basically, war is culture. The hard reality of armed conflict is formed by - and, in turn, forms - a culture's values, assumptions, and expectations about fighting. The author examines the relationship between the real and the ideal, arguing that feedback between the two follows certain discernible paths. Battle rejects the currently fashionable notion of a 'Western way of warfare' and replaces it with more nuanced concepts of varied and evolving cultural patterns of combat. After considering history, Lynn finally asks how the knowledge gained might illuminate our understanding of the war on terrorism. The book includes a new Epilogue by the author.

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Author information

John A. Lynn, an expert on 17th and 18th century warfare, is a professor of history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an adjunct professor at Ohio State University. He is the author of Giant of the Grand Siecle and The Wars of Louis XIV.

Review quote

"[A] rich and imaginative study." - Foreign Affairs"