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The Father of Us All: War and History,…

The Father of Us All: War and History, Ancient and Modern

by Victor Davis Hanson

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The more that things change, the more they stay the same. Victor Davis Hanson applies his prodigious knowledge of ancient warfare to modern times, showing the conflict is not only inevitable but predictable. In this collection of essays spanning several years, this is perhaps the overarching theme.

Hanson does have some interesting comments about present wars, however. Wars of conquest might be out of fashion, so current wars are financial in nature. This is why Americans are no longer involved in "set piece" battles -- our technological superiority currently dwarfs anything the rest of the world can throw at us. But this doesn't mean others can't wage war against us, only that the nature has changed from direct confrontation to the guerilla tactics we are all becoming too familiar with.

And this modern battlefield is surprisingly even. A small band of enemy combatants can't hope to do much damage an armor battalion, but a small group armed with cheap RPGs can bring down a Blackhawk helicopter worth millions at their cost of mere thousands. When you balance the books, a few lost choppers could cost us more than the entire value of the enemy force. Extending conflict over years not only tires the American people, but can result in a massive financial drain -- so in that sense, the enemy wins.

Hanson is always thoughtful, well written, and provocative His analysis gives us much to consider regarding the risk/reward proposition of war, as proven throughout time. While he didn't directly address the concept of "Pyrrhic Victory," it's clear we are adept at winning battles but not winning wars. ( )
  JeffV | Nov 6, 2014 |
Understanding the Logic of War on the basis of our Ancient Heritage

Victor Davis Hanson's book "The Father of Us All" is one of those books explaining an important aspect of our present world in a timeless and groundbreaking manner, so that this book can be recommeded to everybody. On the basis of our ancient heritage he examines the development of war and discovers basic insights into the logic of war. With these insights it is much easier to understand what is really going on in this world concerning all those troubling wars and conflicts instead of following mainstream media opinions or weird conspiracy theories.

Especially everybody who tries to oppose the "logic of war" should learn first how this logic works before deciding to oppose it. Because: Logic cannot be overturned - you only can use it in the right or wrong way. If you try to overturn something that cannot be overturned the result will be unpredictable and mostly unwanted. So first, you have to understand how the "logic of war" works. Then you will know how to make and keep peace. Victor Davis Hanson supports you in this. ( )
  Thorwald_Franke | Feb 26, 2013 |
In this insightful collection of essays, some published elsewhere but greatly expanded for this edition, Hanson, one of the best military historians writing today tellingly dissects ancient and modern warfare while applying its lessons to contemporary conflict.
  gmicksmith | Oct 2, 2011 |
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War is the father of all and king of all.

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"The Father of Us All brings together much of Hanson{u2019}s finest writing on war and society, both ancient and modern. The author has gathered a range of essays, and combined and revised them into a richly textured new work that explores such topics as how technology shapes warfare, what constitutes the 'American way of war,' and why even those who abhor war need to study military history. 'War is the father and king of us all,' Heraclitus wrote in ancient Greece. And as Victor Davis Hanson shows, it is no lessso today."--Publisher's description.… (more)

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