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The Western Way of War: Infantry Battle in…

The Western Way of War: Infantry Battle in Classical Greece (1989)

by Victor Davis Hanson (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Hanson attempts to reconstruct the ‘face of battle’ from the perspective of the citizen soldiers of Greece during the period from the Seventh to the Fifth Centuries, BC. Hanson argues that the focus of Greek warfare was not the destruction of crops, but a response to a perceived threat to crops, and the insult of foreign troops marching into ones territory. While war was an ever present reality, the conventions of hoplite battle were designed to limit the scope of war and therefore casualties.

Hanson's book is an essential read for those interested in ancient warfare, though I was unconvinced by his argument that the Greek way was a new, Western way of war. There's too much evidence to suggest that other, non-Western cultures were practicing similar tactics, elsewhere. ( )
  Steve.Bivans | Jul 20, 2014 |
This is an outstanding book on ancient Greek warfare and one of the most important books ever written on war.
  gmicksmith | Feb 16, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hanson, Victor DavisAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Keegan, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Hanson portrays the ways Athens and Sparta fought on land and sea, in city and countryside, and details their employment of the full scope of conventional and nonconventional tactics, from sieges to targeted assassinations, torture, and terrorism. He also assesses the crucial roles played by warriors such as Pericles and Lysander; artists, among them Aristophanes; and philosophers including Sophocles and Plato." "Hanson's analysis of events and personalities raises many questions: Were Athens and Sparta like the United States and the Soviet Union, two superpowers battling to the death? Is the Peloponnesian War echoed in the endless, frustrating conflicts of Vietnam, Northern Ireland, and the current Middle East - or was it more like America's own Civil War, a brutal rift that rent the fabric of a glorious society, or even this century's "red state-blue state" schism between liberals and conservatives, a cultural war that manifestly controls military policies? Hanson brings the facts to life and unearths the often surprising ways in which the past informs the present."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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