An engaging, accessible introduction to war, from ancient times to the present and into the future
“Forty short chapters . . . describe war from the ancient world to the present day. . . . A Short History of War offers an expansive and often evocative account of great causes that are never lost or won.”—Crawford Gribben, Wall Street Journal
Throughout history, warfare has transformed social, political, cultural, and religious aspects of our lives. We tell tales of wars—past, present, and future—to create and reinforce a common purpose.
In this engaging overview, Jeremy Black examines war as a global phenomenon, looking at the First and Second World Wars as well as those ranging from Han China and Assyria, Imperial Rome, and Napoleonic France to Vietnam and Afghanistan. Black explores too the significance of warfare more broadly and the ways in which cultural understandings of conflict have lasting consequences in societies across the world. Weaponry, Black argues, has had a fundamental impact on modes of war: it created war in the air and transformed it at sea. Today, as twentieth-century weapons are challenged by drones and robotics, Black examines what the future of warfare looks like.
Jeremy Black is emeritus professor of history at the University of Exeter. Black has published widely in military history, including War and the World and Air Power. His other works include Maps and History and Naval Warfare.
“Jeremy Black’s extraordinary body of work regularly returns to themes in military history. . . . His latest book distills his achievements as the most prolific historian in the English language into 40 short chapters that describe war from the ancient world to the present day. . . . A Short History of War offers an expansive and often evocative account of great causes that are never lost or won.”—Crawford Gribben, Wall Street Journal
“This is a feat of remarkable compression and erudition...Studded with thought-provoking comparisons and insights and offers a handy introduction to the subject, and to Black’s oeuvre.”—Jonathan Boff, Spectator
“Black has demonstrated an enormous capacity for the length, breadth and depth of global military history which will prompt readers to explore further into campaigns they know little about.”—Major General Sir Evelyn Webb-Carter, Aspects of History
“This book should be a ‘must read’ for people entering into a study of military history. It will also be a valuable resource for those who already have some broader knowledge in the field or are already possessed of some expertise. This is a book well worth reading more than once, keeping as a reference, and as a start-point for future study.”—Rob Ellis, Royal United Services Institute of Victoria
‘Jeremy Black has somehow managed to condense a vast and complex subject into a very compact and compelling book. His global range, avoidance of repetition of the standard topics, and ability to capture the variety of warfare in all its forms throughout history is truly remarkable.’—Professor Andrew Roberts, author of Churchill: Walking with Destiny
‘This is an excellent overview of the history of war. Highly recommended reading for anyone who wants to understand the evolution of war around the globe from prehistory to the present day.’—Professor Heather Jones, University College London
‘This is a truly global survey which amounts to a miracle of compression. Indispensable for students and scholars alike.’— Professor Gary Sheffield, University of Wolverhampton
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