Hanson, Victor Davis : California State University
Victor Davis Hanson is a military historian who is a professor of classics at California State University, Fresno. He has written several scholarly and popular books on ancient history and classical warfare, including The Other Greeks, The Western Way of War, and The Soul of Battle. He lives in Selma, California.
"Vivid . . . ambitious . . . Challenges readers to broaden their horizons and examine their assumptions. . . . [Hanson] more than makes his case."
--The New York Times Book Review
"No one offers a more compelling picture of how wars reflect and affect the societies, including our own, that wage them."
"Hanson . . . is becoming one of the best-known historians in America . . . [Carnage and Culture] can only enhance his reputation."
--John Keegan, Daily Telegraph (London)
"Victor Davis Hanson is courting controversy again with another highly readable, lucid work. Together with John Keegan, he is our most interesting historian of war."
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xvii, 492 pp., illus., maps, bib. notes, index; 21 cm. Tight, clean copy. Light shelfwear to wraps. "Through vivid depictions of historic battles, Victor Davis Hanson reveals the connection between th...show moree West's superiority on the battlefield and its rise to world dominance. Why have Western values triumphed? Why are Western ideas and practices spreading unopposed throughout the globe? In this sweeping and ambitious work of military and cultural history, Victor Davis Hanson convincingly argues that it all comes down to the Western knack for killing. Hanson is a superb writer with a particular gift for dropping the reader into the midst of clashing armies. With his trademark zest for bringing the gritty realities of battle to life, he vividly re-creates nine important confrontations between Western and non-Western armies, from the stunning Greek victory at Salamis in 480 B.C. to Cort?s's conquest of Mexico City in 1521 to the grueling urban warfare of Vietnam's Tet Offensive. But Hanson goes beyond the conventions of the 'guns and trumpets' genre to reveal the cultural underpinnings that determined the course and consequences of each engagement and in the process advances a bold and provocative thesis about the reasons for Western global dominance. Replying to those who stress environmental and other nonhuman factors in the rise of Western hegemony, Hanson shows that the rise of the West was not a fluke of geography or 'germs' but a logical result of Western cultural dynamism as manifested in its ways of making war. Each battle illustrates a crucial element in the distinctive and powerful matrix of Western identity. Hanson delineates the characteristics of successful armies--including individual initiative, superior organization and discipline, access to matchless weapons, and tactical adaptation and flexibility. Then he shows how these characteristics develop and flourish as a result of such traditional Western institutions and ideals as consensual government, free inquiry and innovative enterprise, rationalism, and ...show less
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