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Perilous Glory: The Rise of Western Military Power

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Description Reviews Table of Contents. Out of Print A major new history of war that challenges our understanding of military dominance and how it is achieved This expansive book surveys the history of warfare from ancient Mesopotamia to the Gulf War in search of a deeper understanding of the origins of Western warfare and the reasons for its eminence today. He lives in Swansea, UK. John France is as much at home among the hoplites of Greece as he is on the modern battlefields of Afghanistan. With a potent mixture of erudition, wisdom, and wit, this book applies the lessons of our past to the real challenges of our troubled present.

It shines a bright ray of light on the history of warfare, letting us see clearly what it is, and just as importantly, what it is not. By examining the history of war as a whole, and in a global context, France evokes the disquieting thought that the present eminence of American power is more precarious and accidental than one might like to believe. The book presents a well-written and persuasive rebuttal to those scholars who think there is a consistent "Western Way of War", or that Western culture somehow inherently produces soldiers superior to those of Asia.

This is an important contribution, and deserves a wide readership. Early firearms, for example, were lighter and easier to use than bows and arrows, but they made little difference to the European reliance on close-quarter combat. It should be on the shelves of historians and students, and it is a superb source for anyone interested in the effects of warfare on human history.