War and Our World by John Keegan

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Synopsis

John Keegan, widely considered the greatest military historian of our time and the author of acclaimed volumes on ancient and modern warfare--including, most recently, The First World War, a national bestseller--distills what he knows about the why’s and how’s of armed conflict into a series of brilliantly concise essays.

Is war a natural condition of humankind? What are the origins of war? Is the modern state dependent on warfare? How does war affect the individual, combatant or noncombatant? Can there be an end to war? Keegan addresses these questions with a breathtaking knowledge of history and the many other disciplines that have attempted to explain the phenomenon. The themes Keegan concentrates on in this short volume are essential to our understanding of why war remains the single greatest affliction of humanity in the twenty-first century, surpassing famine and disease, its traditional companions.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About John Keegan

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John Keegan was for many years senior lecturer in military history at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and has been a fellow at Princeton University and a visiting professor of history at Vassar College. He is the author of twenty books, including the acclaimed The Face of Battle and The Second World War. He is the defense editor of The Daily Telegraph (London). He lives in Wiltshire, England.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published February 2, 2011 by Vintage. 114 pages
Genres: History, War, Education & Reference, Political & Social Sciences, Travel. Non-fiction

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After two modern classics—The Face of Battle (1976) and The Price of Admiralty (1988)—Keegan has followed with numerous coffee-table books as well as fine histories of World Wars I and II and a less-successful account of the Iraq war.

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If Keegan’s account of the campaign is to be faulted, it is because it effectively ends at Bush’s pronouncement—and because Keegan seemingly shares Bush’s belief that Saddam had to go, even though acting on it yielded a war that Keegan characterizes as “mysterious.” For Keegan, the reasons to ove...

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In this sterling account of the tragic and unnecessary conflict that inaugurated a century of horror, British military historian Keegan (Fields of Battle: The Wars for North America, 1996, etc.) ranges from Olympian assessments of leaders to searing depictions of suffering common soldiers.

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Only in the 19th century did war become a feared mass killer, following the Civil War and the Clausewitz dictum that war is the continuation of politics by other means (which Keegan charges with “polluting civilized thought about how wars could and should be fought”).

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Publishers Weekly

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According to Keegan (The First World War ), there is a good reason why "military intelligence" is so often described as an oxymoron: inflicting and enduring destruction often has no room for reflection, just retaliation.

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Publishers Weekly

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The text of this work is essentially a stripped-down version of Keegan's 1999 The First World War, with the text complemented by superb visuals.

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While Niall Ferguson's The Pity of War (Forecasts, Mar. 8) offers a revisionist, economic interpretation of the causes of WWI, Keegan stands impressively mute before the unanswerable question he poses: ""Why did a prosperous continent, at the height of its success as a source and agent of global ...

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Publishers Weekly

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Keegan, bestselling historian of the First and Second World Wars, synthesizes his views on war and peace in this series of five lectures given in 1998 and now published as a set of essays.

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