The Patterns of War since the Eighteenth Century

The Patterns of War since the Eighteenth Century

The Patterns of War since the Eighteenth Century

The Patterns of War since the Eighteenth Century


The reviews of the first edition include: There is nothing else in print that tells so much so concisely about how war has been conducted since the days of Gen. George Washington. - Russell F. Weigley. A superior synthesis. Well written, nicely organized, remarkably comprehensive, and laced with facts. - Military Affairs. A thorough revision of a highly successful text, this new edition provides a comprehensive picture of the evolution of modern warfare. Addington discusses developments in strategies and tactics, logistics and weaponry, and provides detailed discussions of important battles and campaigns. His book is an excellent introduction for both students and the general reader. A companion volume, The Patterns of War through the Eighteenth Century, provides an overview of war and warfare in the West from ancient times to the early modern era.


One of the advantages of producing a revised edition is that the author has the benefit of the input of many readers of the original, whether the comments be laudatory or critical. Since the publication of the first edition in 1984, some commentators have pointed out factual errors, some have challenged my interpretations, and still others have suggested areas in which the book might usefully be expanded, contracted, or clarified. Whatever the source or intent of these comments, I have treated them all as worthy of examination and have tried to make the new edition an improvement over the old in their light. Although the contributors who took the trouble to write or talk to me about the first edition are too numerous to thank by name, I take the opportunity here to express my gratitude to them collectively.

In addition, in the new edition I have tried to include as much new data as practicable from the deluge of books that continues to pour from the presses on military history and related topics. and I have, of course, updated the bibliography. Still, my objective in this edition, as in the original, is to present in narrative form a synthesis of the many changes in war that have taken place from the late eighteenth century to the present; to suggest that these changes have fallen into patterns peculiar to each age, each age represented by a chapter in this book; and to demonstrate, as Theodore Ropp suggested three decades ago, that war is best studied as a process of change in its sociopolitical, technological, and organizational aspects. I have also tried to include as much knowledge about particular wars as space would permit.

Finally, since the Cold War has come to an end and the Soviet Union has dissolved, this edition has the advantage of having been revised at the close of an era and thus at the end of a particular set of patterns of war. But, for the historian, the end of one age means the beginning of another, and in the epilogue I speculate about the future of the patterns of war in the early post-Cold War period. Still, I hope that the search for patterns of peace will ultimately overshadow those for war, and that humankind may one day be spared the old scourge of armed conflict.

June 1993 Charleston, S.C.

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