Academic journal article Military Review

The Art of War in World History: From Antiquity to the Nuclear Age

Academic journal article Military Review

The Art of War in World History: From Antiquity to the Nuclear Age

Article excerpt

THE ART OF WAR IN WORLD HISTORY: From Antiquity to the Nuclear Age. Edited by Gerard Chaired. 1,115 pages. University of California Press, Betkeley, CA. 1994. $75.00 clothbound. $30.00 papabac.

If you want a convenient, singlevolume compilation of the seminal works on the art of war, this hefty tome, edited by Gerald Chaliand, is just what you seek. Covering all eras, it ranges from an ancient Egyptian inscription describing Ramses II's triumph at Kadesh, circa 1295 B.C., to nuclear-age gurus Bernard Brodie, Albert Wohlstetter and Henry Kissinger.

Chaliand's other books have concentrated on the Third World, oppressed minority groups and unconventional warfare, but here he makes a concerted effort to include as many cultures as practical, reproducing the works of ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Persians, Indians, Chinese, Ottomans and Arabs, with an occasional Mongol, Aztec and Byzantine thrown in for good measure. Traditionalists may criticize Chaliand for choosing so many selections from irregular warfare, but taken all together, the pieces are comprehensive, well selected, sometimes enlightening and always interesting.

Chaliand's introductory essay, "Warfare and Strategic Cultures," is an excellent overview of war and strategy from a global perspective. He captures succinctly the reason why the study of war in its many forms remains important for today's strategists and decision makers, even in the postCold War world. He says, "Strategies today need to be more refined than ever, since conflict situations are increasingly complex and multifaceted and more than ever call for clearsighted perception of threats and determination in tackling them, while military force and capacity to respond remain the indispensable guarantors of security."

The book's 165 pieces are organized by geographical region, such as Ancient Near East, China, Mongolia and Central Asia; or era, such as Age of Limited War in the West, Age of Total Wars and Nuclear Age. …

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