The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace and the Course of History and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
  • RRP: £19.99
  • You Save: £4.53 (23%)
FREE Delivery in the UK.
Temporarily out of stock.
Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we dispatch the item.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
FREE Delivery on orders over £10.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Over 2 million items sold. Fast dispatch and delivery. Excellent Customer Feedback. Most items will be dispatched the same or the next working day.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace and the Course of History Paperback – 27 Mar 2003


See all 8 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£0.01
Paperback
"Please retry"
£15.46
£8.00 £0.01
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

Trade In Promotion


Frequently Bought Together

The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace and the Course of History + Terror and Consent: The Wars for the Twenty-first Century + The Garments of Court and Palace: Machiavelli and the world that he made: A Book That Shook the World (Books That Shook the World)
Price For All Three: £47.85

Some of these items are dispatched sooner than the others.

Buy the selected items together


Product details

  • Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (27 Mar 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141007559
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141007557
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 220,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Amazon Review

The scope of Philip Bobbitt's The Shield of Achilles is breathtaking: the interplay, over the last six centuries, among war, jurisprudence, and the reshaping of countries ("states," in Bobbitt's vocabulary). Bobbitt posits that certain wars should be deemed epochal--that is, seen as composed of many "smaller" wars. For example, according to Bobbitt the epochal war of the 20th century began in 1914 and ended with the collapse of communism in 1990. These military affairs--and their subsequent "ultimate" peace agreements--have caused, each in their own way, revolutionary reconstructions of the idea and actuality of statehood and, following, of relationships between these various new entities. Of these reconstructions (including the princely state, the kingly state, and the nation-state), Bobbitt is most interested in the current incarnation, which he calls the market-state: one whose borders are scuffed and hazy at best (certainly compared to earlier territorial markers) and whose strengths, weaknesses, citizens, and enemies roam across cyberspace rather than plains and valleys. The Shield of Achilles is massive, erudite, and demanding--at once highly abstract and extremely detailed. There is about it an air of detached erudition, one noticeably free of the easy "decline and fall" hysteria too often present in contemporary historical analyses.--H O'Billovich --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

His insights are thought-provoking, erudite and, most importantly, readable. -- Good Book Guide, 1 September, 2002

an audacious, massively informed analysis of the nature of the modern state and of modern war -- The Literary Review, July 2002

this is a book of extraordinary ambition -- The Guardian, 8 June, 2002

this might be the most important non-fiction book of the last 50 years -- Scotland on Sunday, 2 June, 2002 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Edwin Kite on 23 May 2004
Format: Paperback
Since this heavy book was published in earliest 2002, bits of it keep popping up everywhere. Bobbitt's influence can be seen in last November's National Security Strategy of the United States. It noodles around in Tony Blair's speeches. Even the new Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, devoted his first major speech to a circumfusive attack on Bobbitt's thesis. Bobbitt's buzzwords - "the market-state", "constitutional orders" - are here to stay. At the turn of a century, "The shield of Achilles" has rewired the political mind as thoroughly as Alfred Thayer Mayan's "The influence of sea power upon history," which catalysed the battleship arms-races of 1890-1914.
How has a constitutional lawyer and mid-level political staffer, admittedly rather bright, pulled this off? Part of it is timing. "The shield of Achilles" is grand history as polemic, making it a rarity in the post-Toynbee era, when professional historians write annotated chronicles or highly focussed case studies. This retreat into scholasticism has left a void on the politician's bedside table that memoirs and theory cannot satisfactorily fill, at a time when the defeat of the Soviet Union has left the West without clear purpose. Bobbitt's book has been seen (wrongly) as anticipating the September 11 atrocities. And as a revised and expanded lecture course, it comes in bitesize modules and in easy prose suited to busy elites lacking specialist knowledge.
So what does "The shield of Achilles" actually say? A lot. Bobbitt strikes a sound balance between concision and exposition, which given the length of the book allows him first-class legroom.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Aug 2002
Format: Hardcover
Covering (with the exception of using the Athen-Sparta conflict as an example a few times) the last 400 years of European development in warfare and law and their inderplay with what we call a state it categorises the concept of state through time discusses why they came about and what motivates them.
He quite often repeats himself but that is mostly due to the sturcture to the book as he first looks at warfare and state in his choosen time-periods and than at law and the state.
It is very Eurocentric (or First World-centric), even when discussing modern history, and he deftly interprets everything so that it fits his pattern. (Sometimes, imo, he contradicts himself, e.g. when talking about the 1871 to 1914 time-period)
But that is actually his strenght. There is a wealth of knowledge in this book and all is aligned and ordered in a very interesting way. The patterns he claims to see are wothwhile thinking about whether you agree with him or not.
One of the last chapters is his "prognosis" about what the future states and their conflicts will be like. It is the most fun but also the least profound part. The basis of classifying capitalism into the Japanese, the Rhein- and the Anglo-Saxon model has been around for quite a bit. It is a bit like a what-if speculation one might encounter in a college common room.
All in all, very interesting and quite fun
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By "scribeoflight" on 10 Dec 2003
Format: Paperback
'The Shield of Achilles' is (in the most brief of outlines) an important, vigorous analysis of the "relationship between strategy and the legal order" as it concerns the past, present, and future of the modern state. It brings together, as Michael Howard observes in his Foreword, a study of warfare, a history of international relations, and an explication of international and constitutional law, tracing their "interaction throughout European history". And whether dealing with history, politics, law, or the changing shape of civilisation, 'The Shield of Achilles' is consistently, unswervingly compelling.
This wide-ranging and exhaustive book has crucial things to say about not only the history of the State, but also its future in the 21st century: along with countless, highly readable examples of war, peace, diplomacy and state-building spanning hundreds of years of history (and countless theoretical formulations extruded from these examples), Bobbitt gifts the reader with visions (plural, for he does not stop at one dystopia) of our possible future all the more chilling for their intricately calculated logic. His crisp, clear prose ensures accessibility, and no reader will be left either underwhelmed or unengaged. This thoroughly enjoyable, deeply enriching book is an essential read - definitely not to be missed, or ignored.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By "budge119" on 4 July 2002
Format: Hardcover
A book which ranges over a vast and complex subject - a history of the Western world over the last 5,000 years and the way it has been shaped by, and has shaped, warfare. Warfare, for Bobbitt, is not something which takes place between soldiers. It is first and foremost a political act. Its nature and context has changed with the changing political nature of the world.
Complex, and intellectually taxing in some places, his analysis of the 20th century wars might raise a few objections. However, he makes clear statements about the nature of future war - the fact that even superpowers cannot predict where a dedicated individual or small group might strike with devastating effect.
Not a book to be taken lightly, but a fascinating analysis which should stimulate much thought.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again


Feedback