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War Made New: Weapons, Warriors, and the Making of the Modern World [Paperback]

Max Boot
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham Books (18 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592403158
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592403158
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.7 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 832,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

War Made New Combining gripping narrative history with wide-ranging analysis, this book focuses on four revolutions in military affairs and describes how inventions ranging from gunpowder to GPS-guided air strikes have remade the field of battle--and shaped the rise and fall of empires. Full description

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars American patriotism 5 Mar 2011
An interesting and in most cases useful read following the major developments, RMAs and military revolutions. Fairly easy to read but one significantly off putting factor; American arrogance. Especially as one progresses to the later chapters of the book, whole paragraphs are devoted to insuring the reader knows of American superiority. If it wasn't an American invention, Boot assures the reader that 'the first practical' version of the said invention was due to an American somewhere in the world- it become nauseating. Despite this, the style and layout is fairly approachable.

I would suggest Martin Van Creveld's book, Technology and War, for a better and more convincing insight to the role of technology and its direct impact on transforming the conduct of war. One is also spared the American patriotism.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Popular and "Brief" History of Technology in War 12 July 2009
By Dianne Roberts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There are many factors which combine to determine the outcomes of battles, some within man's control and others such as blind luck and the ineluctable fog of war residing firmly in the realm of fate. But to many, and for a large number of Americans particularly, the impact of technology has a special resonance in their imaginations. Max Boot's War Made New is a good, popular history of the impact of several technological revolutions in weaponry on the battlefield. Although over 500 pages long, it is not an exhaustive or comprehensive history. Instead it is an anthology of several battles for each of his identified revolutions, all occurring within the "modern" era of warfare defined from around the Renaissance forward.

Perhaps the two best features of this book are the caution with which Mr. Boot approaches the subject and the accessibility he gives it to readers not steeped in military history. War is a very complex and adaptive thing, a chameleon in Karl von Clausewitz's description. No two are alike, and the comparative impact of technology in each is unique, variable, and dependent on other factors which change with each new conflict in unpredictable ways. Mr. Boot thus prefaces his book with two fitting quotes to showcase the range of professional opinion on this fungible factor, one from the eccentric British Armor pioneer J.F.C. Fuller to the extent that technology is the exclusive determinant of battlefield success, the contrasting from Napoleon stating that it's impact is essentially non-existent.

The second very attractive feature of this book is that Mr. Boot is actually quite a good writer who truly makes history an interesting and quick read. His individual histories go into significant background matter to set up the battle, he delves into the bios of the major commanders on both sides, the political issues at stake, and the geography and terrain of the sites of the clashes. His accounts of the engagements themselves are raw, often exciting, and he performs a thorough after analysis action for each of his selected battles drawing out harsh lessons from the bloodshed and detritus.

Many have criticized what may at first glance seem like his eclectic selection of conflicts. This is perhaps understandable given the lack of representation of some major and politically important conflicts, Korea and Vietnam in particular being mentioned. However the author's purpose is to explore the slim slice of battles in which generally technology played a dominant role, and more particularly in which one side was pioneering or had mastered one of his identified revolutions in military technology while the other side was about to pay the price for its failure to adapt. Vietnam, although politically more important to America than many of the battles he showcases, was one in which the enemy fought successfully in a manner that nullified the impact of technology on the overall outcome of the war.

Mr. Boot summarizes his book with a preview of possible military revolutions to come and a recap of the lessons which have appeared repeatedly in his individual battle histories. Namely the constant changing of the technology of war, but a pace of change that is anything but, coming in fits and starts here and in giant and rapid bursts of innovation there. The unpredictability of when military revolutions will occur. The importance of mastering not just the technology behind them but the necessity of developing supporting tactics, training, doctrine, personnel policies, etc. to make the whole apparatus of war work in concert to deliver battlefield results. And perhaps most importantly the way military revolutions have restructured the geopolitical order in the past, leaving nations which did not adapt, often regardless of their previous size and power, on the decline, and smaller powers which did adapt the new masters of their domain.

All in all a recommended, but popular and not academic, book on technology in war which draws what appear to be very reasonable and illuminating conclusions.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just history, but analysis and insight 3 Sep 2007
By William Jameson - Published on Amazon.com
Max manages to well capture the balance between seeing the forest at the same time as the trees. Further, by extrapolation, he offers insight as to what the forest will look like in the future. I thought the book was excellent, and should be good reading for any military officer. I am a retired military officer, and have seen all the changes from the middle of the Cold War to Gulf War II. It's a completely different ball game, and Max covers it well. {To the detractors; all books have factual errors. Look to the forest, not the trees, or you miss the point of the book.)
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite Disappointed Actually 4 April 2014
By Rodney J. Szasz - Published on Amazon.com
I was really looking forward to getting hunkered down with the book with its promise of vast spans of time and promise to identify the locus of technological change through history that makes for revolutions in warfare.

I was more than a little disappointed.

I found that did not hold my interest because of the following:

1) Everything Boot writes has been covered by countless historians before. If you have read about major wars and battles from ancient to modern, you will be familiar with many of the themes and facts Boot raises to buttress his central exposition of revolutionary change in warfare. If you have read a lot of history you will find most of the points rather common fayre in other books written far more beautifully. eg. John Keegan, AJP Taylor, even good 'ol Sir Edward Creasy covers a lot of the military and poltico elements covered in this overly massive and, at times banal, tome.

2) The length of the book is way too long. A good editor could have cut about 1/2 of the book out and it would not have affected what Boot wants to say, but it would have improved flow and heightened my interest. Boot repeats points and assumes almost no knowledge of the history he relates. This may be good for someone who wanders by the shelf looking for a different read, but if you read mainly history you would be better off spending your time on other reads.

At the end of the day I felt that I was not learning anything new. The level of the analysis was not up to snuff and thought he violated my sense of efficiency by endless repetition. I had to give up on it after about 300 pages, I was too much like eating a thin gruel - too much water and not enough grains.

I fear that this has turned me off Boot totally. I see his massive tomes on other subjects... but I do not think I will venture between his pages again.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Reference Book - Clear and Concise 13 Dec 2013
By Jennifer Cummings - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Good book -- used it as reference material for a history paper I was writing. Writing is clear and concise.
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and Comprehensive 31 Oct 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is an intriguing look at points of history where large leaps were made in the conduct of war. At this, it is a definite success. I think the best part is the way that it compares and contrasts countries with similar technological capabilities that somehow had various levels of success on the battlefield. As the author points out, technological superiority is no guarantor of victory. For students of history, politics, and professional warriors, this book is an excellent guide to the intricate balance that makes an army great and strengthens a nation.

The sole gripe is that Mr. Pressfield can be unduly verbose. There are times where he hits an angle several times before moving on. Overall, though, this is a minor issue, and does not detract from the book's value.
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