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Battle: A History Of Combat And Culture by [Lynn, John A]
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Battle: A History Of Combat And Culture Kindle Edition

3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Review

"John Lynn's Battle provides an incisive cultural analysis of the ways in which many different societies across three continents and three millennia have viewed and fought wars."

About the Author

John A. Lynn, an expert on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century warfare professor, is a professor of history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an adjunct professor at Ohio State University. He lives in Champaign, Illinois.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2912 KB
  • Print Length: 460 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Rev Upd edition (24 April 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009SAUZQC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #733,528 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Hardcover
John Lynn is one of the foremost military historians of this generation, and 'Battle' is a very serious contribution to to debate about the nature of military history, and of war. This book is not a simple survey of world military history, it is an important challenge to technological determinism in warfare, and to simplistic notions of 'Western' superiority. Lynn uses case studies to argue for the importance of culture in shaping our concept of what 'war' means in different time periods. At one level, it is well written, and a good read, but at a deeper level, it asks important questions about the nature of war.
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Format: Hardcover
Though the book contains a lot of data, some are erroneous. Analysis is not strong. I missed first world war, russia/china in twentieth centrury, german world war 2, the change of germany world war 2 into current pacifism etc.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 14 reviews
46 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harshly critical of Victor Davis Hanson 13 Jun. 2003
By 1. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Lynn completely disproves Hanson's thesis about the Western way of warfare in the opening chapters of Battle. Lynn cites the examples of the ancient Chinese and Indian armies as having the same organization of the ancient Greek armies although they were not based on democratic ideals. The Chinese armies were organized around harsh dicipline and personal example by its leaders while the Indian armies were formed around caste allegiances.Moreover the Greek method of warfare was abondoned in Roman times through the emergence of the professsional army. Lynn also believes that there was no set example of "Oriental," fighting because the Chinese relied upon mass armies while the Indians based their warmaking on subversion and assasination. The middle chapters, Lynn contradicts Hanson in that European armies during the medeval and elightenment periods avoided battle and relied upon seiges. Lynn also describes the development of the Sepoys and how they became an effective fighting force by mixing the European invention of the regiment with local and religious allegiances. In the section about Clausewitz, Lynn states Clausewtiz's ideas about decisive battle and the national will have no use in the age of limited warfare. Lynn also disagrees with John Dower theory about race in the Pacific War by writing that different cultural assumptions about surrender led to the totality of the conflict. In his section about the Egyptian army, Lynn states how the Egyptian army by detailing every last movement by their army during the canal crossing in 1973 compensated for the poor quaility of the junior Egyptian officers. I would reccomend this book for anyone interested in new theories about culture and war that disprove the writings of Hanson and Keegan.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful 20 April 2007
By R. Albin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This very good book is devoted to the ways that larger culture influences how different societies wage war. Lynn presents a series of essays looking at how classical Greece, ancient China, Enlightenment Europe, and others waged war and the ways warmaking reflects important cultural features. Lynn thoughtfully analyzes both the actual practice of war and whatever theoretical ideas these societies produce about war, and discusses thoughtfully the interactions between the two. Lynn vigorously attacks technological determinism as an explanation for differences in the way wars have been fought. The overall theme is well supported by his specific analysis and examples. For example, he has a very nice discussion of von Clausewitz as someone writing in the Romantic intellectual tradition. He is careful also not to overemphasize cultural features. One chapter is a very good critical discussion of the role of racism in the Pacific in WWII, where I think he shows well that the role of racism has been overemphasized by other writers on this topic. Lynn also criticizes other writers who have argued for a cultural determinism of war, notably the classicist Victor Davis Hanson's idea of a "Western Way of War." Lynn shreds this and related arguments. As Lynn shows well, there is no substitute for careful, critical, and highly specific analysis that pays attention to all factors and their interactions.
47 of 63 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting analysis ... until the Epilogue 22 Dec. 2005
By Robert Bebber - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"Battle" appears to be written as a direct challenge to Victor Davis Hanson and John Keegan, two of the world's best known military and classical historians. Dr. Lynn's book is well written and well organized, and provides a fascinating overview of his thesis on how cultural discourse affects the waging of war by societies. He aggressively asserts that there is no "Western" (or other non-Western) Way of War, rather that each culture's interpritation of war and battle shapes its values and how it fights its wars. His work deserves great consideration, but I will not go so far to say that he necessarily "disproves" the analysis put forward by Hanson or Keegan. Regrettably, his book would receive more stars were it not for his Epilogue concerning the War on Terrorism. The Epilogue reads more like a treatise from the editorial pages of the New York Times and less like a sober understanding of the challenges this unique War presents. His choice of source material for the Epilogue includes Maureen Dowd, Richard Clark and Gen. Anthony Zini. Dowd cannot be taken seriously, and Clark has been thoroughly discredited. Zini is in the mold of Gen. Wesley Clark. By stepping in to this highly politicized debate and adopting the positions of those so firmly on the Left, it undercuts my opinion of his otherwise interesting and informative work. However, it deserves to be read by those who share Hanson's and Keegan's analysis, as it is a worthy challenge.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Book and an Alternative (and Better) Analysis of the Subject 26 Jun. 2014
By The Baron - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Better than who? Certainly better than Victor Hanson; I have no complaint with Hanson being a classicist jumping over to military history; I don't even begrudge him using military history to work out his psychological problems. What I mind is that his theory is ever-changing and never completely opens itself to discussion, because it's so qualified and shifting. It's sophistry. But Lynn, who has the virtue of actually being a military historian who teaches to both the civilian community and to members of the armed forces, is the real deal: he breaks down this very slippery subject of culture and warfare so that its component parts can at least be grasped. He has no real overarching theory -- as, indeed, there CAN be no overarching theory, when it comes to the cultural history of several millennia of human conflict, despite what Hanson, John Keegan, and many others may say -- but allows his analysis to develop WITH the material, rather than imposing an intellectual rubric on it. You will get far more out of this book than any such recent study -- BUY IT, and pay no attention to the scant negativity, here. From the tone, you can tell where that's coming from. It's a great book from a fine scholar: so don't just buy it, READ IT, which most people who claim to have "read" Keegan and Hanson clearly have not. Kudos, John Lynn!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Complementary readings to Lynn's book 7 Mar. 2009
By César González Rouco - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
There are already several good reviews to this book, so I will only suggest reading the following books in addition to Lynn's book: 1) above all, "War in human civilization" by Azar Gat; 2) "War before Civilization. The Myth of the Peaceful Savage", by Lawrence Keeley; 3) "How War Began" by Keith F. Otterbein; and 4) "War and Peace and War: The Rise and Fall of Empires" by Peter Turchin.
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