Learn more Download now Shop now Browse your favorite restaurants Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Amazon Music Unlimited for Family Shop now Shop now Learn more

Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
Conquest: How Societies Overwhelm Others
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:£9.79+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 31 January 2010
David Day analyses the stages by which "supplanting" societies occupy and subdue peoples and lands, eventually making them their own. His approach is thematic rather than chronological, although there is a sequential approach to his account of this process of takeover. Each of the eleven chapters examine stages along the way: the rituals of claiming a land by leaving marks and tokens of their "discovery"; defining them within a system of power and knowledge (mapping and naming); creating a rationale and justification for according preference to one's own claim to title of the land over that of its existing inhabitants; exploiting and developing the land for agriculture and minerals.Among the most interesting of Day's insights into this process are his accounts of how ploughing and tilling the land was deemed to bestow rights of possession on a "supplanting" society: pastoralism and agriculture achieving dominance over nomadic hunter- gatherer societies.
Linked to this is the universal practice of creating "foundation stories" that "supplanting" societies tell themselves and others in order to bestow legitimacy on their aspirations and the methods used to achieve them. Behind and beyond all this is what Day calls the "genocidal imperative"; as a last or even less than last resort, "supplanting" societies kill large numbers of the indigenous peoples and move the remnants on to more remote and less fertile land. Interestingly, disease has been a bigger killer of indigenous peoples than mass murder,often being brought in the wake of the incursions of "supplanting" societies to peoples with no natural resistance to them.
Day ranges widely across the world in his choice of examples of these themes. He gives particular emphasis to the experiences of the Aztecs and Incas in central and south America; American Indians in Canada and the United States; the Ainu of Hokkaido; the Aborigines of Australia and the Macedonians in the Balkans. Present day struggles, as in Indonesia and Macedonia, shed contemporary light on historical processes from further back in the past.
A book of this kind runs the risk of degenerating into a series of opportunities to make facile moralising judgements about "supplanting" societies with the infinite benefit of hindsight. Day admirably avoids this temptation and remains impressively dispassionate and even-handed. I was particularly impressed by Day's dismantling of Israel's foundation story as it was used to legitimise the supplanting of the Arabs living in Palestine. Day is perceptive in his analysis of Zionism and the ceremonies used by the young state of Israel to memorialise its foundation struggles. It seems to me that Day manages this all the better by remaining dispassionate and avoiding rhetoric that can all too easily slip into something that risks being exploited for anti-Semitic purposes.
Day wisely remarks that migration has been a constant process since the evolution of humans, and that "indigenous" peoples have in all likelihood "supplanted" a previous society in their turn. He does not shrink from detailing the horror of the genocides that have resulted from that, for example that perpetrated on the Herero people by the Germans in South- West Africa. The book's essentially humane quality is expressed in the final chapter, which points to the benefits of migration, as in maintaining workforce levels in the face of demographic changes brought about by ageing populations and declining birthrates.
Altogether, this is a well written and researched book by a specialist in this field, which will contribute to a better understanding of a process that is acutely topical today.
11 Comment| 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 2 May 2011
David Day's very readable and well researched work examines how societies overwhelm others; presenting the various steps taken by the conquerors to establish themselves as the legitimate owners of conquered territory and the steps taken against the indigenous population.

The book as a whole provides the overall framework of conquest while each chapter examines the specific steps taken by conquering societies: staking claims on `newly discovered' territory, mapping these new territories, naming them, supplanting the native populations, the right to land via conquest, defending territory, foundation stories, improving the land via farming and infrastructure, and genocide (in all its forms either via ethnic cleansings, denying the existence of ethnic minorities, and outright killing etc)

To support his work, Day uses several examples from the Norman invasion of England to the Japanese treatment of the Ainu of Hokkaido, and numerous others in between and beyond. As Day notes the same steps can be seen being taken by societies well before the Normans and even into the present day but limits his examples to a few key societies and limits mentions of others. His examples illustrate his case well, although the referral to the same societies in each chapter does feel a little repetitive in places.

Throughout the work and in his conclusion the point is well made that, while bloody and destructive, the various conquests of societies of the last two millennia and beyond is just one chapter in the never ending migration story of the human race across the earth. The final paragraphs provide a forecast for the future: the continual movement of people across the planet in search of a better life, work, farmable land etc albeit in a less bloody manner due to the process of globalization and relaxing of national borders in places like Europe as nationalism fades away.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 27 October 2012
This is an excellent book. It is an academic book that is well researched and yet at the same time very lucid. The comparative framework is utilised very well with a number of excellent illustrative examples, and the overall thesis and message of the book is quite compelling, even when expressed in a rather dispassionate way (as is befitting to an academic book in general). This is one of the books to read in order to get an overview of much of recent world history and to understand what is going on in our world at present. The supplied bibliography gives very helpful pointers for further reading and research. The book is highly recommended reading.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 12 September 2015
I really enjoyed the book, felt it flowed seamlessly throughout history's empires and was easy reading throughout. I thought it displayed a plethora of brilliantly differing and similar examples of supplanting societies worldwide. However, whilst it wasn't 'heavy going' at all it was not as absorbing as Niall Fergusons empire, especially in terms of pre A326 reading for any future OU students.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 8 January 2009
Those expecting something along the lines of Jared Diamond's "Guns germs and steel" and "collapse" are probably going to be left wanting something more. The book is primarily an account of events that lead to people moving and supplanting other people in far away lands (numerous examples are cited). A framework (like the five points of Diamond in collapse) is missing. the book is definitely highly readable and accessible for everyone, still though bits and pieces of a framework are definitely there. No specific chapter is devoted to it. Through the account of events the author provides, it is possible to project into the future and even agree completely with him on the last paragraph of the book that a coming of age of people around the globe will result in everybody being more sensitive to moves in their own land by other people. A more game theoretic approach perhaps from start to finish on how to achieve this (those being more sensitive or willing to accommodate moving people than others stand to lose more) would be a most valuable addition to the book and would get 5/5.
if you are vaguely familiar with the story of colonization then it is probably best to skip it altogether and go for Diamond's books
0Comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 4 September 2017
Excellent summary of how colonising populations overwhelm and often destroy those they displace. Very readable.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
VINE VOICEon 10 August 2012
I got this as a recommended "preread" for the OU Course "Empires" and it is a clearly argued examination of the subject. I won't repeat what other reviewers have said but I agree with the favourable reviews. I wouldn't say it is brilliantly written but it is easy to read. I have kept it to 4 stars because the writing isn't wonderful.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 10 September 2016
first class service and product
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 28 April 2014
Describes how small Empires grow into larger super powers.
A good primer for students moving onto undergraduate history studies.
Used by the Open university in its course A326 preparation.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 28 December 2014
Great book for my University course,start this module next semester. Book was clean,looked unused and in excellent condition. Prompt delivery.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)