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Airpower, more than any other factor, has shaped war in the twentieth century. In this fascinating narrative history, Martin van Creveld vividly portrays the rise of the plane as a tool of war and the evolution of both technology and strategy. He documents seminal battles and turning points, and relates stories of individual daring and collective mastery of the skies. However, the end of airpower's glorious age is drawing near. The conventional wisdom to the contrary, modern precision guided munitions have not made fighter bombers more effective against many kinds of targets than their predecessors in World War II. U. S. ground troops calling for air support in Iraq in 2003 did not receive it any faster than Allied forces did in France in 1944. And from its origins on, airpower has never been very effective against terrorists, guerrillas, and insurgents. Asthe warfare waged by these kinds of people grow in importance, and as ballistic missiles, satellites, cruise missiles and drones increasingly take the place of quarter-billion-dollar manned combat aircraft and their multi-million-dollar pilots, airpower is losing utility almost day by day.
One of the most influential experts on military history and strategy has now written his magnum opus, an original and provocative account of the past hundred years of global conflict. The Changing Face of War is the book that reveals the path that led to the impasse in Iraq, why powerful standing armies are now helpless against ill-equipped insurgents, and how the security of sovereign nations may be maintained in the future. While paying close attention to the unpredictable human element, Martin van Creveld takes us on a journey from the last century's clashes of massive armies to today's short, high-tech, lopsided skirmishes and frustrating quagmires. Here is the world as it was in 1900, controlled by a handful of "great powers," mostly European, with the memories of eighteenth-century wars still fresh. Armies were still led by officers riding on horses, messages conveyed by hand, drum, and bugle. As the telegraph, telephone, and radio revolutionized communications, big-gun battleships like the British Dreadnought, the tank, and the airplane altered warfare. Van Creveld paints a powerful portrait of World War I, in which armies would be counted in the millions, casualties-such as those in the cataclysmic battle of the Marne-would become staggering, and deadly new weapons, such as poison gas, would be introduced. Ultimately, Germany's plans to outmaneuver her enemies to victory came to naught as the battle lines ossified and the winners proved to be those who could produce the most weapons and provide the most soldiers. The Changing Face of War then propels us to the even greater global carnage of World War II. Innovations in armored warfare and airpower, along with technological breakthroughs from radar to the atom bomb, transformed war from simple slaughter to a complex event requiring new expertise-all in the service of savagery, from Pearl Harbor to Dachau to Hiroshima. The further development of nuclear weapons during the Cold War shifts nations from fighting wars to deterring them: The number of active troops shrinks and the influence of the military declines as civilian think tanks set policy and volunteer forces "decouple" the idea of defense from the world of everyday people. War today, van Crevald tells us, is a mix of the ancient and the advanced, as state-of-the-art armies fail to defeat small groups of crudely outfitted guerrilla and terrorists, a pattern that began with Britain's exit from India and culminating in American misadventures in Vietnam and Iraq, examples of what the author calls a "long, almost unbroken record of failure. " How to learn from the recent past to reshape the military for this new challenge-how to still save, in a sense, the free world-is the ultimate lesson of this big, bold, and cautionary work. The Changing Face of War is sure to become the standard source on this essential subject. From the Hardcover edition.
A respected scholar of military history and an expert on strategy, Martin van Creveld recently explored the modern world's shifting method of combat in The Changing Face of War. Now, in The Culture of War, he argues that there is much more to war than just soldiers killing one another for whatever reason.War has always been a topic of deep intrigue. Fighting itself can be a source of great, perhaps even the greatest, joy; out of this joy and fascination an entire culture has grown-from the war paint of tribal warriors to today's "tiger suits," from Julius Caesar's red cloak to Douglas McArthur's pipe, from the decorative shields of ancient Greece to today's nose art, and from the invention of chess around 600 A.D. to the most modern combat simulators. The culture of war has its own traditions, laws and customs, rituals, ceremonies, music, art, literature, and monuments since the beginning of civilization.Throughout the ages, the culture of war has usually been highly esteemed. Not so in today's advanced countries, which tend either to mock it ("military intelligence is to intelligence what military music is to music") or to denounce it as "militaristic." This provocative book, the first of its kind, sets out to show how wrongheaded, and even dangerous, such attitudes are. The Culture of War argues that men and women, contrary to the hopes of some, are just as fascinated by war today as they have been in the past. A military that has lost touch with the culture of war is doomed not merely to defeat but to disintegration.Innovative, authoritative, and riveting, this is a major work by one of the world's greatest and most insightful military historians. From the Hardcover edition.
Offers a complete history of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), tracing it from its beginnings in Palestine in the early 1900s to the present day. Examines Israeli conflicts, debunks prominent myths about the IDF, and includes in-depth profiles of Israeli soldiers and leaders, as well as their Arab counterparts. While detailing the accomplishments of the Israeli armed forces, material also investigates the erosion of morale in the modern IDF. Annotation c. Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
In this impressive work, van Creveld considers man's use of technology over the past 4,000 years and its impact on military organization, weaponary, logistics, intelligence, communications, transportation, and command. This revised paperback edition has been updated to include an account of the range of technology in the recent Gulf War.
At a time when unprecedented change in international affairs is forcing governments, citizens, and armed forces everywhere to re-assess the question of whether military solutions to political problems are possible any longer, Martin van Creveld has written an audacious searching examination of the nature of war and of its radical transformation in our own time. For 200 years, military theory and strategy have been guided by the Clausewitzian assumption that war is rational - a reflection of national interest and an extension of politics by other means. However, van Creveld argues, the overwhelming pattern of conflict in the post-1945 world no longer yields fully to rational analysis. In fact, strategic planning based on such calculations is, and will continue to be, unrelated to current realities. Small-scale military eruptions around the globe have demonstrated new forms of warfare with a different cast of characters - guerilla armies, terrorists, and bandits - pursuing diverse goals by violent means with the most primitive to the most sophisticated weapons. Although these warriors and their tactics testify to the end of conventional war as we've known it, the public and the military in the developed world continue to contemplate organized violence as conflict between the super powers. At this moment, armed conflicts of the type van Creveld describes are occurring throughout the world. From Lebanon to Cambodia, from Sri Lanka and the Philippines to El Salvador, the Persian Gulf, and the strife-torn nations of Eastern Europe, violent confrontations confirm a new model of warfare in which tribal, ethnic, and religious factions do battle without high-tech weapons or state-supported armies and resources. This low-intensity conflict challenges existing distinctions between civilian and solder, individual crime and organized violence, terrorism and war. In the present global atmosphere, practices that for three centuries have been considered uncivilized, such as capturing civilians or even entire communities for ransom, have begun to reappear. Pursuing bold and provocative paths of inquiry, van Creveld posits the inadequacies of our most basic ideas as to who fights wars and why and broaches the inevitability of man's need to "play" at war. In turn brilliant and infuriating, this challenge to our thinking and planning current and future military encounters is one of the most important books on war we are likely to read in our lifetime.
Where did wargames come from? Who participated in them, and why? How is their development related to changes in real-life warfare? Which aspects of war did they capture, which ones did they leave out, how, and why? What do they tell us about the conduct of war in the times and places where they were played? How useful are they in training and preparation for war? Why are some so much more popular than others, and how do men and women differ in their interest? Starting with the combat of David versus Goliath, passing through the gladiatorial games, tournaments, trials by battle, duels, and boardgames such as chess, all the way to the latest simulations and computer games, this unique book traces the subject in all its splendid richness. As it does so, it provides new and occasionally surprising insights into human nature.
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