A History of Warfare

A History of Warfare

by John Keegan


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The acclaimed author and preeminent military historian John Keegan examines centuries of human conflict. From primitive man in the bronze age to the end of the cold war in the twentieth century, Keegan shows how armed conflict has been a primary preoccupation throughout the history of civilization and how deeply rooted its practice has become in our cultures. 

"Keegan is at once the most readable and the most original of living military historians . . . A History of Warfare is perhaps the most remarkable study of warfare that has yet been written."—The New York Times Book Review.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780394588018
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/19/1993
Pages: 432
Product dimensions: 6.65(w) x 9.54(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

John Keegan was for many years senior lecturer in military history at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and has been a fellow at Princeton University and a visiting professor of history at Vassar College. He is the author of twenty books, including the acclaimed The Face of Battle and The Second World War. He lived in Wiltshire, England until his death in 2012.

Table of Contents


1. War in Human History
Interlude: Limitations on Warmaking

2. Stone
Interlude: Fortification

3. Flesh
Interlude: Armies

4. Iron
Interlude: Logistics and Supply

5. Fire


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History of Warfare 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Unquestionably Keegan's most brilliant work--and that says a lot. This work traces the development of warfare from the Stone Age to the Modern, but is in reality a history of world civilization, and demonstrates with brilliant clarity the linkage between the two. Keegan seeks initially to explain what warfare is, and why it seems so dominant in human history. Rejecting the Clausewitzian theory of war as simply politics, Keegan instead shows how warfare and culture are inextricably connected, and how the process of cultural development influences and is influenced by military developments. The focus is primarily on evolution--why each development led to the next, why one culture supplanted another. The historical perspective is impressive; the largest part of the text developing history in the ancient era (suprising how insignificant our 'modern' era is). Analysis is also devoted to subjects like fortifications and logistics, and their development in the historical pattern. Yet ultimately it is a study of the human animal, as penetrating and insightful as any analysis yet done. This is an absolute 'must read' for anyone interested in history, military history, or in the sociological history of mankind. It is absolutely without peer.
maunder on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Keegan's history traces warfare from pre-history through the Greeks and Romans to modern times and explores how tactics, strategies and equipment have changed. While the book is a little dry in places, it drives home the point that warfare as we know it is neither natural or an inevitable extension of politics as Clauswitz asserted. Total war in fact turns Clauswitz's premise on its ear because it is, in today's terms suicidal
Newmans2001 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Keegan has a unique insight, understanding and knowledge, from a point of view all too rare in the analysis of war and warriors. He makes numerous points very clearly that change my outlook and insight significantly. So many things in history we look at are viewed in a current context, and so many fail to look from the time perspective of the participant, but to look as it takes place over time and it place in development is most insightful.
jamespurcell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Comprehensive, definitive and as always with a Keegan book; eminently readable.
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