The Pursuit of Power

Author: William H. McNeill
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022616019X
Format: PDF
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In this magnificent synthesis of military, technological, and social history, William H. McNeill explores a whole millennium of human upheaval and traces the path by which we have arrived at the frightening dilemmas that now confront us. McNeill moves with equal mastery from the crossbow—banned by the Church in 1139 as too lethal for Christians to use against one another—to the nuclear missile, from the sociological consequences of drill in the seventeenth century to the emergence of the military-industrial complex in the twentieth. His central argument is that a commercial transformation of world society in the eleventh century caused military activity to respond increasingly to market forces as well as to the commands of rulers. Only in our own time, suggests McNeill, are command economies replacing the market control of large-scale human effort. The Pursuit of Power does not solve the problems of the present, but its discoveries, hypotheses, and sheer breadth of learning do offer a perspective on our current fears and, as McNeill hopes, "a ground for wiser action."

The Pursuit of Power

Author: William H. McNeill
Publisher: Acls History E-Book Project
ISBN: 9781597402903
Format: PDF
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In this magnificent synthesis of military, technological, and social history, William H. McNeill explores a whole millennium of human upheaval and traces the path by which we have arrived at the frightening dilemmas that now confront us. McNeill moves with equal mastery from the crossbow--banned by the Church in 1139 as too lethal for Christians to use against one another--to the nuclear missile, from the sociological consequences of drill in the seventeenth century to the emergence of the military-industrial complex in the twentieth. His central argument is that a commercial transformation of world society in the eleventh century caused military activity to respond increasingly to market forces as well as to the commands of rulers. Only in our own time, suggests McNeill, are command economies replacing the market control of large-scale human effort. The Pursuit of Power does not solve the problems of the present, but its discoveries, hypotheses, and sheer breadth of learning do offer a perspective on our current fears and, as McNeill hopes, a ground for wiser action. No summary can do justice to McNeill's intricate, encyclopedic treatment. . . . McNeill's erudition is stunning, as he moves easily from European to Chinese and Islamic cultures and from military and technological to socio-economic and political developments. The result is a grand synthesis of sweeping proportions and interdisciplinary character that tells us almost as much about the history of butter as the history of guns. . . . McNeill's larger accomplishment is to remind us that all humankind has a shared past and, particularly with regard to its choice of weapons and warfare, a shared stake in thefuture.--Stuart Rochester, Washington Post Book World Mr. McNeill's comprehensiveness and sensitivity do for the reader what Henry James said that Turgenev's conversation did for him: they suggest 'all sorts of valuable things.' This narrative of rationality applied to irrational purposes and of ingenuity cannibalizing itself is a work of clarity, which delineates mysteries. The greatest of them, to my mind, is why human beings have never learned to cherish their own species.--Naomi Bliven, The New Yorker

The Pursuit of Power

Author: William H. McNeill
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226561585
Format: PDF, Docs
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Shows the interrelatedness of technical, military, political, and economic history and examines the changes introduced by the industrialization of war

Keeping Together in Time

Author: William Hardy MCNEILL
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674040872
Format: PDF
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Could something as simple and seemingly natural as falling into step have marked us for evolutionary success? In Keeping Together in Time one of the most widely read and respected historians in America pursues the possibility that coordinated rhythmic movement--and the shared feelings it evokes--has been a powerful force in holding human groups together. As he has done for historical phenomena as diverse as warfare, plague, and the pursuit of power, William McNeill brings a dazzling breadth and depth of knowledge to his study of dance and drill in human history. From the records of distant and ancient peoples to the latest findings of the life sciences, he discovers evidence that rhythmic movement has played a profound role in creating and sustaining human communities. The behavior of chimpanzees, festival village dances, the close-order drill of early modern Europe, the ecstatic dance-trances of shamans and dervishes, the goose-stepping Nazi formations, the morning exercises of factory workers in Japan--all these and many more figure in the bold picture McNeill draws. A sense of community is the key, and shared movement, whether dance or military drill, is its mainspring. McNeill focuses on the visceral and emotional sensations such movement arouses, particularly the euphoric fellow-feeling he calls "muscular bonding." These sensations, he suggests, endow groups with a capacity for cooperation, which in turn improves their chance of survival. A tour de force of imagination and scholarship, Keeping Together in Time reveals the muscular, rhythmic dimension of human solidarity. Its lessons will serve us well as we contemplate the future of the human community and of our various local communities. Table of Contents: Muscular Bonding Human Evolution Small Communities Religious Ceremonies Politics and War Conclusion Notes Index Reviews of this book: "In his imaginative and provocative book...William H. McNeill develops an unconventional notion that, he observes, is 'simplicity itself.' He maintains that people who move together to the same beat tend to bond and thus that communal dance and drill alter human feelings." DD--John Mueller, New York Times Book Review "Every now and then, a slender, graceful, unassuming little volume modestly proposes a radical rethinking of human history. Such a book is Keeping Together in Time...Important, witty, and thoroughly approachable, [it] could, perhaps, only be written by a scholar in retirement with a lifetime's interdisciplinary reading to ponder, the imagination to conceive unanswerable questions, and the courage, in this age of over-speculation, to speculate in areas where certainty is impossible. Its vision of dance as a shaper of evolution, a perpetually sustainable and sustaining resource, would crown anyone's career." DD--Penelope Reed Doob, Toronto Globe and Mail "McNeill is one of our greatest living historians...As usual with McNeill, Keeping Together in Time contains a wonderfully broad survey of practices in other times and places. There are the Greeks, who invented the flute-accompanied phalanx, and the Romans, who invented calling cadence while marching. There are the Shakers, who combined worship and dancing, and the Mormons, who carefully separated the functions but who prospered at least as much on the strength of their dancing as their Sunday morning worship." DD--David Warsh, Boston Sunday Globe "[A] wide-ranging and thought-provoking book...A mind-stretching exploration of the thesis that `keeping together in time'--army drill, village dances, and the like--consolidates group solidarity by making us feel good about ourselves and the group and thus was critical for social cohesion and group survival in the past." DD--Virginia Quarterly Review "[This book is] nothing less than a survey of the historical impact of shared rhythmic motion from the paleolithic to the present, an impact that [McNeill] finds surprisingly significant...McNeill moves beyond Durkheim in noting that in complex societies divided by social class muscular bonding may be the medium through which discontented and oppressed groups can gain the solidarity necessary for challenging the existing social order." DD--Robert N. Bellah, Commonweal "The title of this fascinating essay contains a pun that sums up its thesis" keeping together in time, or coordinated rhythmic movement and the shared feelings it evokes, has kept human groups together throughout history. Most of McNeill's pioneering study is devoted to the history of communal dancing...[This] volume will appeal equally to scholars and to the general reader." DD--Doyne Dawson, Military History "As with so many themes [like this one], whether in science or in symphonies, one wonders (in retrospect) why it has not been invented before...[T]he book is fascinating." DD--K. Kortmulder, Acta Biotheoretica (The Netherlands) "This scholarly and creative exploration of the largely unresearched phenomenon of shared euphoria aroused by unison movement moves across the disciplines of dance, history, sociology, and psychology...Highly recommended." DD--Choice

War in European History

Author: Michael Howard
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199546193
Format: PDF, Docs
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A new edition of this brilliantly written survey of the changing ways that war has been waged in Europe, from the Norse invasions to the present day, Michael Howard illuminates the way in which warfare has shaped the history of the Continent, its effect on social and political institutions, and the ways in which technological and social change have in turn shaped the way in which wars are fought. This new edition includes a fully updated further reading and a newchapter bringing the story into the twenty-first century, including the invasion of Iraq and the so-called 'War against Terror'.

The Rise And Fall of British Naval Mastery

Author: Paul Kennedy
Publisher: Penguin UK
ISBN: 0141983833
Format: PDF, Docs
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Paul Kennedy's classic naval history, now updated with a new introduction by the author This acclaimed book traces Britain's rise and fall as a sea power from the Tudors to the present day. Challenging the traditional view that the British are natural 'sons of the waves', he suggests instead that the country's fortunes as a significant maritime force have always been bound up with its economic growth. In doing so, he contributes significantly to the centuries-long debate between 'continental' and 'maritime' schools of strategy over Britain's policy in times of war. Setting British naval history within a framework of national, international, economic, political and strategic considerations, he offers a fresh approach to one of the central questions in British history. A new introduction extends his analysis into the twenty-first century and reflects on current American and Chinese ambitions for naval mastery. 'Excellent and stimulating' Correlli Barnett 'The first scholar to have set the sweep of British Naval history against the background of economic history' Michael Howard, Sunday Times 'By far the best study that has ever been done on the subject ... a sparkling and apt quotation on practically every page' Daniel A. Baugh, International History Review 'The best single-volume study of Britain and her naval past now available to us' Jon Sumida, Journal of Modern History

Europe s Steppe Frontier 1500 1800

Author: William H. McNeill
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022605103X
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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In Europe’s Steppe Frontier, acclaimed historian William H. McNeill analyzes the process whereby the thinly occupied grasslands of southeastern Europe were incorporated into the bodies-social of three great empires: the Ottoman, the Austrian, and the Russian. McNeill benefits from a New World detachment from the bitter nationality quarrels of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century which inspired but also blinded most of the historians of the region. Moreover, the unique institutional adjustments southeastern Europeans made to the frontier challenge cast indirect light upon the peculiarities of the North American frontier experience.

Complex Deterrence

Author: T. V. Paul
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226650049
Format: PDF, Mobi
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As the costs of a preemptive foreign policy in Iraq have become clear, strategies such as containment and deterrence have been gaining currency among policy makers. This comprehensive book offers an agenda for the contemporary practice of deterrence—especially as it applies to nuclear weapons—in an increasingly heterogeneous global and political setting. Moving beyond the precepts of traditional deterrence theory, this groundbreaking volume offers insights for the use of deterrence in the modern world, where policy makers may encounter irrational actors, failed states, religious zeal, ambiguous power relationships, and other situations where the traditional rules of statecraft do not apply. A distinguished group of contributors here examines issues such as deterrence among the Great Powers; the problems of regional and nonstate actors; and actors armed with chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. Complex Deterrence will be a valuable resource for anyone facing the considerable challenge of fostering security and peace in the twenty-first century.

Unmanned

Author: William M. Arkin
Publisher: Little, Brown
ISBN: 0316323365
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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UNMANNED is an in-depth examination of why seemingly successful wars never seem to end. The problem centers on drones, now accumulated in the thousands, the front end of a spying and killing machine that is disconnected from either security or safety. Drones, however, are only part of the problem. William Arkin shows that security is actually undermined by an impulse to gather as much data as possible, the appetite and the theory both skewed towards the notion that no amount is too much. And yet the very endeavor of putting fewer human in potential danger places everyone in greater danger. Wars officially end, but the Data Machine lives on forever. Throughout his career, Arkin has exposed powerful secrets of so-called national security and intelligence. Now he continues that tradition. The most alarming book about warfare in years, UNMANNED is essential reading for anyone who cares about the future of mankind.