By now, we all know that technological and strategic revolutions have changed the face of war, but how many of us also realize how much these innovations have also transformed the world beyond the battlefield? Narrative historian Max Boot contends that advances in military affairs helped create the modern nation, facilitated the growth of European colonial empires, and aided the rise of 20th-century totalitarian governments. Boot's detail-packed discussion of the impact of military revolutions on the course of modern history makes War Made New one of the most provocative, thought-stimulating books in recent memory.
Boot, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of The Savage Wars of Peace, proposes to offer "fresh insights about the future" by demonstrating how technological advances have changed the course of landmark battles and campaigns -- from the early days of gunpowder; to the 19th century's extension of the Industrial Revolution onto the battlefield in the form of railroads, repeating rifles, the telegraph and mass-society armies; then to the 20th century's employment of radio, radar, blitzkrieg and long-range bombing; and finally to the military impact of today's ongoing information revolution.
The Washington Post
…unusual, and magisterial, survey of technology and war…Boot approaches this material narratively. He provides illuminating detail on individual battles, while also assessing the fitness and character of the commanders, as well as the culture of their armies and their missions.
The New York Times
From bronze cannons to smart bombs, this engaging study examines the impact of new weaponry on war by spotlighting exemplary battles, including famous epics like the defeat of the Spanish Armada and the attack on Pearl Harbor along with obscure clashes like the 1898 Battle of Omdurman, in which a British colonial force mowed down Sudanese tribesmen with machine guns. Boot (The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power) gives due weight to social context: advanced weapons don't spell victory unless accompanied by good training and leadership; innovative doctrine; an efficient, well-funded bureaucracy; and a "battle culture of forbearance" that eschews warrior ferocity in favor of a soldierly ethos of disciplined stoicism under fire. These factors flourish, he contends, under a rationalist, progressive Western mindset. The author, a journalist and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, enlivens his war stories with profiles of generals from Gustavus Adolphus to Norman Schwarzkopf and splashes of blood and guts. Boot distills 500 years of military history into a well-paced, insightful narrative. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Advancements in military and naval hardware invariably lead to the development of tactical and organizational improvements that exploit the new technologies. Boot (foreign affairs columnist, Los Angeles Times; The Savage Wars of Peace) emphasizes that victory in battle relies as much on such organizational innovations as on technology itself. To illustrate, he describes battles fought by adversaries who were technological peers but who organized and employed their forces in radically different ways. Thus, he contrasts the nimble Swedish forces with the ponderous Austrian army at Breitenfeld (1631) and the concentrated, fast-moving German panzer units of 1940 with the dispersed and static French armored forces. The battles that Boot describes are deliberately selected for their lopsided outcomes, and he provides background information to place the engagements in historical contexts. He ignores such conflicts as the Napoleonic Wars and American Civil War that saw some advances but did not signal drastic change. Boot addresses the present conflict in Iraq, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the opposing forces, and concludes with a look at future innovations in military hardware. Readable and informative, this book provides a valuable overview of how military innovations can abruptly affect the course of history. Highly recommended for public and undergraduate libraries. Richard Fraser, formerly archivist & curator of manuscripts, Coll. of Physicians, Philadelphia Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.