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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Father of Us All: War and History, Ancient and Modern by Victor Davis Hanson

Excellent Series of Essays

Victor Davis Hanson's The Father of Us All is an excellent series of essays about war - why we fight, how we fight, the compromises societies make with themselves as they fight, what causes some countries to keep fighting while others grow weary of it, what types of societies deal best with the stresses of war, the future of war and a look at the American way of waging war.

Many of these essays have been previously published (or substantial parts of them) in magazines but Hanson has re-worked and amplified them. I only recognized one essay and the new version was longer and more substantive.

Hanson is a brilliant essayist - he expands the reader's point of view without talking down to him. Instead, in plain language he discusses large ideas and, happily, he includes plenty of references to other authors and other books that he has found interesting and informative. Reading Hanson is liking talking to an old friend who not only informs, he also entertains and brings along a list of fascinating books, authors and topics and quotes for you to enjoy as well.

Victor Davis Hanson
His last essay, "How Western Wars Are Lost - and Won" is a fascinating look at the current war on terror. It builds on all of the other essays and frankly wonders if the West has what it takes to defend itself any longer: "We presently witness the absurd situation in which a lunatic Iranian regime uses it oil wealth to spin thousands of imported centrifuges to enrich uranium, while peaceful democratic Germany, where nuclear physics originate, could well be blackmailed by the threat of losing a Munich or Hamburg - despite its ability to build within a year thousands of fusion bombs as predictably lethal as a BMW or Mercedes is reliable." (p. 240)

A fascinating series of essays. Well worth your time.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: The Father of Us All: War and History, Ancient and Modern by Victor Davis Hanson.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on May 18, 2010.

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