Carnage & Culture

Carnage & Culture

Victor Davis Hanson / Jun 04, 2020
Carnage Culture Examining nine landmark battles from ancient to modern times from Salamis where outnumbered Greeks devastated the slave army of Xerxes to Cortes s conquest of Mexico to the Tet offensive Victor Davi
  • Title: Carnage & Culture
  • Author: Victor Davis Hanson
  • ISBN: 9780307425188
  • Page: 208
  • Format: ebook
  • Examining nine landmark battles from ancient to modern times from Salamis, where outnumbered Greeks devastated the slave army of Xerxes, to Cortes s conquest of Mexico to the Tet offensive Victor Davis Hanson explains why the armies of the West have been the most lethal and effective of any fighting forces in the world.Looking beyond popular explanations such as geographExamining nine landmark battles from ancient to modern times from Salamis, where outnumbered Greeks devastated the slave army of Xerxes, to Cortes s conquest of Mexico to the Tet offensive Victor Davis Hanson explains why the armies of the West have been the most lethal and effective of any fighting forces in the world.Looking beyond popular explanations such as geography or superior technology, Hanson argues that it is in fact Western culture and values the tradition of dissent, the value placed on inventiveness and adaptation, the concept of citizenship which have consistently produced superior arms and soldiers Offering riveting battle narratives and a balanced perspective that avoids simple triumphalism, Carnage and Culture demonstrates how armies cannot be separated from the cultures that produce them and explains why an army produced by a free culture will always have the advantage.From the Trade Paperback edition.
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      Published :2020-03-18T04:50:13+00:00

    About "Victor Davis Hanson"

      • Victor Davis Hanson

        Hanson was educated at the University of California, Santa Cruz BA, Classics, 1975 , the American School of Classical Studies 1978 79 and received his Ph.D in Classics from Stanford University in 1980 He lives and works with his family on their forty acre tree and vine farm near Selma, California, where he was born in 1953.


    997 Comments

    1. West is best East is least Culturally speaking, of course Rather, that is the premise of Victor Davis Hanson s interesting Carnage and Culture Before I go on, let me stress the interesting, for I mean that in the very Confucian sense of the word Hanson apes John Keegan s Face of Battle in using a case study approach of selected battles to prove a larger point Here, Hanson argues that the nine randomly selected martial encounters he highlights proves that Western culture and values consistently p [...]


    2. This book is drivel, plain and simple Hanson selects nine battles from history and pairs them with what he imagines to be the characteristics of Western civilization that, when combined in a test tube, have proved to be an elixir of invincibility, carrying the world before them.The Greeks defeated the Persians in 480 B.C The lesson A free citizenry was decisive in the conflict Unfortunately, the slave laborers and women who were considered little than property and who underpinned the ancient Gr [...]


    3. Brave indeed is the academic prepared to take on the cultural relativists in today s academy, but Hanson, like the Westerner he is, suits up here for a massive ground assault straight up the gut He will surely piss off the fashionably PC crowd who have been reared to despise just about anything Western with his first chapter heading alone, Why the West Won Based upon his observation that for over 2500 years, the chief military worry of Western armies has been other Western armies, Hanson goes on [...]


    4. Carnage and Culture is, in my eyes, an example of essentialist history done badly.So, first I ll just briefly address what I mean by essentialist That is when the historian claims to have discovered some essence that define and explain whatever is being discussed This is clearly both a legitimate and an extremely useful approach but only if actually true.When done badly, the historian cherry picks only the empirical evidence which fits the essentialist thesis and discards all countervailing evid [...]


    5. Hanson argues for a distinct western strategic culture through the retelling of 9 historical battles The Greek naval victory against Persia at Salamis demonstrates the efficacy of free soldiers against slave eastern soldiers, Alexander s victory against the Achaemenids at Gaugamela demonstrates a Western preference for decisive battle, the Roman recovery after the defeat to Hannibal at Cannae shows the unique resilience of a Western army of citizen soldiers, Charles Martel s stand against the Sa [...]


    6. Written as a rebuttal of Mr Jared Diamond s book Guns, germs and Steel Mr Hanson is trained as a Classicist, though he only started academic work after his Californian raisin farm failed It is well written Diamond s I have not read it thesis is that cultures become superior through accidental circumstances like, Europe and Asia being mostly along similar latitudes, so farming tech can be transferred East West, but because the Americas are not, it is harder to transfer tech North South because of [...]


    7. Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel The Fates of Human Societies New York W.W Norton Company, Inc 1997 , Kindle edition Victor Davis Hanson, Carnage and Culture Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power New York Anchor Books, 2001 , Kindle edition Both Carnage and Culture and Guns, Germs, and Steel ask the question, why has the West won but each book asks the question from a different perspective and scale Victor Davis Hanson focuses on the origins of Western military dominance beginning w [...]


    8. international socialism can never triumph over nationalism because nationalism is sexyor at least, that s what some famous historian said here in CARNAGE AND CULTURE by VICTOR DAVIS HANSON, professor emeritus at CalState, Fresno and Fellow at Stanford s right wing Hoover Institute, isn t accurate he isn t correct in his conclusions his judgments aren t global, well informed, or multi perspective the text, however, is just sexy.what is meant by sexy, is that Hanson is arguing, repeatedly, a natio [...]


    9. Hanson hits a homerun here His premise that all cultures are not created equal is startling considering the orthodox I m OK, you re OK line on comparative cultural thinking these days I think reading this book marked a milepost for me in that it helped convince me that I m not exactly on board with the multiculturist point of view that all cultures are or less equal While I love to consider diverse cultural viewpoints and I love the celebration of many cultures from a moral perspective, I do in [...]


    10. Readable and full of interesting details, but the author failed to convince me that Western culture is inherently superior at mustering and supporting armies, and at military strategy than all other cultures which it has encountered I m not enough of a military historian of ancient battles to know how accurate his portrayals of those conflicts were, but I am an historian of the Vietnam war and his account of the Tet Offensive and his embrace of the stab in the back theory, in which civilian lack [...]


    11. A brutally convincing rebuttal to Jared Diamond s excellent, imaginative, and deeply incorrect though not obviously so Guns, Germs, and Steel.If you already know a lot of history, this is great If you do not, you will want to by the time you are done, because the author can make what is interesting remain so, and he does in spades.



    12. This was a very thought provoking book At first, I was expecting of a historical survey 12 Greatest Battles of World History and there was an homage to those sorts of volumes dating back to Gibbon and beyond.Instead, this book is a rebuttal to Jared Diamond s Guns Germs and Steel and the larger geographical argument to historical analysis Hanson s thesis is that a collection of complimentary memes though he never uses the term in military, political, and economic practice that together comprise [...]


    13. At first I thought I did not like this book because to put it bluntly I don t like the inherent right wing politics of the book In the end though it is just a really badly structured and I suspect edited book that often repeats itself in flabby prose that makes me not like it.The format of the book is too look at 7 battles that best distinguishes the peculiar nature and superiority of Western warfare The West won, not because of necessarily superior weaponry, but a spectacularly effective war cu [...]


    14. Like all proper historians of war, Hanson never spares the reader the horrible gore, pain, and loss from combat Indeed, I believe war historians, like Stephen Ambrose, have a duty to convey the experience of war such that the regular civilian will never see that there may be no illusions about what war actually does It spills the blood of the innocents and combatants alike it maims countless others it leads to rape, famine, and disease it stimulates the economy, but only until it evaporates the [...]


    15. The very interesting verse with a very controversial premise exploring why the west has won militarily.Other books have been written which try to attribute their success to geography or natural resources or disease or technology But this author makes a bold claim that Western military success can be attributed to their culture He gives full credit to the bravery, genius, heroism, and physical strength of the armies that lost in battle to dominant Western powers over the last 2500 years But start [...]


    16. Beyond any problems with Hanson s thesis any all encompassing historical thesis is guilty of cherry picking , this book is too poorly written to slog through I made it through the first three of the nine battles and barely, at that There is very little narrative logic, either in the chapter organization or even in individual sentences The battles are not discussed linearly, but are often introduced from the middle or near end of the battle and then at some point later in the chapter the actual c [...]


    17. Victor Davis Hanson injects a fresh stream of truth into the stale, feelings filled debate over history and western culture.Carnage and Culture says right from the beginning, it does not intend to deal in the morality of decisions, but rather in their results It is not meant for those who are constantly looking to be offended over things that doesn t fit with their overblown, self professed compassion, because it contains alien ideas like the notion that cultures are different from each other, a [...]


    18. VDH clearly knows his military history However, I could not shake the feeling as I was reading that he developed his conclusions first and then went through military history to find examples to prove his case His reasoning and logic is sound as a descriptive view of the Western Way of War I m not convinced his thesis can provide the predictive analysis he tries to force from the basic premise, as in this is why the Western Way of War has worked in the past, and therefore this is why it will work [...]


    19. I periodically re read this book, and just finished the fourth reading a few days ago Hanson, in my opinion, is America s best historical author when it comes to explaining how Democracy and lethal war making go hand in hand He explains the development of western civilization in a way that makes sense, and is easily understood I do NOT agree with his politics, which I feel the need to say because I ve read plenty of his columns in periodicals But I don t believe his current political views affec [...]


    20. Hanson s book, like much of his work, is a sad commentary on a fictionalized and narrow view of America and the West that is maddening to read for it s contorted logic and myopic view of history Yet, sometimes, it seems that such drivel passed off for the nationalist or ideologue as true scholarship should be read and critiqued.


    21. Interesting in bits but I m not sure about the conclusions he draws.Based on a western idea of victory though he s right, unfortunately as Afraqistan is showing not everyone plays by the same rules.


    22. Most of this book was repetitive and tedious, although Hanson has a real flair for describing combat It was almost worth it just for the brilliant depiction of Parmenio s desperate stand at Gaugemala or the opening salvo of the Galleases at Lepanto Unfortunately, he avoids the most interesting questions about Western superiority in arms We all already know that the combination of capitalism and science has been deadly Of course a Martini Henry is a dangerous weapon than an assegai You don t nee [...]


    23. 4.5 stars Victor Davis Hanson makes a strong case for why cultures with democratic forms of government, free market economies, free flowing information, traditions of critical and open research, and with meritocratic and well led militaries manned by citizens who voluntarily accept the discipline and rules of good ordere ultimately the most likely to succeed in wars which require great sacrifice, the violent clash of arms, the dogged pursuit of victory, and constant innovation and adaptation Han [...]


    24. Excellent take on the importance of free societies and cultures typically being better equipped than authoritarian regimes to expand and create empires, due to their ability to create new ideas and adopt ones they come in contact with, if they find them useful As well as the innate ability of free peoples to fight harder because they fight at the very least for self preservation, rather than fighting simply as forced labor.


    25. Excellent read for students of military strategy Amazingly true, that Western powers have thus far always won the wars from the beginning of recorded history to date This book tells you why and how.




    26. This book is a well written and well defended essay on a controversial topic Not only is it quite informative about the history behind the battles, but it also a hypothesis on a phenomenon.


    27. Why has the West won why did Europe dominate Asia, Africa and the New World, and America dominate them in turn is the question of this book Focusing specifically on military power rather than the nature of Western civilization in general and avoiding the question of whether a civilization is moral than another, military historian Victor Hanson uses nine landmark battles to illustrate his point that the Greco Roman creation of enlightened economic, moral, and political systems and emphatically n [...]


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