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Recomended Ancient Miltary History? posted 19 November 2005 in Author Q & ARecomended Ancient Miltary History? by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

I only read the one chapter on the formation between 1000-1600 of what he calls "the military commercial complex" in Europe. He traces the developments of warfare, both offensive and defensive, from the crossbow to the gun, to different ways of building city walls to protect against the changing assault weapons, and ties these changes to economic and commercial shifts on a mundane, political and regional levels.

I thought it was fascinating, although his long term historical analysis of Europe in relation to the rest of the world was highly problematic. He writes this anticipatory history where everything that happened in 1300 was a preordained beginning of the eventual military domination of Western Europe over the rest of the world. As if what happens 500 years later is inevitable and there is no historical contingency. His only non-European example is China, which he lets stand for the whole non-European world. He obviously has zero knowledge of the way the British took over Bengal, the financial and military base of what they later conquered in the East. Bengal was taken through the colloboration of Bengali bankers, by floating them capital and buying off a general for the British, who promised them trade concessions, they weren't getting from the Nawab of Bengal. It had nothing to do with British military prowess, which did not attain supremecy until the very end of the turn of the 19th century. In the middle of the eighteenth century, Nadir Shah of Iran had the most advanced and effective fighting force probably in the world (and the British sources who watched him invade India all agreed).

But I digress. If you take the wider conclusions he draws, which rest of ridiculous generalizations of Oriental Despotism, with a rock of salt, it's fun to read. view post


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