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The Short History of War

`‘A very compact and compelling book … Truly remarkable.’ Andrew Roberts

A concise yet magisterial introduction to the history of war, from ancient times to the present

Through the centuries, warfare has violently transformed social, political, and religious aspects of people’s lives. While every culture recounts tales of wars—past, present, and future—to create and reinforce a common purpose, a community’s understanding of an earlier conflict can have profound and tragic consequences.

In this sweeping and hugely readable overview, Jeremy Black examines war as a global phenomenon, from Han China to Assyria, Imperial Rome to Napoleonic France, Vietnam to Afghanistan. Along the way he explores such topics as the origins of conflict, castles and early fortresses, and nineteenth-century imperialism.

The Short History of War shows that weaponry in particular has had a fundamental impact on modes of fighting: it created war in the air and transformed it at sea. Today, as familiar twentieth-century weapons are challenged by drones and robotics, Black suggests what the future of warfare may look like.

‘Jeremy Black has somehow managed to condense a vast and complex subject into a very compact and compelling book. His global range, avoidance of repetition of the standard topics, and ability to capture the variety of warfare in all its forms throughout history is truly remarkable.’
Professor Andrew Roberts, author of Churchill: Walking with Destiny

‘This is an excellent overview of the history of war. Highly recommended reading for anyone who wants to understand the evolution of war around the globe from prehistory to the present day.’
Professor Heather Jones, University College London

‘This is a truly global survey which amounts to a miracle of compression. Indispensable for students and scholars alike’.
Professor Gary Sheffield, University of Wolverhampton

Jeremy Black is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Exeter. Black has published widely in military history, including War and the World and Air Power. His other works include Maps and History and Naval Warfare.

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