Military history

Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise to Western Power

Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise to Western Power

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 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.


Chapter 1. Why the West Has Won

PART ONE - Creation

Chapter 2. Freedom—or “To Live as You Please”

Chapter 3. Decisive Battle

Chapter 4. Citizen Soldiers

PART TWO - Continuity

Chapter 5. Landed Infantry

Chapter 6. Technology and the Wages of Reason

Chapter 7. The Market—or Capitalism Kills

PART THREE - Control

Chapter 8. Discipline—or Warriors Are Not Always Soldiers

Chapter 9. Individualism

Chapter 10. Dissent and Self-Critique

EPILOGUE: Western Warfare— Past and Future

AFTERWORD: Carnage and Culture after September 11, 2001


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