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The Soul of Battle: From Ancient Times to the Present Day, How Three Great Liberators Vanquished Tyranny

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Victor David Hanson, author of the highly regarded classic The Western Way of War, presents an audacious and controversial theory of what contributes ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of The Soul of Battle: From Ancient Times to the Present Day, How Three Great Liberators Vanquished Tyranny

Overall customer rating: 5.000
readerwriter

OUTSTANDING BOOK -- VDH does it again

by readerwriter on Jun 7, 2007

Victor Davis Hanson is an excellent historian. He has written many books about battle and society, all excellent. In The Soul of Battle, VDH traces the historical development of Western methods of battle and also of the free Western societies from which great democratic armies have arisen. If you want to consider the sources freedom and prosperity in a society, and the way wars have been fought -- and won -- by free democracies since the Greeks, this book is a must-read. The Soul of Battle describes the military campaigns of three commanders who sprang forth out of Western democracies: Epaminondas in ancient Greece, William Tecumseh Sherman in the American Civil War, and George S. Patton in World War II. VDH describes the military tactics and strategies in fascinating detail. He describes how each commander led an army of free, independent individuals, well-trained to act with consummate levels of discipline and camaraderie, to destroy their opponent's ability to wage war, thus to end each war sooner, and thus actually to save lives. He describes that they fought with ingenuity and discipline because they wanted to preserve the freedom they had at home, and to make it safe for their freedom-based way of life to continue. But perhaps more importantly, VDH describes the social conditions that allow the creation of this kind of democratic army: freedom, self-reliance, property ownership, individualism, civilian control of the military, ability to innovate, freedom of self-expression and inquiry, and equal protection of private property, to name just a few. VDH describes how these conditions created societies of strong, individualistic, freedom-loving citizens, who, when stirred by great urgency, became soldiers, who came together only for the purpose of winning a war as quickly and completely as possible, then disbursed immediately thereafter to their homes to go on with their lives. This book helped me to see the line pf civic freedom that started with the Greeks and runs through Rome to Europe to America and all the democracies we have in the current day. It helped me to see how war and battle have fit into the picture through the centuries. It helped me to see which parts of our laws and customs help to ensure freedom for our grandchildren and their grandchildren, and thus must be cherished and protected. This is an awesome book, wonderfully interesting, about fascinating events, told so that the reader can see what is important to preserve freedom in our current times. I highly, highly recommend it. Read it. It is simply outstanding. Then read Carnage and Culture, another VDH book. You will love it.

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