Saturday, December 15, 2007

The First Total War (Book #124)

The First Total War: Napoleon's Europe and the Birth of Warfare as We Know It (David Bell, 2007) sees the seeds of our modern attitude toward war not in the horrific conflicts of the 20th century but in the social upheaval of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. I don't know if I agree with him 100%, but I enjoyed this look at "my" era from the perspective of intellectual history, and I feel like it gave me a better understanding of how the various upheavals in France 1789-1815 (and their impact on Europe as a whole) flowed from each other and from the intellectual currents of the time.

Oh, and while the book spends only a small part of its page count on comparisons to what has happened since, don't read this book if you think the Iraq War was a good idea. Bell has some digs at Bush & Co. that will just make you angry.

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