Nothing Less than Victory: Decisive Wars and the Lessons of History

Princeton University Press
7
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The goal of war is to defeat the enemy's will to fight. But how this can be accomplished is a thorny issue. Nothing Less than Victory provocatively shows that aggressive, strategic military offenses can win wars and establish lasting peace, while defensive maneuvers have often led to prolonged carnage, indecision, and stalemate. Taking an ambitious and sweeping look at six major wars, from antiquity to World War II, John David Lewis shows how victorious military commanders have achieved long-term peace by identifying the core of the enemy's ideological, political, and social support for a war, fiercely striking at this objective, and demanding that the enemy acknowledges its defeat.

Lewis examines the Greco-Persian and Theban wars, the Second Punic War, Aurelian's wars to reunify Rome, the American Civil War, and the Second World War. He considers successful examples of overwhelming force, such as the Greek mutilation of Xerxes' army and navy, the Theban-led invasion of the Spartan homeland, and Hannibal's attack against Italy--as well as failed tactics of defense, including Fabius's policy of delay, McClellan's retreat from Richmond, and Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler. Lewis shows that a war's endurance rests in each side's reasoning, moral purpose, and commitment to fight, and why an effectively aimed, well-planned, and quickly executed offense can end a conflict and create the conditions needed for long-term peace.


Recognizing the human motivations behind military conflicts, Nothing Less than Victory makes a powerful case for offensive actions in pursuit of peace.

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About the author

John David Lewis is visiting associate professor of philosophy, politics, and economics at Duke University, and senior research scholar in history and classics at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center at Bowling Green State University. He is the author of Solon the Thinker: Political Thought in Archaic Athens and Early Greek Lawgivers.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jan 25, 2010
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9781400834303
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / General
Political Science / Peace
Technology & Engineering / Military Science
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The greatest accomplishment of Western civilization is arguably the achievement of individual liberty through limits on the power of the state. In the war-torn twentieth century, we rarely hear that one of the main costs of armed conflict is long-term loss of liberty to winners and losers alike. Beyond the obvious and direct costs of dead and wounded soldiers, there is the lifetime struggle of veterans to live with their nightmares and their injuries; the hidden economic costs of inflation, debts, and taxes; and more generally the damages caused to our culture, our morality, and to civilization at large. The new edition is now available in paperback, with a number of new essays. It represents a large-scale collective effort to pierce the veils of myth and propaganda to reveal the true costs of war, above all, the cost to liberty.

Central to this volume are the views of Ludwig von Mises on war and foreign policy. Mises argued that war, along with colonialism and imperialism, is the greatest enemy of freedom and prosperity, and that peace throughout the world cannot be achieved until the central governments of the major nations become limited in scope and power. In the spirit of these theorems by Mises, the contributors to this volume consider the costs of war generally and assess specific corrosive effects of major American wars since the Revolution. The first section includes chapters on the theoretical and institutional dimensions of the relationship between war and society, including conscription, infringements on freedom, the military as an engine of social change, war and literature, and the right of citizens to bear arms. The second group includes reconsiderations of Lincoln and Churchill, an analysis of the anti-interventionist idea in American politics, a discussion of the meaning of the "just war," an assessment of how World War I changed the course of Western civilization, and finally two eyewitness accounts of the true horrors of actual combat by veterans of World War II. The Costs of War is unique in its combination of historical scope and timeliness for current debates about foreign policy and military intervention. It will be of interest to historians, political scientists, economists, and sociologists.

Carl von Clausewitz has long been interpreted as the paradigmatic thinker of major interstate war. This book challenges this assumption by showing that Clausewitz was an ardent analyst of small war and integrated many aspects of his early writings on partisan warfare and people's war into his magnum opus, On War. It reconstructs Clausewitz's intellectual development by placing it in the context of his engagement with the political and philosophical currents of his own times - German Idealism, Romanticism, and Humanism. The central question that Clausewitz and his contemporaries faced was how to defend Prussia and Europe against Napoleon's expansionist strategy. On the one hand, the nationalization of war that had occurred as a result of the French Revolution could only be countered by drawing the people into the defence of their own countries. On the other, this risked a descent into anarchy and unchecked terror, as the years 1793 and 1794 in France had shown. Throughout his life Clausewitz remained optimistic that the institution of the Prussian Landwehr could achieve both an effective defence of Prussia and a social and political integration of its citizens. Far from leaving behind his early advocacy of people's war, Clausewitz integrated it systematically into his mature theory of war. People's war was war in its existential form; it risked escalating into 'absolute war'. However, if the threat of defensive people's war had become a standard option of last resort in early-nineteenth century Europe, it could also function as a safeguard of the balance of power.
A harrowing exploration of the collapse of American diplomacy and the abdication of global leadership, by the winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service.

US foreign policy is undergoing a dire transformation, forever changing America’s place in the world. Institutions of diplomacy and development are bleeding out after deep budget cuts; the diplomats who make America’s deals and protect its citizens around the world are walking out in droves. Offices across the State Department sit empty, while abroad the military-industrial complex has assumed the work once undertaken by peacemakers. We’re becoming a nation that shoots first and asks questions later.

In an astonishing journey from the corridors of power in Washington, DC, to some of the most remote and dangerous places on earth—Afghanistan, Somalia, and North Korea among them—acclaimed investigative journalist Ronan Farrow illuminates one of the most consequential and poorly understood changes in American history. His firsthand experience as a former State Department official affords a personal look at some of the last standard bearers of traditional statecraft, including Richard Holbrooke, who made peace in Bosnia and died while trying to do so in Afghanistan.

Drawing on newly unearthed documents, and richly informed by rare interviews with warlords, whistle-blowers, and policymakers—including every living former secretary of state from Henry Kissinger to Hillary Clinton to Rex Tillerson—War on Peace makes a powerful case for an endangered profession. Diplomacy, Farrow argues, has declined after decades of political cowardice, shortsightedness, and outright malice—but it may just offer America a way out of a world at war.

Designed for students and teachers of Ancient History or Classical Civilisation at school and in early university years, this series provides a valuable collection of guides to the history, art, literature, values and social institutions of the ancient world. "Early Greek Lawgivers" examines the men who brought laws to the early Greek city states, as an introduction both to the development of law and to the basic issues in early legal practice. The lawgiver was a man of special status, who could resolve disputes without violence, and who brought a sense of order to his community. Figures such as Minos of Crete, Lycurgus of Sparta and Solon of Athens resolved the chaos of civil strife by bringing comprehensive norms of ethical conduct to their fellows, and establishing those norms in the form of oral or written laws. Arbitration, justice, procedural versus substantive law, ethical versus legal norms, and the special character of written laws, form the background to the examination of the lawgivers themselves. Crete, under king Minos, became an example of the ideal community for later Greeks, such as Plato.The unwritten laws of Lycurgus established the foundations of the Spartan state, in contrast with the written laws of Solon in Athens. Other lawgivers illustrate particular issues in early law; for instance, Zaleucus on the divine source of laws; Philolaus on family law; Phaleas on communism of property; and Hippodamus on civic planning. This is an ideal first introduction to the establishment of law in ancient Greece. It is written for late school and early university students.
Strategic nonviolent action has reasserted itself as a potent force in shaping public debate and forcing political change. Whether it is an explosive surge of protest calling for racial justice in the United States, a demand for democratic reform in Hong Kong or Mexico, a wave of uprisings against dictatorship in the Middle East, or a tent city on Wall Street that spreads throughout the country, when mass movements erupt onto our television screens, the media portrays them as being as spontaneous and unpredictable. In This is an Uprising, political analysts Mark and Paul Engler uncover the organization and well-planned strategies behind such outbursts of protest, examining core principles that have been used to spark and guide moments of transformative unrest.

This is an Uprising traces the evolution of civil resistance, providing new insights into the contributions of early experimenters such as Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., groundbreaking theorists such as Gene Sharp and Frances Fox Piven, and contemporary practitioners who have toppled repressive regimes in countries such as South Africa, Serbia, and Egypt. Drawing from discussions with activists now working to defend human rights, challenge corporate corruption, and combat climate change, the Englers show how people with few resources and little influence in conventional politics can nevertheless engineer momentous upheavals.

Although it continues to prove its importance in political life, the strategic use of nonviolent action is poorly understood. Nonviolence is usually studied as a philosophy or moral code, rather than as a method of political conflict, disruption, and escalation. This is an Uprising corrects this oversight. It argues that if we are always taken by surprise by dramatic outbreaks of revolt, and if we decline to incorporate them into our view of how societies progress, then we pass up the chance to fully grasp a critical phenomenon—and to harness its power to create lasting change.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER
Search for Common Ground Award
Middle East Institute Award
Finalist, Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought
Stavros Niarchos Prize for Survivorship
Nobel Peace Prize nominee

"A necessary lesson against hatred and revenge" -Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize laureate

"In this book, Doctor Abuelaish has expressed a remarkable commitment to forgiveness and reconciliation that describes the foundation for a permanent peace in the Holy Land." -President Jimmy Carter, Nobel Peace Prize laureate

By turns inspiring and heart-breaking, hopeful and horrifying, I Shall Not Hate is Izzeldin Abuelaish's account of an extraordinary life.

A Harvard-trained Palestinian doctor who was born and raised in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip and "who has devoted his life to medicine and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians" (New York Times), Abuelaish has been crossing the lines in the sand that divide Israelis and Palestinians for most of his life - as a physician who treats patients on both sides of the line, as a humanitarian who sees the need for improved health and education for women as the way forward in the Middle East. And, most recently, as the father whose daughters were killed by Israeli soldiers on January 16, 2009, during Israel's incursion into the Gaza Strip. His response to this tragedy made news and won him humanitarian awards around the world.

Instead of seeking revenge or sinking into hatred, Abuelaish called for the people in the region to start talking to each other. His deepest hope is that his daughters will be "the last sacrifice on the road to peace between Palestinians and Israelis."
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