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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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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John Lewis
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.
Mark Engler
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.
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