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Extended Audio Sample A History of Warfare, by John Keegan Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,263 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Keegan Narrator: Frederick Davidson Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In this encyclopedically learned and immensely gripping book, one of our foremost military historians demolishes the famous dictum that war is the continuation of policy by other means. Beginning with the premise that all civilizations owe their origins to warmaking, Keegan probes the meanings, motivations, and methods underlying war in different societies over the course of more than two thousand years. Following the progress of human aggression in its full historical sweep—from the strangely ritualistic combat of Stone Age peoples to the warfare of mass destruction in the present age—his illuminating and lively narrative gives us all the world’s great warrior cultures, including the Zulus, the samurai, and the horse peoples of the steppe, as well as the famed warmakers of the West. He shows why honor has always been accorded to the soldierly virtues, whatever the cultural context, and how war has maintained its singular hold on the imagination, reaching into “the most secret places of the human heart, where self dissolves rational purpose, where pride reigns, where emotion is paramount, where instinct is king.” Keegan’s analysis of centuries of conflict unveils the deepest motives behind humanity’s penchant for mass bloodshed.

A History of Warfare is a masterpiece of military scholarship, irresistible in its style and terrifying in its implications.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A work of massive sweep…in which the resources of anthropology, ethnology, psychology, and history are drawn on in comprehensive but succinct synthesis to create what is perhaps the most remarkable study of warfare that has yet been written.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A masterpiece…This is one of those rare books which could still be required reading in its field a hundred years from now.”

    New Yorker

  • “In his sweeping new study, Keegan…offers a refreshingly original and challenging perspective…A masterwork.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Frederick Davidson’s reading is clear, well paced, and keeps the listener’s attention.”

    Library Journal

  • “War’s complementary attractiveness and repulsiveness summon legions of religious, rational, and anthropological justifications, and historian Keegan here audaciously attempts to unify them. He can fairly be named the foremost contemporary writer on the subject, and his sharp ideas and easeful prose have prepared a wide audience for this, certainly his magnum opus.”

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Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Ofer | 2/19/2014

    " Too much emphasis on debunking Clausewitz's On War. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Phillip Ellington | 2/19/2014

    " For anyone who loves history this is a thrilling book and a brilliant essay on the moulding impact of warfare on the development of civilisation. It's also a passionate argument for the obsolescence of war as a political strategy. And, its not too long! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Adamonip | 2/17/2014

    " Like the book over all, but his out right hatred for Clausewitz is a detractor. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Ab | 2/10/2014

    " Excellent book explaining the evolution of warfare. A virtual "Bible" for explaining how war evolved and why it is waged. "

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