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Waging War

Conflict, Culture, and Innovation in World History

Wayne E. Lee

Publication Date - 01 September 2015

ISBN: 9780199797455

560 pages
7-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

A world history of how humans have warred with each other


Waging War: Conflict, Culture, and Innovation in World History provides a wide-ranging examination of war in human history, from the beginning of the species until the current rise of the so-called Islamic State. Although it covers many societies throughout time, the book does not attempt to tell all stories from all places, nor does it try to narrate "important" conflicts. Instead, author Wayne E. Lee describes the emergence of military innovations and systems, examining how they were created and then how they moved or affected other societies. These innovations are central to most historical narratives, including the development of social complexity, the rise of the state, the role of the steppe horseman, the spread of gunpowder, the rise of the west, the bureaucratization of military institutions, the industrial revolution and the rise of firepower, strategic bombing and nuclear weapons, and the creation of "people's war."

About the Author(s)

Wayne E. Lee is Professor of History at the University of North Carolina and Chair of the Curriculum in Peace, War, and Defense. He is the author of Barbarians and Brothers: Anglo-American Warfare, 1500-1865 (OUP, 2011) and Crowds and Soldiers in Revolutionary North Carolina: The Culture of Violence in Riot and War (2001).


"It takes the sharp interdisciplinary mind of Wayne E. Lee to bring together so much material over such a broad span of history and make it not only intelligible but fresh and exciting to read. He has given us a truly global history of war that will serve as one of the standards in the field for years to come."--Michael S. Neiberg, author of Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of World War I

"Wayne E. Lee's incisive overview of innovation in warfare convincingly shows the importance of both technology and technique in military competition. He skillfully embeds military matters in their larger social, political, and economic contexts to provide one of the very few world histories of warfare."--J.R. McNeill, Georgetown University

"Waging War ranks as the most important survey of humankind's warrior past in decades. This accessible and yet profound work is a superb act of vision and of intellectual courage."--John Lynn, University of Illinois

"Waging War is a far-reaching study of war that brilliantly probes the theme of innovation. This important work deserves wide attention."--Jeremy Black, author of A Century of Conflict: War, 1914-2014

Table of Contents

    List of Figures
    List of Maps
    List of Tables
    About the Author

    Introduction: Capacity, Calculation, and Culture

    1. The Origins of War and of the State: to 2500 BCE
    Is War Innate?
    War among Animals, Chimpanzees
    The Evidence for Early Human Warfare
    Biology and Selection
    Sedentism, Agriculture, and War
    A Lord among Lords and the Rise of the State
    Warring Complex Societies outside the State

    2. Carts, Chariots, Cavalry, and Catastrophe: 3500-700 BCE
    Kings and Carts
    Inventing the Chariot: Tribes, Horses, and Bronze on the Steppe
    Chariots and the Urban Politics of the Near East and Egypt 1500-1200 BCE
    Chariots under Heaven: China, 1200-400 BCE
    Gods and Heroes: The Chariot in India and Europe
    Catastrophe, Cavalry, and the Decline of the Chariot in the Near East

    3. Men in Lines with Spears: 900 BCE-300 BCE
    Masses of Men in the Background
    Assyria Reborn
    Communal Solidarity and the Greek Hoplite Phalanx
    The Macedonian Sarissa Phalanx

    4. Discipline and Frontiers in the Agricultural Empires: Rome and China, 300 BCE-400 CE
    Rome: Disciplina and Limes
    Infantrymen and Walls in Han China

    5. The Horsemen of Europe and the Steppe: 400 CE-1450 CE
    European Heavy Horsemen
    The Steppe Warrior System
    The Mongols

    6. War under Oars: 700 BCE-1600 CE
    The Earliest Shipping
    The Trireme and the Mediterranean
    Variations on a Theme: Hellenistic Invention and Gigantism, Rome, Greek Fire, and the Gunpowder Galley

    7. Gunpowder in Europe and in the Ottoman Empire: 1300 CE-1650 CE
    Europe and the Ottoman Empire 1300-1683
    The Technology of Gunpowder and Gunpowder Weapons
    Siege Cannon to 1650
    The Artillery Fortress, 1450 to 1650
    Infantry and Firearms, 1450-1650
    Conclusion: A Military Revolution?

    8. Adapting to Gunpowder (or not): On the Open Seas, Africa, North America, and Asia
    Maritime Power
    The Gun-Slave Cycle in Africa?
    Amerindians and Gunpowder
    Gunpowder and the Steppe: China from Ming to Manchu
    Conclusion: The Military Revolution Problem

    9. Institutionalization, Bureaucratization, and Professionalization: China, Japan, and Europe: 1650-1815
    Manchu China
    Private Enterprise War in Europe to 1650
    Institutionalization, Bureaucratization, and Professionalization in Europe, 1650-1789
    Japan's Variant Path, 1500-1868
    The Levée en Masse and Mass Conscript Armies

    10. The Age of Steam and the Industrial Empires, 1815-1905
    Invention and Production
    Coal & Steam Navies
    Scrambling for Empire
    The Rise of Japan

    11. Men Against Fire, 1861-1917
    The American Civil War: A False Dawn of "Modern War"?
    Prussian Reforms, a General Staff, and German Unification
    Firepower and the Scramble for Empire: Dahomey and Ethiopia
    World War I

    12. Wars of Maneuver?: 1919-2003
    Avoiding Deadlock and World War II
    The German Model?
    The Arab-Israeli Wars
    AirLand Battle

    13. The Lure of Strategic Air Power, The Nuclear Paradox, and the Revolution in Military Affairs?: 1915-2003
    Strategic Bombing, 1915 to July 1945
    Nuclear Weapons as Air Power
    The Nuclear Shadow and Limited War in Korea and Vietnam
    The Return of Strategic Air Power and the Revolution in Military Affairs?

    14. Bringing Down the State: Guerrillas, Insurgents, Terrorism, and Counterinsurgency, 1930-2014
    The Revolutionary Response to the Industrial State: Mao, Giap, and Guevara
    Terrorism and Insurgency by Terrorism
    Counterinsurgency and Counter Terror


Featured Resources

Check out Wayne Lee's post on the OUP blog here:


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