Martial arts

The influence of war
by
April 2021, no. 430
Buy this book

War: How conflict shaped us by Margaret MacMillan

Profile Books, $39.99 hb, 328 pp

Martial arts

The influence of war
by
April 2021, no. 430

‘If you want peace, prepare for war,’ Vegetius wrote in a fourth-century CE Roman military manual. From the classical world to the twenty-first-century Sino-American cold war, Margaret MacMillan’s book is broad in its sweep. Judging by the content, one might gain the impression that war is a purely European invention, but that would be erroneous; it is only because Europeans spent 2,400 years carefully archiving their literary, artistic, and technological endeavours in ‘the art of war’ that so much survives – except the victims. The soldiers and civilians are long gone, their names largely forgotten; what lives on is the representation of war in text, the visual arts, cinema, and oral history.

Every country has fought wars. Even the Swiss, traditionally neutral, ‘were the terror of Europe’ – for those who could afford them. Hitler wondered aloud about invading Switzerland, its vaults laden with gold, but thought better of an assault on a country surrounded by mountain peaks, where the national sport was sharp-shooting.

Rémy Davison reviews 'War: How conflict shaped us' by Margaret MacMillan

War: How conflict shaped us

by Margaret MacMillan

Profile Books, $39.99 hb, 328 pp

Buy this book

From the New Issue

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

If you are an ABR subscriber, you will need to sign in to post a comment.

If you have forgotten your sign in details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to ABR Comments. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.