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Publisher's Summary

Examining nine landmark battles from ancient to modern times - from Salamis, where outnumbered Greeks devastated the slave army of Xerxes, to Cortes' conquest of Mexico to the Tet offensive - Victor Davis Hanson explains why the armies of the West have been the most lethal and effective of any fighting forces in the world.

Looking beyond popular explanations such as geography or superior technology, Hanson argues that it is in fact Western culture and values - the tradition of dissent, the value placed on inventiveness and adaptation, the concept of citizenship - which have consistently produced superior arms and soldiers. Offering riveting battle narratives and a balanced perspective that avoids simple triumphalism, Carnage and Culture demonstrates how armies cannot be separated from the cultures that produce them and explains why an army produced by a free culture will always have the advantage.

©2001 Victor Davis Hanson (P)2019 Tantor

What listeners say about Carnage and Culture

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returned the book before finishing

the first chapters of the book were full of irrational comparisons and stretched arguments. I cannot in my right conscious continue reading it.

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  • GEJ
  • 2019-11-12

Wow! This truly is a great book. A rarity!

Superbly researched and factually detailed with brilliant analyses of landmark battles. In a word: Brilliant!

9 people found this helpful

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  • Shirley Just
  • 2019-10-20

The world turns but humans never change


Culture and territory is at the root of all wars, so this is a good title.

6 people found this helpful

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  • J Peter Meents
  • 2020-09-28

Provocative thesis

I'm glad VDH wrote this insightful book when he did - couldn't be published today.

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  • Christopher Falvello
  • 2020-09-30

Read this book

If you have any interest in military history at all you must read this book.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-08-27

Required reading

This book should be required reading for anybody who fancies themselves a scholar of Western civilization. Dr Hanson makes a very compelling case for the success of Western style warfare and identifies those crucial elements that define the western freedom.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Billy Gibbens
  • 2020-06-08

A Neoconservatives view of western history

How did I know Victor Davis Hanson was a neoconservative? Well I had no idea who he was when I started reading the book but within the first few chapters I knew he was a neoconservative. Hanson continuously attributes the success of western armies to them living in a more democratically structured society, western propensity for rational inquiry, and capitalism. These points have merit but almost all other points he makes branch off of these. It’s a very lazy and dogmatic view of history. He continuously dodges and data to the contrary. He also has a weird grudge against Alexander III of Macedon (probably because his success is an excellent refutation to some of Hanson’s main points) and he basically say that Alexander is most comparable to Hitler as a great military figure. That’s pretty laughable stuff.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-05-06

Important book

loved every second of it. also believe that this book is very important to read for students these days. Especially humanities students! this book builds partly the groundwork of understanding Western culture! loved it and on to Hanson his other books now!

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  • Bryan
  • 2019-12-01

An Overview into Western Warfare

This was a wonderfully constructed Erocentric view on the culture and tactics of Western arms. As usual Hanson's adds his wonderful personal touch to examine the historic and cultural origins of Western military prowess.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2021-02-04

No better listen!

VDH brings more than battle or war to anyone interested in history; but a even handed must read for those who don’t mind hearing both sides of an unpleasant subject. Not a coffee table book for show!

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  • Nw
  • 2021-01-16

Beyond excellent

Should be required reading for all intelligence analysts and state department personnel. Even more relevant in today’s fractious political climate.

1 person found this helpful