This is an extensive review essay by NDU Professor Christopher Bassford on Victor Davis Hanson's book, 'Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of. Carnage and Culture has ratings and reviews. Matt said: West is best!East is least!Culturally speaking, of course. Rather, that is the prem. CARNAGE AND CULTURE. Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power. By Victor Davis Hanson. Illustrated. pp. New York: Doubleday.


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The book's last few chapters are fairly driven by that idea, which, along with precise, forceful writing, sets it apart from the season's secondary-sourced, battle-based military histories.


A the beginning of Carnage and Culture, Hanson argues that the Western way of warfare is amoral. He wraps himself in this amorality as a cloak.

Carnage and Culture

Of course, carnage and culture book is full of moral judgments. Chief among them is that civilization equates with Western civilization. Hanson demonstrates repugnance when speaking of the Aztecs and their ritualistic slaughter, but never stops to consider that Western civilization learned how to destroy the entire world by splitting atoms.

Hanson finds it despicable that non-Westerners mutilated the bodies of their enemies postmortem, but seems to carnage and culture things like the Holocaust, fire-bombings, and the slaughter of indigenous villages as exemplary culture.

This is also a book in which Hanson celebrates the quick and efficient Western way of war. You know, like in the Thirty Years War.

Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power

The condescension is really on display with the Aztecs. Those Aztecs were worthless. They were sitting on a bunch of natural resources and they never turned a single bit of iron into a cannon. And those pyramids they constructed? Hanson carnage and culture hypothetical questions about Aztec inferiority, while simultaneously denying any explanation.

He even calls Carnage and culture a racist for saying that New Guineans are really smart. This is a book that only slowly reveals its true purpose. I initially thought this book might have been the chicken-hawk squawking of an angry guy bemoaning peace and complacency.

Review: Why the West Has Won by Victor Davis Hanson | Books | The Guardian

He complains that no historians have ever compared Aztecs to Nazis. Yet for Hanson, it's a mighty dragon he must slay.

Here, Hanson drops his hypothesis completely in order to refight — and win — the Vietnam war. Hanson blames the entire loss on left-wing American traitor-journalists.

History's winning side

These pusillanimous scribblers connived to get a minority of anti-war Americans to force the end of the war.

This carnage and culture is exceptionally revealing. Hanson sees his argument is in smoke.

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Instead of admitting that, and quitting, he decides instead to slander men like David Halberstam and Stanley Karnow.

Carnage and culture who had actually gone to Vietnam. Men who had actually seen the sights, heard the lies, and reported the truth. As such, it will be happily devoured by grown-up schoolboy soldiers who enjoy the sandpit cockfights once so beloved of the Carnage and culture Newsnight.


For Hanson is not just a military buff; he is also a cultural historian, who seeks to understand why western battles have been so deadly and so successful.

Previous explanations of western victories have usually concentrated on technological advances - the development of the stirrup, the spread of gunpowder, the invention of carnage and culture machine gun - but this writer has a more sophisticated pitch. The Greek victory at Salamis over Xerxes, he suggests, grew carnage and culture of the particular social formation of the Greek state; and this successful linkage, once established, was handed down, over time, to its ultimate legatee, the United States of America.

Hanson singles out a lasting, defining phenomenon that he calls "civic militarism", perceived as "the idea of a free citizenry voting to craft the conditions of its own military service through consensual government".

The peculiar and triumphant way in which Carnage and culture slaughtered their enemies, Hanson argues, "grew out of consensual government, equality among the middling classes, civilian audit of military affairs, and politics apart from religion, freedom and individualism, and rationalism".

They are episodes that reflect recurring themes, not chapters in a comprehensive history of Western warfare. Diamond, a geographical determinist beloved by cultural-relativists, has argued that differences of societies, technology, and successful civilizations can all be carnage and culture to the luck of where they first rooted i.