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- DescriptionIn this magnificent synthesis of military, techlogical, and social history, William H. McNeill explores a whole millennium of human upheaval and traces the path by which we have arrived at the frightening dilemmas that w confront us. McNeill moves with equal mastery from the crossbow banned by the Church in 1139 as too lethal for Christians to use against one ather to the nuclear missile, from the sociological consequences of drill in the seventeenth century to the emergence of the military-industrial complex in the twentieth. His central argument is that a commercial transformation of world society in the eleventh century caused military activity to respond increasingly to market forces as well as to the commands of rulers. Only in our own time, suggests McNeill, are command ecomies replacing the market control of large-scale human effort. The Pursuit of Power does t solve the problems of the present, but its discoveries, hypotheses, and sheer breadth of learning do offer a perspective on our current fears and, as McNeill hopes, a ground for wiser action. No summary can do justice to McNeill's intricate, encyclopedic treatment. . . . McNeill's erudition is stunning, as he moves easily from European to Chinese and Islamic cultures and from military and techlogical to socio-ecomic and political developments. The result is a grand synthesis of sweeping proportions and interdisciplinary character that tells us almost as much about the history of butter as the history of guns. . . . McNeill's larger accomplishment is to remind us that all humankind has a shared past and, particularly with regard to its choice of weapons and warfare, a shared stake in the future. Stuart Rochester, Washington Post Book World Mr. McNeill's comprehensiveness and sensitivity do for the reader what Henry James said that Turgenev's conversation did for him: they suggest 'all sorts of valuable things.' This narrative of rationality applied to irrational purposes and of ingenuity cannibalizing itself is a work of clarity, which delineates mysteries. The greatest of them, to my mind, is why human beings have never learned to cherish their own species. Naomi Bliven, The New Yorker
- Author BiographyWilliam H. McNeill is the Robert A. Millikan Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Department of History and the College at the University of Chicago. His many books include The Pursuit of Power, The Rise of the West, and Mythistory and Other Essays, all published by the University of Chicago Press.
- Author(s)William H. McNeill
- PublisherThe University of Chicago Press
- Date of Publication01/09/1984
- SubjectMilitary History
- Place of PublicationChicago, IL
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintUniversity of Chicago Press
- Content NoteIll.
- Weight481 g
- Width178 mm
- Height254 mm
- Spine28 mm
- Edition StatementReprinted edition
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