Humans were born armed. Before Homo sapiens first walked the Earth, proto-humans had manufactured spears and other tools t only to hunt and defend themselves but also to attack other humans. The war instinct is part of human nature, but the means to fight war depend on techlogy. Politics, ecomics, ideology, culture, strategy, tactics, and philosophy have all shaped war, but ne of these factors has driven the evolution of warfare as much as techlogy. Expanding on this compelling thesis, this book traces the co-evolution of techlogy and war from the Stone Age to the age of cyberwar and natechlogy. Alex Roland shines a light on the patterns of interaction between techlogy and warfare, describing the sensational inventions that changed the direction of war throughout history: fortified walls, the chariot, swift and nimble battleships, the gunpowder revolution, and finally aircraft, bombers, rockets, submarines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and nuclear weapons. In the twenty-first century, scientific and engineering research is constantly transforming war and simultaneously producing countless techlogical invations. Yet even w, the newest and best techlogy cant guarantee victory. Rather, techlogy and warfare remain in a timeless dialectic, spurring change without ever stabilizing a military balance of power. New techlogies continue to push warfare in unexpected directions, while warfare pulls techlogy into new stunning possibilities. In an era of computers, drones, and robotic systems, Roland reminds us that, although military techlogies keep changing at a precipitous speed, the principles and patterns behind them abide. Brimming with dramatic narratives of battles and deep insights into military psychology, this Very Short Introduction is ultimately an original account of human history seen through the kaleidoscopic lens of war techlogy. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Alex Roland is Professor of History Emeritus at Duke University. He has written several books on military history and the history of technology, including Strategic Computing: DARPA and the Quest for Machine Intelligence, 1983-1993 and The Way of the Ship: America's Maritime History Reenvisioned, 1600-2000.