Book Review - Tim Squire History 1111 Fall 2006 Why Going...

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Tim Squire History 1111 Fall 2006 Why Going Melee has its Virtues When a conflict erupts between two opposing factions, we will often label one as ‘cowardly’ if they were to win by stealth, trickery, or sheer wit. It is thought of as honorable, and just correct for one to defeat the other with a head on assault using courage, skill, and fortitude. The basis for our tendency to look down upon someone for not following a code of honor finds its source, according to David Hanson’s The Western Way of War: Infantry Battle in Classical Greece , to the ancient Greek hoplites (which started at about 700-650 B.C.E and ended with the fall of the city-states). This tradition was devastatingly effective, due to the fact that if an army lost, they were almost totally annihilated and the warriors were willing to give their lives for victory. This type of warfare had a profound effect, for it lived on well after the fall of the Greek Empire. In the 21 st century however, we have lost our Homeric way of battle, forced to go along with a foreign idea on how to fight. We are forced to use tactics, strategy, and mobility to ensure our success on the battlefield by avoiding infantry battle. Nevertheless, the Western Way of War has embedded itself into our daily life and the culture of western civilization. Hanson attended the University of California at Santa Cruz, the American School of Classical Studies, and Stanford University. He received his PhD in Classics in 1980 from Stanford. He is he author of nine works, and is currently the professor of Classical Languages at California State University. He lives and works on a small farm near Selma, California. Utilizing his unique point of view as someone who actually works the land, he starts by ridding us of the false notion that battle was caused strictly by the destruction of farmland, which had been the previous outlook of historians. This is so because of the sheer manpower and time it Page 1
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