Civil Wars: A History in Ideas
Civil War by David Armitage is about a particular kind of war. By definition, a war cannot be a civil war unless it is against a civil entity such as the Romans cives (citizens). The author defines earlier wars differently, even Greek rebellions against the Greek Polis. It may just be a semantic definition, but the author makes a good case that with Rome the rules changed and that most of our ideas stem from the Roman definition of civil war. The wars of Europe through the Middle Ages are called civil wars or rebellions depending on who is writing the history. The author traces this dichotomy of definition into our own “Civil War” and into modern times, showing how it affects our sympathies, fund raising, patriotic fervor, and other modern attitudes.
His writing is precise and organized. He writes to make you think through his points, and whether you agree with his perspective or not, there is no denying he has a wonderful grasp of history and how, in history, nothing happens in a vacuum. It is a scholarly book and the references to notes and bibliography are extensive. It is a serious student’s guide to conflicts and their origins, especially relevant for our time.
Chris Hayden has been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.
|Page Count||368 pages|
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