The Dying Citizen

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Most of human history is full of the stories of peasants, subjects, or tribes. The concept of the “citizen,” an idea we take for granted, is historically quite rare—and was, until recently, amongst America’s most profoundly cherished ideals. But without shock treatment, warns historian and conservative political commentator Victor Davis Hanson, American citizenship as we have known it for well over two centuries may soon vanish.
In The Dying Citizen, Hanson outlines the forces that have brought us to the twilight of American citizenship, and led to the deeply fractured politics of the present era. Over the last half-century, numerous forces from both above and below have conspired to undermine the value we place in the idea of citizenship—and our vigilance in protecting it. To be self-governing, citizens must be economically autonomous, but the evisceration of the middle class and the rise of inequality have made many Americans dependent on the federal government. Citizenship exists within delineated borders—but open borders and the elite concept of “global citizenship” have rendered meaningless the idea of allegiance to a particular place. Citizenship relies on the renunciation of tribal identity in favor of the state, but identity politics have eradicated the idea of a collective civic sense of self. A vastly expanded unelected bureaucracy has overwhelmed the power of elected officials, thereby destroying the sovereign power of the citizen. Progressive academics and activists lay siege to the institutions and traditions of constitutional citizenship.
As in the revolutionary years of 1848, 1917, and 1968, 2020 has ripped away our complacency about the future of our most cherished ideals. Americans are forced to confront the fragility of citizenship—indeed, the fragility of our nation. But this calamitous year may also teach Americans to rebuild and recover what we have lost. The choice is ours.

Disruptive Strategies

Disruptive Strategies: The Military Campaigns of Ascendant Powers and Their Rivals

Edited by David L. Berkey

Since ancient times, there have been military operations that attempted to produce tectonic shifts in the balance of power. In this volume, historians demonstrate how knowledge of past military operations can inform current policy discussions by analyzing conflicts between dominant states and the rising powers who seek to contest their hegemony. What might a conflict between the United States and its main rival, China, look like in the years ahead? What factors are important for strategists to consider?

Paul A. Rahe considers the rival ambitions between Sparta and Athens. Barry Strauss explores the Punic Wars fought by Carthage and Rome. Edward N. Luttwak examines a decisive military campaign between the Byzantine empire and its nemesis, the Sasanians. Peter R. Mansoor describes the emergence of Sweden as a military might under the leadership of Gustavus Adolphus. Andrew Roberts studies the expansion of French power during Napoleon’s Italian campaign. Michael R. Auslin formulates a hypothetical conflict between China and the United States in the year 2025. Each of these conflicts offers important lessons about the behaviors of ascendant powers and the responses they provoke.

Contributors: Michael R. Auslin, Edward N. Luttwak, Peter R. Mansoor, Paul A. Rahe, Andrew Roberts, Barry Strauss

Foreword by Victor Davis Hanson

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By Victor Davis Hanson

With THE CASE FOR TRUMP, Hanson shows how a celebrity business man with no political or military experience triumphed over sixteen well-qualified rivals to become President of the United States—and an extremely successful president at that. Hanson argues that Trump alone saw a political opportunity in defending the working people of America’s interior whom the coastal elite of both parties had come to scorn. And Trump alone had the instincts and energy to pursue this opening to victory, dismantle a corrupt old order, and bring long-overdue policy changes at home and abroad. THE CASE FOR TRUMP looks deeply into the political conditions that enabled Trump’s emergence as a candidate, the smart choices he made during his campaign, and his impressive record of success as president.


The Second World Wars – How the First Global Conflict was Fought and Won

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The Second World Wars

How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won

By Victor Davis Hanson

A definitive account of World War II by America’s preeminent military historian

World War II was the most lethal conflict in human history. Never before had a war been fought on so many diverse landscapes and in so many different ways, from rocket attacks in London to jungle fighting in Burma to armor strikes in Libya.

The Second World Wars examines how combat unfolded in the air, at sea, and on land to show how distinct conflicts among disparate combatants coalesced into one interconnected global war. Drawing on 3,000 years of military history, Victor Davis Hanson argues that despite its novel industrial barbarity, neither the war’s origins nor its geography were unusual. Nor was its ultimate outcome surprising. The Axis powers were well prepared to win limited border conflicts, but once they blundered into global war, they had no hope of victory.

An authoritative new history of astonishing breadth, The Second World Wars offers a stunning reinterpretation of history’s deadliest conflict.

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Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome

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Princeton University Press

In this prequel to the now-classic Makers of Modern Strategy, Victor Davis Hanson, a leading scholar of ancient military history, gathers prominent thinkers to explore key facets of warfare, strategy, and foreign policy in the Greco-Roman world. From the Persian Wars to the final defense of the Roman Empire, Makers of Ancient Strategy demonstrates that the military thinking and policies of the ancient Greeks and Romans remain surprisingly relevant for understanding conflict in the modern world.

The book reveals that much of the organized violence witnessed today–such as counterterrorism, urban fighting, insurgencies, preemptive war, and ethnic cleansing–has ample precedent in the classical era. The book examines the preemption and unilateralism used to instill democracy during Epaminondas’s great invasion of the Peloponnesus in 369 BC, as well as the counterinsurgency and terrorism that characterized Rome’s battles with insurgents such as Spartacus, Mithridates, and the Cilician pirates. The collection looks at the urban warfare that became increasingly common as more battles were fought within city walls, and follows the careful tactical strategies of statesmen as diverse as Pericles, Demosthenes, Alexander, Pyrrhus, Caesar, and Augustus. Makers of Ancient Strategy shows how Greco-Roman history sheds light on wars of every age. In addition to the editor, the contributors are David L. Berkey, Adrian Goldsworthy, Peter J. Heather, Tom Holland, Donald Kagan, John W. I. Lee, Susan Mattern, Barry Strauss, and Ian Worthington.


“The book is a worthwhile read and some of the articles would do well as reading material on courses of ancient warfare or even modern strategic studies.”–Joonas Sipila, Acto Philogica Fennica

“At every point throughout this superb collection of essays, one cannot but reflect on Western engagements in far-off, alien places.”–Peter Jones, Sunday Telegraph

“Mr. Hanson’s examination of the dangers implicit in pre-emptive warfare is riveting, as is John W.I. Lee’s explanation of why the specter of urban warfare was as despised by ancient strategists as it is today by modern warriors. . . . Mr. Hanson and Mr. Luttwak have begun the serious study of what the ancients might have to teach us about a world where traditional nation-states not only have to coexist with armed non-state actors but must negotiate with them on nearly equal terms or sometimes fight them.”–Gary Anderson,Washington Times

“This is a worthy edition to the literature of military history.”–Kevin Winter, Sacramento Book Review

“The essays are all thought provoking, and readers will find surprises, insights, and things to argue about.”–Choice

The Savior Generals

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Leading military historian Victor Davis Hanson returns to non-fiction in The Savior Generals, a set of brilliantly executed pocket biographies of five generals who single-handedly saved their nations from defeat in war. War is rarely a predictable enterprise–it is a mess of luck, chance, and incalculable variables. Today’s sure winner can easily become tomorrow’s doomed loser. Sudden, sharp changes in fortune can reverse the course of war.
These intractable circumstances are sometimes mastered by leaders of genius–asked at the eleventh hour to save a hopeless conflict, created by others, often unpopular with politics and the public. These savior generals often come from outside the established power structure, employ radical strategies, and flame out quickly. Their careers often end in controversy. But their dramatic feats of leadership are vital slices of history–not merely as stirring military narrative, but as lessons on the dynamic nature of consensus, leadership, and destiny.

The Western Way of War

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Book Reviews

From reviews of the first edition:

“[Hanson’s] vivid style and meticulous combing of the ancient literary, archaeological, and epigraphical sources have produced a near masterpiece of historical imagination and reconstruction. . . . Masterful and gripping.”–Journal of Interdisciplinary History

“A small masterpiece of style and scholarship.”–The Economist

“[Hanson] has opened up a whole new way of looking at classical Greek war-fare. . . . The study of Greek warfare can never be quite the same again.”–Journal of Hellenic Studies

“Enthralling. . . . One closes this book wishing that its final verdict was as well known as more familiar tenets of Greek wisdom.”–Christopher Hitchens, Newsday

Warfare and Agriculture in Classical Greece

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Book Reviews

“The book is excellent. . . . Hanson’s literary style is clean and lucid, a delight to read.”–Walter Donlan, University of California, Irvine

Warfare and Agriculture in Classical Greece presents a closely argued and thoroughly supported critique of an entire tendency in classical scholarship to think uncritically about agriculture. . . . Hanson’s success in this results in an admirably short work that is full of interest, not just for classical scholars but also for military, agriculture, and environmental historians.”–Colin Duncan, Queen’s University, Ontario

The Soul of Battle

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Book Reviews

“He has written groundbreaking, indispensable books…. In THE SOUL OF BATTLE, he widens the scope of his inquiry to discuss, in rich and fascinating detail, three campaigns…. [A] brilliant and engrossing book.”—Bernard Knox, The New York Times Book Review

“An eloquent reminder that democracies under great captains, facing enemies challenging the essence of their cultures, cam make war at levels beyond the worst nightmares of their warrior opponents.”—Publishers Weekly

“[A] stirring tale in highly wrought prose…a superb book forcefully argued and narrated, profoundly meditated, boldly and fruitfully at odds with contemporary political morality….He illuminates this subject like few other recent writers.”—Boston Globe

“THE SOUL OF BATTLE is a tour de force.”—Barry Gewen, The New York Times Book Review

The Ripples of Battle

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Review by Jay Winik from the National Review Book Service

“Great battles,” Winston Churchill once remarked, “change the entire course of events, create new standards of values, new moods, in armies and in nations.” Yet while books abound that examine decisive battles in either a strategic or tactical context, rarely are they examined for the cumultative effects — the ripples — that change societies for years, centuries even, well after the day’s killing is over. Now, however, historian and National Review contributor Victor Davis Hanson does just that in Ripples of Battle, an eye-opening look at three great military encounters: Okinawa, Shiloh, and Delium, an obscure battle of the Peloponnesian War.

A master of military detail, Hanson begins by describing the strategies and tactics of each battle and the terrible cost in human life. But these vivid accounts merely set the stage for a wider inquiry into the long-term, often unintended, consequences of war. Among his fascinating insights and arguments:


  • Okinawa: Why the Japanese kamikazes — like their 9/11 suicide-bomber counterparts — only succeeded in heightening America’s resolve to win the war at any cost. Why the failure of suicide tactics was also a vital catalyst in ending Japan’s militarist leadership and setting the country on the path toward democracy
  • Shiloh: How the death of Confederate Commander in Chief Albert Sidney Johnston, long considered a turning point in the Civil War, gave birth to the myth of the Lost Cause — the belief that only a tragic accident of fate destroyed the South’s noble dream. How the stubborn devotion to this reactionary view would slow Southern progress for a century
  • Delium: How this little-remembered battle inspired a tragedy by Euripides, profoundly altered the direction of Western philosophy (Socrates was one of the few Athenians to survive) — and virtually created Western infantry tactics

“Battles really are the wildfires of history,” writes Hanson, “out of which the survivors float like embers and then land to burn far beyond the original conflagration. To teach us those important lessons we must go back through the past to see precisely how such calamities affected now lost worlds — and yet still influence us today. In that regard, I have selected across time and space three less well-known battles of spears, black powder, and modern guns to show how our lives even today have been changed in ways we do not readily appreciate — and by a few hours long ago that few recall.”


“America’s laureate of military history” at the top of his form
“Hanson has earned a well-deserved reputation as one of the most interesting and innovative military historians in the world. In Ripples of Battle, he shows once again why he’s the best. He ranges far and wide, from World War II to the wars of ancient Greece. Along the way he combines a born storyteller’s gift for rip-roaring battle narrative with a scholar’s attention to the deeper meaning of conflict. Once again he manages to take what may seem familiar and to show it in an utterly new light. … This book is not only deeply enlightening but also a sheer pleasure to read. It is, in short, vintage Victor.” — MAX BOOT, author of The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power

“With this usefully idiosyncratic and provocative work, Hanson may succeed the late Stephen Ambrose as America’s laureate of military history. But where Ambrose’s tone is ultimately elegiac, reflecting on the deeds and character of a past ‘greatest generation,’ Hanson’s is sharp edged and confrontational, linking past history and present policy. . . . Hanson’s conclusions show the threads of these battles in the garments of the war on terror.” — Publishers Weekly

“Like any good classicist, Victor Davis Hanson accepts the primacy of military history in human affairs. In Ripples of Battle, a sequel of sorts to his masterful Carnage and Culture, he shows the fascinating repercussions of three lesser-known battles. You cannot fully understand Hiroshima, the bitterness of the Old South, or the Golden Age of Athens without reading this gem of a book.” — ROBERT D. KAPLAN, author of Warrior Politics

“Hanson is one of our leading military historians, and in Ripples of Battle he does not disappoint. A far-reaching story of man, war, and history, it is, by turns, iconoclastic, touching, deeply learned, and endlessly fascinating.” — JAY WINIK, author of April 1865: The Month That Saved America