Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Father of Us All by Victor Davis Hanson

The full title is The Father of Us All – War and History – Ancient and Modern. This book is a series of essays that Victor Hanson wrote on war. He has an entry in Wikipedia. There is a review of sorts on this book at PRODOS Film Study Group.

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Sanford University and a professor of classics emeritus at California State University, Fresno. His web site is at Victor and at VDH’s Private Papers.

He talks how the Greeks had rules for war, they had truces and they had plays on the insanity of war, but still they went on fighting with each other. Thucydides says that wars were fought for reasons of honour, self-interest, fear, anger and pride. Others have said we fight over ideas, perceptions, fear, honour and grievances. Today, we want to give different reasons for war. However, if we were really honest with ourselves I think we would come to the same conclusions that wars today are fought for the same sort of reasons.

There are a lot of people today that think that war has changed. It has appeared to change because we fight differently. However, there is no good evidence that people had changed at all. We like to think that we are more peace loving. We have lots of people pushing conflict resolution. But have we really changed? Are humans today really different?

The Greeks felt that some wars were good and some were bad. For example, the Persian wars were good because the Greeks were fighting for their freedom. The Peloponnesian war was bad because Greeks were fighting Greeks. Today we tend to think that all wars are bad, but is this right?

There is an hour video on YouTube called Conversations with History. This is an interview with See Victor Hanson. There is also a video with Victor Hanson talking about this book. See Book TV for a short version. For a long version at Book TV.

On my website is how to find this book on Amazon if you care to purchase it. See Hanson. Also, this book review and other books I have reviewed are on my website at Book Reviews.

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