In this companion volume to Western Warfare, 1775--1882, Jeremy Black takes his analysis of modern warfare into the 20th century. A distinctive feature of the author's approach is the coverage of both land and naval warfare as well as conflict within the West and between Western and non-Western powers. Beginning with the British conquest of Egypt in 1882, Black goes on to examine the Spanish-American War of 1898, the Boer War, and the Balkan conflicts leading to world war in 1914. A revisionist account of the First World War is followed by a discussion of Western expansionism in the period to 1936. Chapters on the interwar years and the Second World War lead to a discussion of the retreat from empire and the advent of the Cold War. The narrative closes with the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 and a discussion of the limitations of Western military technique, doctrine, and technology. Black offers a new and challenging interpretation of modern warfare that will be required reading not only for students of military history but for all those interested in the impact of war in the making of the modern world.
This third volume in the author's series on Western warfare (European Warfare, 1660-1815, CH, Feb'95, and Western Warfare, 1775-1882, 2001) follows the earlier books in its focus on the global dimension of conflict and attempts to situate military considerations within a larger social and political context. Black (Univ. of Exeter) briefly examines the important military events and processes from Western colonialism in the late 19th century through the Cold War, offering separate chapters on naval and air warfare. A major concern is the relationship of change to military capabilities over time, with a rejection of a linear conception of military progress. Black does an admirable job of describing the interplay of tactical and strategic concerns of belligerents as well as examining the reciprocal effects of these issues on the broader concerns of technological change, force structures, war aims, and resource availability, among others. He concludes that we must attend to issues of variety and unpredictability when looking at military actions during the period under study. While the book provides a solid, basic history of Western warfare, there is nothing new here for the serious student of such matters. All levels.R. A. Garnett, Marshall University, Choice, September 2002 "Black does an admirable job of describing the interplay of tactical and strategic concerns of belligerents as well as examining the reciprocal effects of these issues on the broader concerns of technological change, force structures, war aims, and resource availability, among others... the book provides a solid, basic history of Western warfare..." -Choice, September 2002