War and the World

Military Power and the Fate of Continents, 1450-2000
Black, Jeremy
Date published: 
January 1998

This is the first attempt to write a global history of warfare in the modern era. Jeremy Black, a leading scholar of early modern Europe, here presents a wide-ranging account of the nature, purpose and experience of war over the last half millennium. Investigating both land and sea warfare, Black examines weaponry, tactics, strategy and resources as well as the political, social and cultural impact of conflict. He takes issue with established interpretations, not least those that emphasise technology, and directly challenges the view that European military and naval forces were dominant throughout the period. European mastery at sea did not inevitably translate into equivalent success on land, he argues, and indeed many non-European military systems were formidable in their own right. Black investigates the regional political military impact of, for example, Ottoman expansion, Babur and the Mughals in sixteenth-century India, and the Manchu conquest of China in the following century. The book argues that, in the nineteenth century - the focal period of Europe's military revolution - the international military balance shifted decisively. Black links military developments with political, economic and ideological shifts to explain the nature and success of European imperialism. Jeremy Black is professor of history at the University of Exeter. Among his recent books are European Warfare 1660-1815 (1994) and Maps and History (1997) (see page 22).