03. Before Alexander, 3.2 Ancient Greece, 3.2.2 Battles and Wars, Alexander - Non Fiction Book, Reviews

English Book Review/Collaboration: “The Western Way of War: Infantry Battle in Classical Greece” by Victor Davis Hanson

Recensione in italiano: QUI.

Good day everyone, thanks to be here on Alessandro III di Macedonia- your source about Alexander the Great! Today I’m sharing the english review of a book I read in italian. I’m talking about:

The Western Way of War: Infantry Battle in Classical Greece

L’arte occidentale della guerra. Descrizione di una battaglia nella Grecia classica

by Victor Davis Hanson

Published by University of California Press and by UTET in Italy

The Greeks of the classical age invented not only the central idea of Western politics—that the power of state should be guided by a majority of its citizens—but also the central act of Western warfare, the decisive infantry battle. Instead of ambush, skirmish, or combat between individual heroes, the Greeks of the fifth century B.C. devised a ferocious, brief, and destructive head-on clash between armed men of all ages. In this bold, original study, Victor Davis Hanson shows how this brutal enterprise was dedicated to the same outcome as consensual government—an unequivocal, instant resolution to dispute. Linking this new style of fighting to the rise of constitutional government, Hanson raises new issues and questions old assumptions about the history of war. A new preface addresses recent scholarship on Greek warfare.

4 stars

Reading time: from 10th agust to 16th october 2018.

Yes, I unfortunately read it in two months but it’s not because of the book but because of work commitments, in fact I haven’t read it for quite some time but as soon as I managed to carve out some free time I picked up this book 🙂

This interesting reading is also part of the collaboration with the italian editor UTET that I thank a lot for this possibility. In return, as always, I sincerely speak to you about this book.

This reading doesn’t speak directly of Alexander the Great but more than anything else of the battles that took place before him. However it was a reading that served me as a historical framework and in-depth study of the culture of the time.

I really like the books about the war, in fact even The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers and My War: Killing Time in Iraq by Colby Buzzell are readings that even years later I remember with pleasure. Hanson’s book is very similar: he talks about the war at the time of Ancient Greece and he does it from a new point of view: that of the hoplite, of the infantryman, in short, of the soldier who lives this brief but intense experience and not from the point view of the viewer from afar of the battle. To give a good idea and explain as much as possible what the soldiers lived, he uses simple language, uses many quotations and references to the studies of others and manages to explain concretely to the reader what the vast majority of the men of the time lived.

Hanson explains that the war wasn’t seen and experienced as today but there are profound differences in many respects and he analyzes them one by one, from every possible point of view and an interesting, smooth and very well done book comes out. The author manages to transport us to the brutal and terrible world that those kids, adults and old, lived, describes it effectively and simply

I haven’t noticed typing error or other errors.

In my opinion it’s a reading that if you are interested in the subject and also in the books on war you must absolutely consider to face!

I thank the publisher UTET for giving me this opportunity!

L'arte occidentale della guerra
the italian edition of the book

The Western Way of War Infantry Battle in Classical Greece, With a New Preface
by Victor Davis Hanson (Author), John Keegan (Introduction)

Victor Davis Hanson is Professor of Classics at California State University, Fresno, and author and coauthor of many books, including The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War.

Table of Contents
Introduction by John Keegan
Preface to the 2009 Edition
Chronological Table

The Greeks and Modern Warfare
1 Ordinary Things, Ordinary People
2 A Western Way of War
3 Not Strategy, Not Tactics
4 The Hoplite and His Phalanx:
War in an Agricultural Society
5 Sources of Inquiry

The Ordeal of the Hoplite
6 The Burden of Hoplite Arms
and Armor
7 The Old Men
8 The Dread of Massed Attack

The Triumph of Will
9 A Soldier’s General
10 Unit Spirit and Morale: The
Origins of the Regimental System
11 Drink

12 The Charge
13 A Collision of Men
14 Tears and Gaps
15 The Push and Collapse
16 Confusion, Misdirection, and
Mob Violence

17 The Killing Field
18 The Wounded
19 Epilogue

Abbreviations of Ancient Authors
and their Works Used in this Book
Select Bibliography
Supplementary Bibliography
Index Locorum

Are you interested in it? Have you read it? Let me know 🙂

Good day,


3 pensieri su “English Book Review/Collaboration: “The Western Way of War: Infantry Battle in Classical Greece” by Victor Davis Hanson”


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