Of Arms and Men: A History of War, Weapons, and Aggression

Robert L. O'Connell, Author Oxford University Press, USA $29.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-19-505359-3
O'Connell traces the relationship between man and armaments up to the present nuclear standoff, paying particular attention to the influence of weapons on military, political and social systems. By the mid-16th century, according to the author, virtually every possibility of chemical-energy warfare had at least been thought of, although ``it would require a century-and-a-half cycle of war and a mountain of maimed flesh to reveal fully, in its grim magnificence, what they had truly wrought.'' Analyzing the effect on Western man's view of himself brought about by the First World War (with its chilling revelation that military power had become uncontrollable), he makes the startling assertion that World War II, having arisen directly from that conflict, ``has little independent meaning.'' With the introduction of wholesale warfare against noncombatants, O'Connell, an analyst at the U.S. Army Intelligence Agency, notes, the present century bears witness to ``one more strand in the cord that could strangle war as a viable instrument of policy and establish the paradoxical logic of deterrence as the central reference point in international affairs.'' (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/1989
Release date: 03/01/1989
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-19-505360-9
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