WAR AND CIVILIZATION by Arnold J. Toynbee

WAR AND CIVILIZATION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A selection of material from the six volume A Study of History. Although gathered out of context, these detailed studies of militaristic societies and nations inherit the ""outline"" perspective of the original. Beginning with reflections on the nature of militarism and the historical perpetuation of military ""virtues"", an examination is made of the military state -- in Sparta, a people without a history, and Assyria, a corpse in armor, smothered with military accoutrements, destroyed by its own weight. Other societies are examined as examples of victims of the double-edged sword. The author then discusses the moral aberrations of militarism -- intoxication of victory leading to surfeit and collapse and the phenomenon of Davids and Goliaths, with the giant falling with the weight of idolatry. Of particular interest to the reader will be the chapters concerning the influence of military technique on progress, and here it is made clear that an improvement in military technique presages a decline of a civilization, and that the savior of the sword, will ever be restless to use it again, to punish or to defend himself against the new militaristic knowledge of the conquered. In his preface Mr. Toynbee draws some conclusions -- if we are unable to spiritualize our destructive tendencies, then we must use armed strength in an association of peace-loving peoples. Readable and stimulating.

Pub Date: Oct. 5th, 1950
Publisher: Oxford