The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace, and the Course of History

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The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace, and the Course of History

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The Shield of Achilles is a classic inquiry into the nature of the State, its origin in war, and its drive for peace and legitimacy. Philip Bobbitt, a professor of constitutional law and a historian of nuclear strategy, has served in the White House, the Senate, the State Department, and the National Security Council in both Democratic and Republican administrations, and here he brings his formidable experience and analytical gifts to bear on our changing world. Many have observed that the nation-state is dying, yet others have noted that the power of the State has never been greater. Bobbitt reconciles this paradox and introduces the idea of the market-state, which is already replacing its predecessor. Along the way he treats such themes as the Long War (which began in 1914 and ended in 1990). He explains the relation of violence to legitimacy, and the role of key individuals in fates that are partially – but only partially – determined.

This book anticipates the coalitional war against terrorism and lays out alternative futures for the world. Bobbitt shows how nations might avoid the great power confrontations that have a potential for limitless destruction, and he traces the origin and evolution of the State to such wars and the peace conferences that forged their outcomes into law, from Augsburg to Westphalia to Utrecht to Vienna to Versailles.

The author paints a powerful portrait of the ever-changing interrelatedness of our world, and he uses his expertise in law and strategy to discern the paths that statehood will follow in the coming years and decades. Timely and perceptive, The Shield of Achilles will change the way we think about the world.

ISBN

9780375412929

Publication Date

2002

Publisher

Anchor Books

City

New York, NY

Reviews

“Magisterial in its scope and ambition…. Bobbitt’s evolutionary map of warfare’s impact on the state foreshadows the kinds of events still unfolding.”
The New York Times

“I take my hat off to the author for the boldness of his enterprise, for his scholarship, and for his capacity to get the reader to think along new lines. The Shield of Achilles may well become a classic.”
Paul Kennedy, The New York Review of Books

"Excellent…. This book – with its masterly reappraisal of modern history and subtle elucidation of today’s geopolitics – should be on every desk in the State Department.”
National Review

“Philip Bobbitt is to be saluted for undertaking an epic struggle to sort through an extraordinarily dynamic time in international affairs.”
The Washington Post Book World

“Once in a great while, there comes a book so ambitious in scope and so original in its insights that it challenges our comfortable patterns of thought and provokes widespread discussion in academic and political circles … a rare and important book.”
Fort Worth Star Telegram

The Shield of Achilles should become required reading not only in the academy but for the military and civilian decision-makers of the industrialized world.”
The Weekly Standard

“[The Shield of Achilles] will be one of the most important works in international relations published during the last fifty years.”
Sir Michael Howard, author of War and the Liberal Conscience

“This is a bold book, a brave book, and a worthy primer for the essential study of where we go from here.”
The Times (London)

"[The Shield of Achilles] will be one of the most important works in international relations published during the last fifty years.”
Sir Michael Howard, author of War and the Liberal Conscience

“This is a bold book, a brave book, and a worthy primer for the essential study of where we go from here.”
The Times (London)

“We are all about to have our view of the world turned upside down by this superb book.”
Chris Patten, The Guardian (UK)

“An extraordinarily sophisticated and comprehensive survey of war, peace, and nationhood…. Bobbitt has made a valuable contribution to wider understanding of how the world really works.”
The Dallas Morning News

“Remarkable…. An audacious, massively informed analysis of the nature of the modern state and of modern war.”
Richard Overy, Literary Review

“A blockbuster on the history and future of the modern state … I defy you to read this and claim your understanding has not been enriched.”
Adam Roberts, The Independent (UK)

“Awe-inspiring. An alarming glimpse of our future … argumentative, opinionated, brilliant…. A triumph.”
Evening Standard

“One of the key texts at the birth of the new century.”
Philip Ziegler

“Wide-ranging, ambitiously conceived, and intelligently argued…. Bobbitt’s future scenarios are based on an intelligent and cautiously realistic extrapolation of current security and political developments. We ignore them at our peril.”
The Times Literary Supplement (UK)

“Remarkable…. Breathtaking in its range of reference, forcefully written.”
London Review of Books

“Fascinating…. This book will certainly stimulate a needed discussion of America’s foreign policy.”
Christian Science Monitor

“Immensely and deliberately provocative…. A passionate and worthy effort to make sense of what is clearly a brand new world.”
New York Sun

“Detailed and provocative…. A valuable and intriguing look at where we have been and where we are going.”
Booklist

“A brilliant, disquieting essay on geopolitics, warfare and the future of the state…. Few historical studies are as daring and engaging as this.”
Kirkus Reviews

Disciplines

History | International Relations | Law | Law and Politics | Military History | Military, War, and Peace | Political History | Political Science | Political Theory

The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace, and the Course of History

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