‘The Future of War: A History’ could be a bit more forward-looking

The saying “all is fair in love and war” has passed into platitude, but it’s true that with romance as well as bloodshed, we prepare for the next one mainly by worrying about the mistakes of the last conflict.

Lawrence Freedman’s The Future of War: A History is only about the more martial of the two human endeavors, but there’s a lot to love in it.

Across 287 pages of prose, Freedman’s book is part retro-futurism, part dissertation on the difficulties of determining what actually is a war and who died in one, and, finally, part looking forward at the sort of armed conflicts yet to come.

It doesn’t all fit together seamlessly, or read equally engagingly, but Freedman shows his homework regardless of topic, and there’s an additional 45 pages of notes and 28 pages just devoted to bibliography if warfare of the recent past, present, and future pique your interest.

For non-specialists, the most enjoyable portion is, thankfully, the first bit.

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A short history of everybody for the past 13,000 years

Editor and fellow columnist Gene Powell reads much more than I do and usually does the book reviews. Well, I’ve read two books, written by different authors for different reasons, and written years ago, but together they’re histories of the world, part one from 11,000 B.C. to A.D. 1,500, and part two from A.D. 1500 to 2000.

No, they’re not related to the Mel Brooks film. Sorry.

Jared Diamond’s book “Guns, Germs, and Steel” is based on geographic determinism, why where people are from resulted in the state of the world today.

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