Much writing on modern warfare pivots on discussion of the period beginning with the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars in 1792, with an emphasis on World Wars i and ii, and a postscript on the Cold War. For conflicts since 1945, the Cold War thesis has been dominant, subordinating other events, especially in the developing world, to the confrontation between East and West. Now, however, it appears less convincing to analyse the second half of the century in these terms, and more necessary to search for new approaches and concepts. Jeremy Black's provocative new book re-evaluates modern warfare in recent times. Moving beyond the Cold War paradigm, the book focuses instead on the variety of post-1945 conflicts and the diversity of goals and methods that have been employed. Central to the book is its global coverage and, in particular, its emphasis on the importance of the Third World in any account of this period. Black argues that the Cold War narrative, so securely located within the Western intellectual tradition, pays insufficient attention to the diversity of military force structures, methods, goals and cultures that have existed in modern times.
Rather than the familiar supply-side assessments that view improvements in weaponry or increases in numbers without adequately considering the wider context, Black presents a demand-led account of warfare that focuses on the 'tasking' of the military. As such, this book provides an original interpretation of modern warfare. Concluding with a consideration of the current 'war on terror', this topical, accessible and clearly argued book will be important to all those interested in conflict and military history.
One of Britain's leading military historians, Jeremy Black is Professor of History at the University of Exeter. His many books include Maps and Politics (Reaktion, 1997), Why Wars Happen (Reaktion, 1999) and Britain since the Seventies (Reaktion, 2003).