Light Summer Reading: Strategy as Practiced by the Ancients

Michael Vlahos at the reviews Graham Allison’s books Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides Trap.

Allison argues that when rising powers threaten the position of established powers, the inevitable competition can lead to conflict and, eventually, war. Twenty-five hundred years ago, top dog Sparta became fearful and envious of Athens’ rising wealth and arrogant pride. Two towering city-states became trapped in a thirty-year war whose consequences were tragic. Thucydides tells their story.

At A. A. Nofi reviews Susan Schroeder book, Tlacaelel Remembered: Mastermind of the Aztec Empire.

In what is a genuinely ground-breaking effort, Prof. Schroeder (Tulane) has produced the first biography of a critically important figure in Mesoamerican history, Tlacaelel (fl. c. 1400- c. 1490). Previously thought by some historians to be more myth than real, Schroeder makes an excellent case that not only was Tlacaelel a very real person, but that he played an important role in the rise of the Aztec Empire.

Nofi also provides a review of Sarah C. Melville’s The Campaigns of Sargon II, King of Assyria, 721-705 B.C.

Melville is at times critical of the work of some earlier historians, noting that they were often not conversant with military history. Her text betrays an exhaustive perusal of the sources, and her notes are well worth reading as she uses them to unravel complex issues or to explain her interpretations of the evidence.

Despite her impressively scholarly approach, The Campaigns of Sargon II, a volume in the “Campaigns & Commanders” series, is quite readable, and will prove rewarding for anyone interested in ancient history or military history.

That should make for some light summer reading. Perhaps these should be required reading at State, the Pentagon, and VMI?

Über DaveO

Retired soldier, micro-farmer, raconteur and pet owner from the great state of Oklahoma. Wandered in as a frequent commenter and have been enjoying blogging ever since.
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