Mark's Reviews > Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power

Carnage and Culture by Victor Davis Hanson
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May 23, 10

bookshelves: military, history, political-thought

Hanson hits a homerun here!

His premise that all cultures are not created equal is startling considering the orthodox "I'm OK, you're OK" line on comparative cultural thinking these days. I think reading this book marked a milepost for me in that it helped convince me that I'm not exactly on board with the multiculturist point of view that all cultures are more or less equal. While I love to consider diverse cultural viewpoints and I love the celebration of many cultures from a moral perspective, I do in fact believe that some cultures are better than others. I'm getting ahead of myself because Mr. Hanson's narrative isn't about which cultures are "morally" better rather he's making the argument that militarily, some cultures are obviously and blatantly better than others. He claims that several aspects of "western" culture make it likely - even inevitably - that in a military contest between western culture and other civilizations, the western culuture will prevail in a prolonged contest of arms. This serves as a nice counterpoint to Jared Diamond's "Guns Germs and Steel" which seems to crown "geography" king of cultural variable when it comes to explaining why certain civilizations have prevailed over others.
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