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Of Arms and Men: A History of War, Weapons, and Aggression
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Of Arms and Men: A History of War, Weapons, and Aggression

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  67 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews

At the battle of Agincourt, over six thousand noblementhe flower of French knighthooddied in a day-long series of futile charges against a small band of English archers. They charged not simply because they failed to recognize the power of the longbow, but because their whole ethos revolved round an idealized figure of the knight that dated back to Homer: the man of great

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Published March 16th 1989 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 1989)
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Dan
Oct 30, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History nerds
Of Arms and Men is better in its' parts than as a whole. The individual chapters are informative and usually carry some new, inventive argument. O'Connell makes three arguments, which vaguely fit together. Prior to 1400 AD the history weaponry was cyclical and generally controlled by cultural factors. After that time period, weapons quickly developed, but that development was driven by private inventors, and usually not by the military which tended to be very conservative towards new ideas. Curr ...more
Eric_W
Feb 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why do humans make war? Is it genetically pre-determined? What lessons of early warfare can we apply to present day conditions?
Robert O'Connell attempts to answer these and many other questions

0' Connell argues that man's creation of weapons is biologically defensible. Most animals developed some form of self-defense mechanism, be it fangs, claws or, in the case of crustaceans, body armor. Intraspecies combat is characterized by symmetrically balanced weaponry and battle follows a specific set
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Ryan
Mar 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have sought after this book for some time. After reading O'Connell's 'Ghosts of Cannae' a few years ago, I decided this was an author who warranted further reading. Cannae was written with great flair and alacrity while being historically informatively and just a pleasurable read, in short what all history books should aspire to.

Naturally I was disappointed to see this author who I quickly developed admiration for had only 1 other writing credit to his name, and since 'Of Arms and Men' had be
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Justinbwood
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very informative book on the history of arms and mankind's progress to higher levels of destruction. In general, a very strong book on the topic. Histories of violence are often written with political aims in mind, and I think O'Connell does a good job of trying to stay away from that.

New research into both history and biology have probably made a few assertions outdated, but for the most part this is a very strong account. For most people, the more interesting developments are the twentieth cen
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Tom King
Oct 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Fascinating book on the impact of weapons technology on the conduct of war and politics. Fascinating book. I found his take on how new weapons affect, not only the conduct of war, but the ambition of those who lead warriors. Like children, mankind seems to lack the ability to have some destructive thing and not use it at least once to see what will happen. In that way, new weapons seem to have something of, if not a life, then a seductive lure of their own that humans find devilishly hard to res ...more
LOL_BOOKS
MEMERS WHO ARE INTERESTED IN THE WAY TECHNOLOGY AND WAR AND SOCIETY GO HAND IN HAND SHOULD READ "OF ARMS AND MEN" BY ROBERT O'CONNELL.

I'D STRONGLY SUGGEST THIS TO THE MEMERS WHO THINK MUSTARD GAS WAS AN EFFECTIVE WEAPON AND WHO THINK IT IS A NERVE GAS. JFC ENGLISH MAJORS.
David Ervin
Nov 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very good analysis of human warfare and weaponry. There are well supported postulations. It's a fascinating, holistic view of the subject, and it's highly informative.
Michael Brady
Mar 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While a serious bit of reading, this is as concise an explanation of human aggression and warfare as I've read. Excellent!
Nate
Oct 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military-history
Still gives me great hope that mankind will survive the nuclear age.
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