Friday, November 14, 2003

Victor Davis Hanson

War is a failure of humanity. Its existence -- its need -- is civilization's bane. While that does not mean we should not fight them when necessary, it does mean that we cannot forget its many tragic consequences. Victor Davis Hanson, one of the great essayists of our times, has just written a book, Ripples of Battle: How Wars of the Past Still Determine How We Fight, How We Live, and How We Think and the introduction has been excerpted in four parts (1, 2, 3 and 4). I haven't read the whole thing, but what I have has brought me to tears. When I hear statistics of war with thousands or even millions dead, it grieves me greatly but largely in an abstract way. But when I read about one person, in this case Hanson's uncle -- his life, his death, the people who mourned him and remember him still -- I get overwhelmed. And then, when I apply that story to the thousand, millions that died, well ....

I think I will buy the book.


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