By Robert L. O'Connell
As Robert L. OConnell finds during this vividly written historical past of guns in Western tradition, that first test at an hands regulate degree characterizes the advanced and infrequently paradoxical courting among males and fingers through the centuries. In a sweeping narrative that levels from prehistoric occasions to the nuclear age, OConnell demonstrates how social and fiscal stipulations be certain the categories of guns and the strategies utilized in war and the way, in flip, ideas in guns expertise frequently undercut social values. He describes, for example, how the discovery of the gun required a redefinition of braveness from competitive ferocity to calmness less than fireplace and the way the computing device gun in global conflict I so overthrew conventional notions of strive against that Lord Kitchener exclaimed, «This isnt war!» The expertise unleashed in the course of the nice conflict extensively altered our perceptions of ourselves, as those new guns made human characteristics virtually inappropriate in wrestle. With the discovery of the atomic bomb, humanity itself turned subservient to the guns it had produced.
Of hands and males brilliantly integrates the evolution of politics, guns, method, and strategies right into a coherent narrative, one spiced with outstanding snap shots of fellows in strive against and penetrating insights into why males visit battle.
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Additional resources for Of Arms and Men: A History of War, Weapons, and Aggression
Disregarding the theme of outside intervention, it is possible to maintain that weapons were first enlisted to the cause of manslaughter, not hunting. Yet it is also quite possible to believe that man, prior to the weapon, was a pacific creature with no prior history of intraspecific aggression. 38 Quite possibly the truth is more complex than any of these explanations allows. Yet it must be derived more as a matter of logic than evidence. Given the general tendency to satisfy basic needs first, early man would have had a good deal more interest in filling his stomach than in fighting his fellows.
Mesolithic cave painting at Morela la Vella, Spain, which is the earliest depiction of men fighting, c. C. From Irenaus Eibl-Eibesfeldt, Krieg and Frieden aus der Sicfit der Verfialtensforscftung © R. Piper GmbH & Co. KG, Munchen 1975, 1984. rnents of personal combat used prior to the invention of firearms were introduced during the hunting-and-gathering stage. Indeed, they made this way of life possible. The criticalness of arms to such an economy—an economy which, after all, provided the environment in which man reached his final form—raises a number of issues of primary importance.
Here the willingness to work as part of a team, to move in and kill at close quarters was founded on the solid base of economic reality. Probably, as weapons slowly improved through the Pleistocene, the deadliness of interpersonal combat did in fact increase. Yet it was hunting and not fighting which drove these improvements. Gradually, as his proficiency and intelligence grew, early man began to methodically work stone, particularly flint, to fashion more and more useful hand axes. The discovery of fire would have allowed him to char-harden the tips of 26 * OF ARMS AND MEN wooden staves to produce effective spear forms.