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Where did wargames come from? Who participated in them, and why? How is their development related to changes in real-life warfare? Which aspects of war did they capture, which ones did they leave out, how, and why? What do they tell us about the conduct of war in the times and places where they were played? How useful are they in training and preparation for war? Why are some so much more popular than others, and how do men and women differ in their interest? Starting with the combat of David versus Goliath, passing through the gladiatorial games, tournaments, trials by battle, duels, and board games such as chess, all the way to the latest simulations and computer games, this unique book traces the subject in all its splendid richness. As it does so, it provides new and occasionally surprising insights into human nature.Read more
- Offers a complete history of wargames with coverage of the subject from gladiators, trials by combat and duels, to game theory and computer games
- Links wargames to the development of war, civilization and culture
- Written in simple, nontechnical language, this book will appeal to both academics and military readers as well as the wargaming community and anyone interested in the relationship between war and culture
Reviews & endorsements
"No other historian could bring us this marvellous history of wargaming and its relationship to the larger strategic and societal trends that are the critical context for the impact these games have had."
Paul Bracken, Yale University, and author of The Second Nuclear AgeSee more reviews
"A witty, wide-ranging, and uniquely inclusive analysis of wargames that goes beyond games and simulations of war and combat. This is the story of all forms of war, and all the games developed over thousands of years to practice, simulate, or analyze these conflicts."
James F. Dunnigan, Editor-in-chief, Strategypage.com
"From antiquity ‘till tomorrow, warlike games encounter ritualized combat in Martin van Creveld's meandering journey across the centuries. Because it is van Creveld who is doing the meandering, with his unique talent for uncovering the unexpected, readers will wish for more of it rather than less. Undoubtedly, this is an illuminating master-work."
Edward N. Luttwak, Author of Strategy: the Logic of War and Peace
"This is a characteristically broad-ranging, insightful, and provocative survey of the many ways in which war and games - two of humanity's deepest instincts - interact."
Professor Philip Sabin, Department of War Studies, Kings College London, and author of Simulating War
"Martin van Creveld has written the most comprehensive work on wargaming to date. This superb book provides an insightful and in-depth analysis of the history and value of gaming. Wargames: From Gladiators to Gigabytes is a must-read for all those desiring to understand this important component to military planning, training, and education."
General Anthony C. Zinni, United States Marine Corps (Retired)
"Van Creveld is incapable of writing an uninteresting book. His latest provides a history of war games, which he defines very broadly to include almost any activity that links play and conflict, from gladiatorial combat, to jousting, to chess, to hunting, and to all manner of re-enactments and simulations."
Lawrence D. Freedman, Foreign Affairs
"Van Creveld surveys the history of war games, defined as strategy games, from prehistory to modern times … the sheer range of this work makes it an important contribution to simulation studies … Highly recommended. All levels/libraries."
L. De Rosa, Choice
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- Date Published: May 2013
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781107684423
- length: 341 pages
- dimensions: 228 x 152 x 15 mm
- weight: 0.54kg
- availability: In stock
Table of Contents
1. On animals and men
2. Games and gladiators
3. Trials by combat, tournaments, and duels
4. Battles, campaigns, wars, and politics
5. From bloody games to bloodless wars
6. Enter the computer
7. The females of the species
8. Conclusions: the mirrors and the mirrored.
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