War and Technology

War and Technology

Jeremy Black
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 08/20/2013
ISBN: 978-0-253-00989-0
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In this engaging book, Jeremy Black argues that technology neither acts as an independent variable nor operates without major limitations. This includes its capacity to obtain end results, as technology’s impact is far from simple and its pathways are by no means clear. After considering such key conceptual points, Black discusses important technological advances in weaponry and power projection from sailing warships to aircraft carriers, muskets to tanks, balloons to unmanned drones—in each case, taking into account what difference these advances made. He addresses not only firepower but also power projection and technologies of logistics, command, and control. Examining military technologies in their historical context and the present centered on the Revolution in Military Affairs and Military Transformation, Black then forecasts possible future trends.

Author Bio

Jeremy Black is Professor of History at the University of Exeter. He is author of more than 100 books including Fighting for America: The Struggle for Mastery in North America, 1519-1871 (IUP, 2011) and War and the Cultural Turn. Black received the Samuel Eliot Morison Prize from the Society for Military History in 2008.


“This engaging book argues that technology neither acts as an independent variable nor operates without major limitations and discusses important technological advances in weaponry and power projection.”

“Clear, concise, and thoughtful. An eminently readable synthesis of historical literature on technology and war . . . with analyses of the limitations of the impact of technology on warfare.”
 — John France, author of Perilous Glory: The Rise of Western Military Power

“An interesting, thought provoking work by a major military historian . . . whose depth and wide range of knowledge across the entire sweep of world military history is without parallel. . . . Those who read this book closely will be richly rewarded for it is a mine of useful information and grist for discussion.”
 — Spencer C. Tucker, author of The Great War, 1914–1918

“...[F]or those interested in diving into these realities behind military history, this book is thoughtful and valuable.”
 — Library Journal

“Specialists will appreciate Black's insightful analysis.”
 — Publishers Weekly

“Students will find this book a most useful introduction to a very complex subject, and particularly valuable for its notes and references to other works. Provocative and vigorously argued, Black's book will stimulate professional discussion and debate, particularly on the subject of military revolutions, always welcome in the defense community and to those who seek to understand the complex interplay of technology and warfare. . . . Highly recommended. ”
 — Choice

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations

Introduction: The Key Themes
1. Early Modern Western Warships: Technologies of Power Projection and Lethality
2. Gunpowder Technology, 1490–1800
3. Firepower, Steamships, Railways, Telegraphs, Radio: Technologies of Killing, Logistics, Command, and Control, 1775–1945
4. The Internal Combustion Engine: The Technology of Decentralized Power, 1910–2013
5. A New Sphere: Air Power, 1903–2013
6. Revolution, Transformation, and the Present
7. Into the Future

Selected Further Reading