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Castles, Battles, and Bombs


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About the Author

Jurgen Brauer is professor of economics in the James M. Hull College of Business at Augusta State University and the author of Arms Trade and Economic Development. Hubert van Tuyll is professor of history and chair of the Department of History, Anthropology, and Philosophy at Augusta State University. He is the author of The Netherlands and World War I.


Brauer (economics) and van Tuyll (history), professors at Augusta State University, GA, here examine military history from the Middle Ages to the present through the lens of economics, intending to explain economic concepts in simple and accessible terms to a readership with a background in history. In-depth economic discussion is confined to a single chapter at the book's beginning. The remaining chapters examine case studies from history, e.g., the rise and fall of mercenaries in Italy during the Renaissance, and reinterpret them through a grid of six broad economic concepts, such as opportunity cost and diminishing marginal returns. Brauer and van Tuyll's approach to military history is unusual and can bring out surprising insights, as when they apply economic and historical concepts to America's current use of private military companies in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, their book will be tough going for those not interested in the intricacies of war strategy or those who do not have strong existing knowledge of historical terms and subjects. Suitable for academic libraries only.--April Younglove, Linfield Coll. Lib., Portland, OR Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"In bringing economics into assessments of military history, the authors turn their interdisciplinary lens on the mercenary arrangements of Renaissance Italy; the wars of Marlborough, Frederick the Great, and Napoleon; Grant's campaigns in the Civil War; and the strategic bombings of World War II. The results are invariably stimulating." - Martin Walker, Wilson Quarterly "This study is serious, creative, important. As an economist I am happy to see economics so professionally applied to illuminate major decisions in the history of warfare." - Thomas C. Schelling, winner of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics "The authors have cogently synthesized an extensive literature to effectively demonstrate to nonspecialists how basic economic concepts can provide insights into the nature of war." - Choice"

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