Most writing on modern warfare begins with the French Revolutionary Wars and continues through World Wars I and II, giving post-1945 conflicts only a cursory glance through the lens of Cold War politics. Distinguished military historian Jeremy Black corrects that imbalance with War since 1945, a comprehensive look at the many large- and small-scale wars fought around the world in the past sixty years.
Black argues strenuously that, in order fully to understand recent warfare, we must discard the Cold War narrative that has until now framed the majority of historical inquiry. By treating conflicts—especially those in and between developing nations—on their own terms, he is able to bring proper attention to the wide varieties of force structures, methods, goals, and military cultures that have been employed in post-World War II battles. Rather than recapitulate the familiar assessments that consider improvements in weaponry or increases in the size of armies without adequately weighing the wider context of their uses in specific wars, Black presents an account of warfare that focuses on the actual tasks the military is ordered to undertake. His global coverage of warfare is unparalleled, and his insistence on the centrality of developing nations to this period of military history brings new knowledge to bear on understudied aspects of recent history.
Black brings the book up to date with considerations of the current “war on terror” and the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Timely and accessible, War since 1945 will be essential to anyone who wants to understand the state of warfare in the present day.