Magazine April 11, 2016, Issue

Facing War

Hubris: The Tragedy of War in the Twentieth Century, by Alistair Horne (Harper, 400 pp., $28.99)

Since Thucydides, historians have looked for a moral pattern in the dynamics of war in their own time, with decidedly uneven results (see, for example, Barbara Tuchman’s March of Folly). For Thucydides the war in question was the Peloponnesian War. Although Iraq and Afghanistan barely get a mention in distinguished historian Alistair Horne’s new book, they evidently cast an enormous shadow over his approach to understanding the relationship between success and failure in military conflict. Unfortunately, the book’s thesis — “Wars have generally been won or lost through excessive hubris on one side or the other” — simply doesn’t bear

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Arthur Herman is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and the author of, most recently, The Viking Heart: How Scandinavians Conquered the World (Houghton Mifflin, 2021).

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


Politics & Policy


Bush Appreciated Thanks to Jay Nordlinger for his “43 and His Theme: A Visit with George W. Bush” (March 14). It’s a shame that Bush didn’t do more, rhetorically, to defend ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Bernie Sanders’s campaign is fading, leaving his supporters red, white, and blue. ‐ It is neither a surprise nor an accident that the latest major Islamist terrorist attack to befall ...
The Long View

Final Bulletin

FINAL BULLETIN The 2016 National Review Post-Election Cruise, Official Program Thanks for signing up for the 2016 National Review Post-Election Cruise aboard Holland America’s luxurious cruise ship MS Nieuw Amsterdam. We will be ...
Politics & Policy


WOMAN AT A MOTEL WINDOW Frost from her breath on glass, Thin arteries made dark By a slow finger’s pass, Are the hand’s speech, and mark As something to be said Her waiting emptiness. She writes; behind ...


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