Barry McNamara  |   Published December 20, 2015

Small Wars

Book by Monmouth’s Urban available early 2016
  • Urban’s latest book is due out January 31, 2016.
William Urban, who retired from his full-time teaching career at Monmouth College earlier this year after 49 years, has authored “Small Wars and Their Influence on Nation States.”
  Published by London-based Frontline Books, the 288-page hardcover book will be available on Jan. 31. It can be pre-ordered now at Pen & Sword Books (www.pen-and-sword.co.uk). Its narrative is far-reaching, from the Moroccan overthrow of the Songhai Empire in the Niger River Valley to Britain provoking American colonists into military resistance.   An internationally recognized authority on the history of European warfare, Urban has authored approximately two dozen scholarly books. He served as the college’s Lee L. Morgan Professor of History and International Studies during a career that has taken him from Germany to Italy, to Yugoslavia and Estonia, and to the Czech Republic.   After 1500, European warfare was repeatedly revolutionized by new weapons, new methods for supplying armies in the field, improved fortifications and new tactics for taking fortifications. This allowed empires to grow. For example, the Ottomans expanded into the Middle East and Africa, encountering the growing empires of Spain and Portugal. Britain dominated India, then was drawn toward Central Asia to counter Russia and China in “the Great Game.”   Less spectacular were the efforts of the centers of world civilization to organize the periphery along modern, bureaucratic lines, but these were perhaps more important.   “The dynamics of resistance to this expansion were remarkably similar to what we see today in ISIS, Afghan and Pakistani Talibans, and various jihadist groups that are more tribal than Islamist,” said Urban. “The driving force behind these organizations may be tribal resentment of the modern world undermining long-established traditions and beliefs. Religion – or their interpretation of Islam – is merely a glue that holds the rebels together.”   Such resistance, Urban argues, continues to be met by world powers who misunderstand the motives of the people that take up arms against them.   “We should understand that ours is not the first generation to deal with this problem, and ours will probably not be the last,” he said. “However, there are some methods that work better than others. The failures and successes of the past can help us now and in the future.”
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