Societies and Military Power: India and Its Armies

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Societies and Military Power: India and Its Armies

By Stephen Peter Rosen
Cornell University Press, 1996
280 pp. $39.95
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A subtle and sophisticated work of political science, this book uses the case of India to develop and press a larger argument about the relationship between social order and military power. The author explores this relationship in ancient, medieval, and modern times, focusing on India but drawing telling comparisons to other polities and societies. The central theme is the difficulties divided societies have in generating military power and the various remedies they attempt. In his conclusion, the author suggests that the Indian pattern -- serious social conflict that presents large and enduring obstacles to the development of conventional military power -- has implications for the power relationships between the United States and much of the rest of the world. The result is a well-crafted, solidly supported, and fluently argued theoretical proposition that has substantial policy implications.