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Castles, Battles, and Bombs


  • Brauer, Jurgen
  • van Tuyll, Hubert


Castles, Battles, and Bombs reconsiders key episodes of military history from the point of view of economics—with dramatically insightful results. For example, when looked at as a question of sheer cost, the building of castles in the High Middle Ages seems almost inevitable: though stunningly expensive, a strong castle was far cheaper to maintain than a standing army. The authors also reexamine the strategic bombing of Germany in World War II and provide new insights into France’s decision to develop nuclear weapons. Drawing on these examples and more, Brauer and Van Tuyll suggest lessons for today’s military, from counterterrorist strategy and military manpower planning to the use of private military companies in Afghanistan and Iraq. "In bringing economics into assessments of military history, [the authors] also bring illumination. . . . [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

Suggested Citation

  • Brauer, Jurgen & van Tuyll, Hubert, 2008. "Castles, Battles, and Bombs," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 0, number 9780226071633, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:bkecon:9780226071633

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    Cited by:

    1. Keith Hartley, 2011. "The Strategic Bombing of Germany in the Second World War: An Economic Perspective," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Conflict, chapter 19 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Garcia-Alonso, Maria D.C. & Levine, Paul & Smith, Ron, 2016. "Military aid, direct intervention and counterterrorism," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 112-135.
    3. Steele, Brett D, 2014. "A rational calculus of war and peace: Applying the ROI objective function to military strategy," International Journal of Development and Conflict, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, vol. 4(1), pages 1-34.
    4. Derek L. Braddon & Keith Hartley, 2011. "Introduction," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Conflict, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Harrison, Mark, 2013. "The Economics of Coercion and Conflict: an Introduction," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 151, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    6. Ron Smith, 2013. "The Economics of Defence in France and the UK," Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance 1304, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.

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