For Immediate Release
All Zones
August 2, 1999
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Ancient Siege Warfare Helps to Understand The Nature of War

Siege warfare was the most brutal from of war in the ancient world, says Paul Bentley Kern, a professor of history at Indiana University Northwest. Because it engulfed whole urban societies, this form of war often ended in the ravage of a city, and the massacre or enslavement of entire populations. Ancient Siege Warfare, a book authored by Kern, brings the history of siege warfare and treatment of captured cities from the earliest times to the Romans, while reminding individuals of their own vulnerability in modern war.

A resident of Munster, Kern’s book is this month’s featured selection of the History Book Club, one of the largest sellers of scholarly and popular works of history in the United States and currently a division of Time-Warner and the Book of the Month Club.

“Understanding ancient siege warfare can perhaps help us to understand something about the nature of war itself,” says Kern. “Even though the age of fortification and formal siege are long over, we can still recognize the face of siege warfare in the bombed-out cities and streams of refugees of World War II – and more recently, in the wide-spread raping in Bosnia, and in the reported baby-killings in East Timor.” 

An IU Northwest faculty member since 1968, Kern has a Ph.D. and MA from the University of Chicago where he was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. In 1997, The Society for Advanced Study at Indiana University named him a Henry H.H. Remak Distinguished Scholar.

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