Cover image for An autumn of war : what America learned from September 11 and the war on terrorism
An autumn of war : what America learned from September 11 and the war on terrorism
Hanson, Victor Davis.
Personal Author:
First Anchor Books edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Anchor Books, 2002.
Physical Description:
xx, 218 pages ; 21 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV6432 .H377 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



On September 11, 2001, hours after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, the eminent military historian Victor Davis Hanson wrote an article in which he asserted that the United States, like it or not, was now at war and had the moral right to respond with force. An Autumn of War , which opens with that first essay, will stimulate readers across the political spectrum to think more deeply about the attacks, the war, and their lessons for all of us.

Author Notes

Victor Davis Hanson is the military historian who is a professor of classics at California State University, Fresno. He has written several popular books on classic warfare, including "The Other Greeks", "Who Killed Homer?", & "The Western Way of War". He lives in Selma, California.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Hanson, classics professor at California State University at Fresno, writes a biweekly column for National Review Online. The terrorist attacks of September 11 prompted him to compose a series of essays, which appeared in various newspapers and magazines, covering that "landmark event in American history, if not the most calamitous day in our nation's 225 years." He now puts those essays together in book form as a "record of emerging events" as they were happening. Hanson nimbly and assuredly discusses such provocative topics as "class as an indicator of America's differing political responses to September 11" and the fact that "the misery of the Middle East" is not "simply a result of widespread failure to adapt free institutions, democracy, [and] open markets." No one can draw complete, definite conclusions about September 11 and the subsequent war against terrorism without carefully considering the ideas articulately explored here. Further eloquent responses to the calamitous events are presented in the anthology titled simply September 11. This powerful book gathers essays, short stories, and poems from 127 writers, including such luminaries as Robert Pinsky, Tess Gallagher, and Maxine Hong Kingston. Plenty of lesser-knowns appear beside the big names, and their contributions are no less effective in creating a deeply emotional tapestry of individualized reactions to events. There is poignancy in these pieces, and anger, too, and every submission testifies to the attractiveness of good, strong writing, regardless of tone or topic. --Brad Hooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

"Why do they hate us?" is the wrong question to ask after September 11, writes Hanson; war and tragedy are to be expected, as the ancients knew. Hanson's classicism informs this collection of essays that appeared mostly on National Review Online, presented here chronologically, from September (when, he argues, "we had no choice but to counterattack long and hard") through December 2001, when he considers the implications of that counterattack. Liberals beware: Hanson has no patience for these who believe the condition of the world can be ameliorated. (On sale Aug. 13) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



I. September (The destruction of the World Trade Center; the attack on the Pentagon; the explosion of four jet airliners; President Bush's promises of a worldwide war on terror; dispatch of American carriers to the Indian Ocean; initial criticism of proposed American response both at home and abroad) During the three-week lull between September 11 and our military response in early October, it was not clear when and if America would strike back. Despite our president's immediate and firm assurance that we would battle terrorists across the globe for years to come, critics both here and abroad immediately questioned the morality of our tactics in bombing the terrorist enclaves in Afghanistan and the military feasibility of finding the al-Qaeda camps--and then destroying them without either killing scores of innocent civilians or causing such disruption as to precipitate wide-scale starvation and disease. In addition, we did not know exactly the number of our own dead, as casualties on September 11 were at first feared to be in the tens of thousands, before generally being reduced to a round figure of between seven thousand and three thousand killed--a total by January 2002 that would be generally recognized as around three thousand fatalities. Both friends in Europe and neutrals and enemies in the Middle East demanded "proof" that bin Laden had, in fact, masterminded the attacks. Yet throughout these dark days, the Taliban and al-Qaeda alike promised annihilation for any Americans foolish enough to enter Afghanistan and raised the specter of further terrorist attacks here and abroad against the United States. In the numbing aftermath of September 11, Americans were presented with a daily variety of myths--military, cultural, and political--designed to temper our military response. I was chiefly worried that we were awash in a sea of false knowledge concerning everything from the military history of Afghanistan, the lessons of Vietnam, misinformation about the Northern Alliance, half-truths about the effectiveness of our air forces, the purportedly hopeless struggle against a "new" form of terror, the reasons for al-Qaeda's assault, and the nature of American foreign policy in the Middle East. September was perhaps the most hectic and depressing month in our nation's history. In the following nine essays, composed in those times of chaos and uncertainty, I employed occasional parody, posed counterfactual scenarios, and drew on classical history--as well as the careers of General Sherman and Winston Churchill, the 2,500-year Western military tradition, the heroism of the New York policemen and firefighters, and our struggle against the Japanese during World War II--all to argue that we had no choice but to counterattack long and hard in Afghanistan. Excerpted from An Autumn of War: What America Learned from September 11 and the War on Terrorism by Victor Davis Hanson All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.