Expertise: 

David Berkey

Research Fellow
Biography: 

David L. Berkey is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution working with Victor Davis Hanson in the fields of classics and military history. Before coming to Hoover, Berkey was a professor in the Department of History at California State University, Fresno. He holds a BA in international studies from the Johns Hopkins University and a PhD in classics and ancient history from Yale University. Berkey has studied at both the American Academy in Rome and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

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Autobiography & Memoir

General Makriyannis, Aponimonevmata (Memoirs)

by David Berkeyvia Classics of Military History
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A leading figure in the Greek War of Independence (1821-1832), Ioannis Makriyannis (1797-1864) lacked both formal education and military training. His desire to record his participation in the remarkable events that secured the freedom of Greece from the Ottoman Empire, and the subsequent chaos that ensued at the conclusion of that struggle, inspired him to write the Memoirs. Makriyannis, therefore, set out to learn the remaining sixteen letters of the alphabet to supplement the eight he had learned as a child to write his name. Not published until forty-five years after his death, it would take more than another half-century for an abridged translation to appear in English (H.A. Lidderdale, editor and translator, Makriyannis: The Memoirs of General Makriyannis, 1797-1864 [Oxford University Press, 1966]).

Military HandbooksAnalysis and Commentary

Aineias The Tactician, Poliorkētika (Siegecraft) Or Tactical Treatise On How To Survive Under Siege

by David Berkeyvia Classics of Military History
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

From 16 October 2016, when Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the launch of the assault, to 10 July 2017, when he declared victory over ISIS forces, portions of the city of Mosul were under siege. Lt. General Stephen Townsend said, “To put things in a little perspective for you, this is the most significant urban combat to take place since World War II; it is tough and brutal. House by house, block by block fights.” The combat he described would have been familiar not only to soldiers in Iraq, but also to those who fought at Stalingrad, and even to soldiers as far back as the sieges of antiquity. Even with the use of contemporary technology, many of the tactics employed in modern siegecraft and urban fighting are reminiscent of ancient ones.