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The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being In Charge Isn't What It Used to Be by Moisés Naím

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THE BIG RISE OF SMALL FORCES

“A prince wishes to make war, and believing that God is on the side of big battalions, he doubles the number of his troops,” wrote Voltaire in the eighteenth century. But just as constant throughout history are examples of small armed forces that have successfully harassed, halted, and sometimes even defeated these large military machines.

The battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. is an earlier case in point. Taking advantage of high ground and rugged terrain, a vastly outmanned Greek force held the Persian army at bay for three days, inflicting disproportionate losses on its enemies before eventually perishing in a heroic last stand. The Greeks lost the battle of Thermopylae, but they did weaken the Persian force and ...

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