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The Eye of War: Military Perception from the Telescope to the Drone, Antoine Bousquet

Reviewed by Audrey Kurth Cronin



Military perception takes on new meaning in this study of the technological evolution of remote visual intelligence. Antoine Bousquet describes modern military power as a search for the ability to visualize and dominate at a distance. His book explores what he calls “the martial gaze,” or the capacity to see and target anything, anywhere in the world.

The book opens with a chapter on the invention of linear perspective during the Italian Renaissance. Filippo Brunelleschi and other thinkers explored the relationship between subjective visual perception and objective physical space via mathematics and geometry. Helpful images show how Renaissance scholars translated three-dimensional objects into two-dimensional drawings, moving from art to military fortification and war machines.

The next three chapters are grouped around the concepts of sensing, imaging, and mapping. Thematic organization means the reader understands the separate technological threads underpinning today’s signals intelligence and military targeting.

The study of sensing begins with the optical telescope, a seventeenth- century precursor to the periscope, optical range finder, binoculars, Norden bombsight, and television guidance systems. These were crucial to aiming, ranging, tracking, and guiding military weaponry. Infrared frequencies, radar, high-energ

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