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The Book of War: 25 Centuries of Great War Writing [Tapa blanda]

John Keegan

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Amazon.com: 4.1 de un máximo de 5 estrellas  22 opiniones
31 de 31 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Romans to Iraqis, Prose and Verse, It's Right Here! 18 de julio de 2000
Por Mark A. Savage - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa dura
I never thought of Julius Caesar as a good writer, or George Orwell as a soldier/fighter. Then I read this book, which at first I was a bit reluctant about. Guilt caused me to read it, but pleasure lead me to finish it, and I'm very glad I did.
The book is a great collection of some of the greatest war writings available, and that's the best way to describe them. Mr. Keegan introduces each "article" with short tellings of the background of each piece. These short intros are worth their weight in gold, as they are clear, honest, and detailed. Small gems for the reader, that's the best way to describe them.
Now, after each of these gems comes a tale, epic, letter, or poem, yes poem! "In Flanders fields the poppies grow.." or how about "Into the valley of death rode the 600..." How refreshing to revisit these childhood memories while exploring such dramatic tales of combat, fear, or war. Truly remarkable. I couldn't put the book down for fear of missing the next literary jewel.
Now let's talk about Victor Hugo (in War?) or George Orwell's terrible wound described by himself. There's also Davy Crockett, and my favorite, the stunning Julius Caesar. When Caesar writes an after-action report, he gets the point across. Also read about the soldier lost in the WWI trenches, the A-bomb aftermath, and Ernie Pyle's report from Normandie. The famous "Thin Red Line" of Balaclava is presented in 1st person reality that is awesome in it's readability.
So in other words, this is a termondous book. Mr. Keegan, you have done us all a great service by 1) your choice of the fine materials you included, and 2) by your excellent preparation of each for the reader. I'm a believer now, and my Keegan section will soon be growing...Thank you.
20 de 21 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Outstanding collection of short pieces 31 de julio de 2000
Por omarbukka - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa dura
Fascinating anthology of war writings. I have read many of Keegan's books (all of them are superb), but this one has a quite different flavor, since Keegan just writes introductory text for the pieces. The excerpts are often quite short, so the book is admirable suited to readers who want to dip in and out for 5 minutes at a time.
The choices are excellent and some of the works are not easily accessible in other forms. I have tried (with no success) to obtain copies of the some of the original books, many of which are out of print. Many of the images are unforgettable.
12 de 12 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas An excellent overview of war through history 7 de febrero de 2000
Por John Ingle - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa dura
This is an excellent synopsis that traces war from the battles of Classical Greece and Rome up through the Persian Gulf War. Keegan has done an excellent job with this anthology of works. He gives a brief background history on the author and time of each particular work then gives the selected work from the original author. He has done an excellent job showing the evolution and adaptation of war and the attrocities that are committed during times of battle. Selected works include those from Thucydides, Xenophon, Julius Caesar, Josephus, Davy Crockett, Victor Hugo, Elizabeth Custer, Hemingway, and many others. This is a very interesting and informative book and will greatly benefit any who are interested in military history, world history, or the regular arm-chair historian.
7 de 7 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Erudite 4 de agosto de 2004
Por J. Alfier - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa blanda
In The Book of War, eminent military historian John Keegan assembles a masterful anthology recording the progress of Western warfare as told through the authentic and often unique voices of its participants. No dry narrative history, Keegan's work is characterized by diversity and depth. Through eighty-two essays and poems he gathers in a single volume some of Western history's most spectacular military writing. His introductions to each entry are superb: concise yet definitive. Outlined in three segments, Part I illustrates the various forms war takes, particularly highlighting the fact that what motivated men to war today did not necessarily provide the impetus to combat in the past. Tribal or personal honor, as well duty owed to gods formed as much a part of the causa belli as economic or political dictates. For the European, warfare served to create stable states and winning empires. Yet out of diverse and often marginalized cultures would arise alternative forms of warfare, employing methods at odds with centuries of Western warfighting traditions. Considering such cultural and methodological divergence, Keegan's aim is to exemplify these contrasting military traditions. In Part II, Keegan examines warfare among established European states of common military cultures and employing similar technologies. The dictates of empire would bring these powers into conflict with dissimilar cultures, specifically Africa and India. Finally, in Part III, Keegan examines war in the twentieth century. One salient feature Keegan explores is how primitive or less technological cultures often overcome the advantages of advanced enemies through ingenuity, evasion, and the perpetuation of 'warrior spirit.'

Readers will find many familiar names such as Agincourt, Waterloo, Gallipoli, the Somme, Saigon, and the Gulf War. Yet many of the testimonies in Keegan's anthology will be unfamiliar to even professional readers. Hence, Keegan provides a valuable service for many by presenting a heuristic glimpse into the military lives of lesser-known or studied groups such as the Gurkhas, Boers, Cossacks, and the last Prussian cavalry unit. Indeed, it is likely that few have read accounts of warfare by the knight of an Islamic Caliphate, nor a French priest's testimony of an attack by Iroquois Indians. These are rare glimpses, further exemplified by the harrowing experiences of an 18th century militiaman captured by Indian warriors, and a German U-boat officer, whose service suffered a 70% death rate, the highest of any category of military unit during the Second World War. Throughout, Keegan refuses to whitewash the hypocrisies of his protagonists. For instance, he notes how Davy Crockett could impugn the military practices of the Creeks but overlook those of his Indian allies. Similarly, Wellington's English soldiers took their compensation in plunder, female virtue, and the lives of French civilians.

Particularly praiseworthy is Keegan's insertion of some of Western history's most haunting poetry. Included are Thomas Hardy's, 'In The Time of The Breaking of Nations,' Thomas Campbell's 'Hohenlinden,' John Scott of Amwell's magnificent 18th century anti-war poem, 'The Drum,' and Wilfred Owen's opus magnum, 'Anthem for Doomed Youth.' Moreover, Keegan's book is just as valuable for what it does not include. He refrains from including a warmed-over serving of Clausewitz or SunTzu, as well as sparing us a currently fashionable diatribe on the supposed leadership qualities of history's mass murderers. Likewise, we must not overlook the fact that Keegan includes the testimonies of both victors and vanquished, a fact making the work all the more alive and didactic.

There is little to criticize in this outstanding anthology. As only so much poetry could be included, I would have dropped one of Sassoon's two poems and added one from an era subsequent to World War I. The universal lessons of Goethe's 'Campaign in France' (1792), a poignant portrayal of war as seen through the innocent suffering of horses would have underscored much. But such considerations take nothing away from Keegan's present anthology, which remains a paragon of military anthological writing.
7 de 7 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
4.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Great Mix of War Stories 19 de marzo de 2001
Por M - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa blanda
"The Book of War" is an eclectic mix of war stories compiled by historian John Keegan. Most are excerpts from longer books. The range is amazing. Keegan chooses writers from different times and places, beginning with Thucydides describing warfare among the Ancients Greeks ending with a British Special Air Service trooper describing the Gulf War. It is mostly memoirs interspersed with poetry.
Keegan has a good sense of which stories to choose. They are full of emotion and tidbits of historical trivia. Keegan chooses to include the Crusades, but from the Turkish perspective. He includes a memoir of Erwin Rommel, but it was written as a young infantry officer in World War I and not as the famous tank general of WW II. Some stories are more interesting than others. Still each offers a unique, personal glimpse of war.
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