The Book of War: 25 Centuries of Great War Writing

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Acclaimed military historian John Keegan’s anthology of war writing from 25 centuries of battle
In The Book of War, John Keegan marshals a formidable host of war writings to chronicle the evolution of Western warfare through the voice of the most eloquent participants—from Thucydides’ classic account of ancient Greek phalanx warfare to a blow-by-blow description of ground fighting against the Iraqi troops in Kuwait during the Gulf War. ...

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The Book of War: 25 Centuries of Great War Writing

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Acclaimed military historian John Keegan’s anthology of war writing from 25 centuries of battle
In The Book of War, John Keegan marshals a formidable host of war writings to chronicle the evolution of Western warfare through the voice of the most eloquent participants—from Thucydides’ classic account of ancient Greek phalanx warfare to a blow-by-blow description of ground fighting against the Iraqi troops in Kuwait during the Gulf War. Keegan gathers more than eighty selections, including Caesar’s Commentaries on the Roman invasion of Britain; the French Knight Jehan de Wavrin at the battle of Agincourt; Davy Crockett in the war against the Creek; Wellington’s dispatch on Waterloo; Hemingway after Caporetto; and Ernie Pyle at Normandy.

“The best military historian of our generation.” –Tom Clancy
“A monumental piece of literary military history.” –Chicago Tribune

A brilliantly edited and comprehensive anthology."—The New York Times Book Review.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Keegan (the bestselling The First World War) stands out among contemporary writers of military history for the literary sensibility he brings to the subject. In his introduction to this anthology, he writes that he organized his selections around contrasting military traditions: a "Western" way of war based on a code of behavior that includes mercy to the vanquished, and a more tribal approach observing few inhibitions. Thankfully, Keegan's literary sense overrides this artificial framework. He offers nearly 100 vignettes from around the world, selected with an artist's eye and a historian's judgment, that combine to show war's multiple faces. The authors are great captains like Julius Caesar and the Duke of Wellington, as well as front-line warriors such as Gulf War veteran Andy McNabb. Elizabeth Custer has her place, as do Davy Crockett and Rudyard Kipling. Some accounts capture the immediacy of war, like William Laurence's narratives on the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. Some voices are matter-of-fact, like George MacDonald Fraser's account of soldiers' stoic mourning of a comrade. Others, like Ernest Hemingway's 1918 letter from the Italian front, are self-consciously literary. Familiar settings--the trenches of the Great War; Russia in 1812--contrast with Jesuit missionary Paul Ragueneau's account of an Iroquois Indian raid in 17th-century Canada. What the selections share is passion. All the men and women in these pages engage their experiences fully. Once again, Keegan has opened a door onto the human condition, showing that we are defined by war--at least in part. Major ad/promo. (Nov.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Fresh on the heels of his best seller, The First World War, military historian Keegan offers an anthology of brief narratives of war. Selections range from the reflection of historians to the world of generals and poets. Some selections are excellent, such as Caesar's words, those of the World War I poets, and a very poignant description of the suffering endured by the French in their withdrawal from Russia during the Napoleonic wars. Unfortunately, such selections are rare. Most are too short to be truly meaningful and are very dry. It seems to this reviewer that once a military author achieves success, publishers are inclined to saturate the market with older works, revised editions, and new texts derived from selections of previous works ( la Stephen Ambrose). Keegan is a fine military historian, but this anthology is not one of his better efforts and is recommended only for large military history collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/99.]--Richard S. Nowicki, Emerson Vocational H.S., Buffalo Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Even one unitiated into the clique of military buffs need only scan The Book of War's table of contents to realize that military historian John Keegan has assembled nothing less than a history of the world, as told from the trenches and battlefields...Throughout this omnibus of mortal tummult, Keegan provides helpful and concise historical context.
Brill's Content
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140296556
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/28/2000
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 829,345
  • Product dimensions: 5.55 (w) x 8.41 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Sir John Desmond Patrick Keegan (1934–2012), was one of the most distinguished contemporary military historians and was for many years the senior lecturer at Sandhurst (the British Royal Military Academy) and the defense editor of the Daily Telegraph (London). Keegan was the author of numerous books including The Face of Battle, The Mask of Command, The Price of Admiralty, Six Armies in Normandy, and The Second World War, and was a fellow at the Royal Society of Literature.

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Table of Contents

Editor's Acknowledgments Introduction

Part I
Thucydides: The Melian Dialogue Thucydides: The Final Sea Battle Xenophon: The Battle of Cunaxa and Death of Cyrus Xenophon: A Plundering Expedition Julius Caesar: First British Expedition Josephus: The Horrors of the Siege Usamah Ibn-Munqidh: An Arab-Syrian Gentleman Jean Froissart: The Battle of Crécy, 26 August 1346
Jehan de Wavrin: A French Knight's Account of Agincourt Andrew Wheatcroft: The Fall of Constantinople Diego Hurtado de Mendoze: Such Botching, Disorder and Chaos Francesco Balbi di Correggio: The Siege of Malta Inga Clendinnen: Aztecs George Peele (1558-1596): Farewell to Arms Father Paul Ragueneau: An Attack by Iroquois Warriors William Dunbar: Braddock at the Monongahela Robert Southey (1774-1843): The Battle of Blenheim Anna Myers: The Revolution Remembered (1)
John Scott of Amwell (1730-1793): The Drum Jacob Zimmerman: The Revolution Remembered (2)
David Crockett: Davy Crockett John D. Hunter: Captivity Among the Indians Thomas Campbell (1777-1844): Hohenlinden

Part II
Sergeant William Lawrence: Fugitive and Recruit 1804-6
Sergeant William Lawrence: Badajoz March-April 1812
A Gentleman Volunteer: The Battle of Vitorio Helen Roeder: Captain Roeder Victor Hugo (1802-1885): Russia 1812
Private Wheeler: The Letters of Private Wheeler Duke of Wellington: Wellington's Waterloo Despatch James Bodell: A Soldier's View of Empire Henry Clifford: Clifford in the Crimea Colin Frederick Campbell: Letters from Camp W. H. Fitchett: The Relief of Lucknow Lieutenant-Colonel Fremantle: The Fremantle Diary Stephen Crane (1871-1900): War is Kind Elizabeth B. Custer: General Custer Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936): Tommy Isandhlwana and Rorke's Drift, 1879: Four eyewitness accounts Sir Henry Newbolt (1862-1938): Vitaï Lampada

Part III
Stephen Graham: How the News of War Came to a Village on the Chinese Frontier Thomas Hardy (1840-1928): In Time of 'The Breaking of Nations'
Erwin Rommel: Infantry Attacks Compton Mackenzie: Gallipoli Memories Sidney Rogerson: Twelve Days John McCrae (1872-1918): In Flanders Fields John Glubb: A Soldier's Diary of the Great War Brigadier-General E.L. Spears: Prelude to Victory W.B. Yeats: An Irish Airman Foresees His Death Robert Graves: Goodbye to All That Ernest Hemingway: Wounded (1)
Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967): The Hero Gerald Uloth: Riding to War Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967): The General Isaac Babel: Red Cavalry Wilfred Owen (1893-1918): Anthem for Doomed Youth John Masters: Bugles and a Tiger Alexander Stahlberg: Bounden Duty Tim Bishop: One Young Soldier George Orwell: Wounded (2)
Bruce Shand: Previous Engagements Winston Churchill: BBC Broadcast, London, 19 May 1940
Stuart Milner-Barry: Codebreakers Peter Cremer: U-333
Hugh Dundas: Flying Start George Kennard: Loopy Studs Terkel: The Good War Obituary: David Stirling Keith Douglas (1920-44): Aristocrats Alexander Stahlberg: Bounden Duty (2)
Geyr von Schweppenburg: On the Other Side of the Hill Marie-Louise Osmont: Normandy Diary Ernie Pyle: Battle and Breakout in Normandy David Smiley: Albanian Assignment Franklin Lindsay: Beacons in the Night Alexander Stahlberg: Bounden Duty (3)
George MacDonald Fraser: Quartered Safe Out Here Eric Lomax: The Railway Man William Laurence: Bombing Nagasaki C.W. Bowman: Red Thunder, Tropic Lightning James Fenton: The Fall of Saigon Andy McNab: Bravo Two Zero

Sources and Acknowledgments Index of Authors Index

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Customer Reviews

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