The Book of War: 25 Centuries of Great War Writing [NOOK Book]


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 ...
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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: 9781101174074
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 11/1/2000
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 485,193
  • File size: 739 KB

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 Acknowledgements
The Melian Dialogue 3
The Final Sea Battle 12
The Battle of Cunaxa and Death of Cyrus 15
A Plundering Expedition 20
First British Expedition 25
The Horrors of the Siege 30
An Arab-Syrian Gentleman 41
The Battle of Crecy, 26 August 1346 46
A French Knight's Account of Agincourt 52
The Fall of Constantinople 60
Such Botching, Disorder and Chaos 69
The Siege of Malta 74
Aztecs 84
Farewell to Arms 90
An Attack by Iroquois Warriors 91
Braddock at the Monongahela 99
The Battle of Blenheim 102
The Revolution Remembered (1) 105
The Drum 112
The Revolution Remembered (2) 113
Davy Crockett 118
Captivity Among the Indians 122
Hohenlinden 132
Fugitive and Recruit 1804-6 137
Badajoz March-April 1812 141
The Battle of Vitorio 149
Captain Roeder 155
Russia 1812 169
The Letters of Private Wheeler 172
Wellington's Waterloo Despatch 177
A Soldier's View of Empire 184
Clifford in the Crimea 187
Letters from Camp 197
The Relief of Lucknow 201
The Fremantle Diary 205
War is Kind 210
General Custer 211
Tommy 226
Four eyewitness accounts 228
Vitai Lampada 243
How the News of War Came to a Village on the Chinese Frontier 247
In Time of 'The Breaking of Nations' 251
Infantry Attacks 252
Gallipoli Memories 258
Twelve Days 262
In Flanders Fields 274
A Soldier's Diary of the Great War 274
Prelude to Victory 283
An Irish Airman Foresees His Death 296
Goodbye to All That 296
Wounded (1) 303
The Hero 307
Riding to War 308
The General 314
Red Cavalry 315
Anthem for Doomed Youth 318
Bugles and a Tiger 318
Bounden Duty (1) 325
One Young Soldier 337
Wounded (2) 342
Previous Engagements 345
BBC Broadcast, London, 19 May 1940 349
Codebreakers 354
U-[subscript 333] 366
Flying Start 373
Loopy 378
The Good War 383
David Stirling 398
Aristocrats 403
Bounden Duty (2) 404
On the Other Side of the Hill 410
Normandy Diary 419
Battle and Breakout in Normandy 424
Albanian Assignment 427
Beacons in the Night 431
Bounden Duty (3) 436
Quartered Safe Out Here 442
The Railway Man 447
Bombing Nagasaki 452
Red Thunder, Tropic Lightning 457
The Fall of Saigon 461
Bravo Two Zero 464
Sources and Acknowledgements 468
Index of Authors 477
Index 479
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