- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Library JournalDavis’s (100 Decisive Battles: From Ancient Times to the Present) latest work focuses on 15 commanders across history who demonstrated prowess at the “grand tactics” of operational warfare. Each chapter is devoted to a particular commander, from the classical world through the Napoleonic wars. Davis begins with Epaminondas, a Theban who defeated Sparta in the fourth century BCE, and ends with Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington. He explains in his introduction that he chose these particular men because they stood out in “their ability to deploy forces and their ability to motivate those forces in combat.” Each chapter contains the same basic structure: a brief biographical introduction, followed by a section on “Warfare of the Time,” an analysis of the opponents that the commander faced, and then one to three segments on particular battles, leading to a summation of the leader’s generalship. Additionally, Davis’s final chapter discusses the qualities of great commanders. He cites retired general Montgomery Meigs’s four qualities possessed by great commanders—intellect, energy, selflessness, and humanity—to which he adds one more.
Verdict Most commanders here are obvious inclusions—Alexander, Julius Caesar, John Churchill, Wellington, but one must wonder at some of the omissions. Why not Charlemagne, or Suleiman the Magnificent, among others? Nonetheless, this is a worthwhile introduction to famous generals for students and readers new to the topic.—Matthew Wayman, Pennsylvania State Univ. Lib., Schuylkill Haven
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.