From the Crusades to the modern age of chemical warfare and smart bombs, history is littered with truly disastrous military campaigns. How to Lose a War chronicles some of the most remarkable strategic catastrophes and doomed military adventures of overreaching invaders and clueless defenders—whether the failure was a result of poor planning, miscalculations, monumental ego, or failed intelligence . . . or just a really stupid idea to begin with.
- Alexander invades India—and ends up in deep vindaloo.
- Sacre bleu! The French are humiliated by Prussia in 1870.
- spain's "invincible navy" breaks up off the coast of britain while attempting an invasion.
- the mau mau rebellion against the british in kenya shows us how not to run an insurgency.
- Chiang Kai-Shek's pathetic army fails to keep Mao's Communists from grabbing China.
About the Author
Bill Fawcett is the author and editor of more than a dozen books, including You Did What?, It Seemed Like a Good Idea . . . , How to Lose a Battle, and You Said What? He lives in Illinois.
Read an Excerpt
How to Lose a War
More Foolish Plans and Great Military Blunders
In this book we look not at the brilliant strategies of history's greatest generals and leaders, but at the failures of those who lost wars they should have won, or at least made it a fight. While any book whose subject is war deals with death and ruin in the most literal way and the results are often desperately hard on the citizens who are the real losers, there is an inescapable feeling of superiority as you look on what are, in 20/20 hindsight, obvious mistakes. It asks and then attempts to answer the question of why leaders who felt confident enough to start a war ended up losing it or why a side that should have won easily ended up suffering defeat. There are many more examples than could be included, Darius losing to the king of relatively tiny and poor Macedonia and ninety thousand Poles being thrashed by thirty thousand Mongols come to mind. Most are here because they are such prime examples of losing. A few wars have been included simply because the unlikely loss had a major effect. Many books concentrate on what went right or the brilliant moves of the winning leaders. This one looks at what went wrong.
We begin with a look at wars lost in modern times, examining with a critical eye the reasons for major defeats in the last sixty years. Now you might think that this means, if the last century's leaders learned from history, we should see mistakes that are different from those made in the past. Really, they should be different, not the same old errors....How to Lose a War
More Foolish Plans and Great MilitaryBlunders. Copyright © by Bill Fawcett. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Illuminating but not overly complex. Good starting point to further research. More proof that as a whole we are an incredibly short-sighted and self-absorbed species!