Hubris: The Tragedy of War in the Twentieth Century

Hubris: The Tragedy of War in the Twentieth Century

by Alistair Horne


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Sir Alistair Horne has been a close observer of war and history for more than fifty years and in this wise and masterly work, he revisits six battles of the past century and examines the strategies, leadership, preparation, and geopolitical goals of aggressors and defenders to reveal the one trait that links them all: hubris.

In Greek tragedy, hubris is excessive human pride that challenges the gods and ultimately leads to total destruction of the offender. From the 1905 Battle of Tsushima in the Russo-Japanese War, to Hitler's 1941 bid to capture Moscow, to MacArthur's disastrous advance in Korea, to the French downfall at Dien Bien Phu, Horne shows how each of these battles was won or lost due to excessive hubris on one side or the other. In a sweeping narrative written with his trademark erudition and wit, Horne provides a meticulously detailed analysis of the ground maneuvers employed by the opposing armies in each battle. He also explores the strategic and psychological mindset of the military leaders involved to demonstrate how devastating combinations of human ambition and arrogance led to overreach. Making clear the danger of hubris in warfare, his insights hold resonant lessons for civilian and military leaders navigating today's complex global landscape.

A dramatic, colorful, stylishly-written history, Hubris is a much-needed reflection on war from a master of his field.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062397812
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/22/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 755,387
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Sir Alistair Horne is the author of over twenty books on history and politics. They include A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962 (winner of the Wolfson Prize); The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916 (winner of the Hawthornden Prize); How Far from Austerlitz?: Napoleon 1805-1815 ; and Seven Ages of Paris . In 1969, he founded the Alistair Horne Fellowship to help young historians at St. Antony's College, Oxford. He was awarded the French Legion d'honneur in 1993 and received a knighthood in 2003 for his work on French history. Horne and his artist wife, Sheelin, live in Oxfordshire.

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

Part I Tsushima, 1905

Chapter 1 The New Century 9

Chapter 2 Port Arthur 23

Chapter 3 Into Manchuria 39

Chapter 4 Odyssey, Followed by Iliad 61

Chapter 5 The Battle at Sea 83

Chapter 6 Peace 111

Part II Nomonhan, 1939

Chapter 7 Japan Goes Sour 127

Chapter 8 Zhukov, Sorge, Tsuji 147

Chapter 9 The Incident 161

Part III Moscow, 1941

Chapter 10 General Summer 195

Chapter 11 General Winter 213

Part IV Midway, 1942

Chapter 12 The Kido Butai 241

Chapter 13 Fortune Tilts 267

Part V Korea and Dien Bien Phu, 1950-1954

Chapter 14 The American Caesar 281

Chapter 15 Echoes of Verdun 313

Epilogue 339

Acknowledgments 345

Select Bibliography 349

List of Illustrations 357

Index 359

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