For examples, Keegan selects Agincourt in 1415, Waterloo in 1815, and the Somme in 1916. What is common about them, what is different? Agincourt was hand-to-hand combat, thrust and cut--a fearful and personal encounter. At Waterloo, 400 years later, the battle was still largely personal. As it swayed back and forth, men on opposite sides came to recognize the same individuals they had fought off in previous charges.
Keegan closes his book with the Somme. For him it stands as the distillation of wars in the industrial age: long-distance killing of faceless men by others who merely activate the instruments of destruction....Continua
Keegan focuses on three battles: Agincourt (Medieval), Waterloo (Napoleon), and the Somme (WWI). This is an inside look at what the battles would have been like for an ordinary solider, which is something that is not often treated in military history (at least not before the World Wars). I liked this aspect of it.
What I didn't enjoy about the book was that Keegan spends a great deal of time discussing what should and should not go into a military history and what makes a military history good or bad. At times, this was less a book of military history than a book about the practice of military history. Although in retrospect, it was valuable to me to look into the writing to question how well it actually captured the details of real events and to allow me to read with a bit more critical eye in the future....Continua