Best known for his 1976 book, The Face of Battle, which argued that conventional battle accounts oversimplified the dynamics of troop movements while attributing too much control to leaders, John Keegan has become a prolific author. Fields of Battle includes fascinating observations about how Americans do things differently, both on and off the battlefield, than the English and French. With detailed accounts from long-forgotten conflicts, such as the French and Indian War, and moving portraits of important figures in American military history, including the Wright brothers, who naively hoped their airplane would end warfare, Keegan, an Englishman, explains the past and reaffirms the present to an America struggling to find its national strength. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Readers can always count on Keegan (A History of Warfare) to bring a fresh perspective to the art of military history. Here, in an unusually intimate work that fails to persuade wholly, he emphasizes the influence of geography on the military history of North America. Keegan examines five fortress systems that, he says, have controlled space on our continent within the past 400 years: French Canada, Yorktown during the American Revolution, Confederate Richmond, the forts of the Great Plains and the "flying fortresses" of the 20th century. Though he offers many stimulating insights-for example, how the terrain around the Little Bighorn contributed to Custer's defeat-Keegan fails to convince that fortresses, however broadly defined, have shaped warfare on a continent where force-to-space ratios (the number of combatants relative to the area in which they're fighting) have always been extremely low. In an enlivening departure from his usual format, the author personalizes his narrative with reports on his tours of many of the battle sites discussed. Less satisfactory is his extensive commentary about his relationship with the U.S. and its citizens: "I love America"; "I like American airports"; "Uncuriosity is one of the reasons I love America." Such banalities diminish a work that offers fresh views but that in any case is best approached with caution. Maps and photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Refreshing view, from a European perspective of the Wars for North America. I was especially intrigued by his treatment of the French experience in Canada, indeed in the heartland... Read morePublished 14 days ago by bigdiesel
I am fascinated by this book. It reveals the US through British eyes. I am half–Canadian and half-American and know myself better thanks to John Keegan.Published 18 days ago by Amazon Customer
For any one who is a Civil War buff, interested in The Revolution or the creation of America this is an awesome read. Read morePublished 12 months ago by CMA
That's not the most professional review title, but it couldn't be more appropriate. This book is both uninformative and un-entertaining. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Fred Bennett
Vintage Keegan. Like good wine, it mellows with age. Thoroughly researched, with tit-bits unknown to previous authors. Very readable. Highly recommended to WWII buffs. Read morePublished on January 28, 2013 by Julian Y. Barrolaza
A great book for anyone who enjoys reading about historical perspectives and interpretations, but not too much on the tactics. Read morePublished on February 16, 2012 by Bryan J. Cohen
John Keegan's analysis of North American topography and its influence on the explorations and military campaigns that shaped our early history is essential reading for students of... Read morePublished on March 3, 2011 by R. Doyle Gillespie
Very interesting book, I enjoyed the autobiographical sections as much as the history, and enjoyed an outsider's view of the U.S.Published on April 25, 2010 by Thomas M. Damore
I've read 3 other books written by Keegan and like them a lot. This one was, in my opinion, one of the worst represented books I've purchased. Read morePublished on May 7, 2008 by Wittmann's Revenge