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Soldiers: A history of men in battle Hardcover – 1997


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Conceived as a companion to the BBC television series of the same name, Soldiers stands on its own as an illuminating and thought-provoking study of war as soldiers have experienced it through history. The authors organize their subject into the various combat arms and allied categories: infantryman, artillerist, cavalryman, tanker, airman, guerrilla, surgeon, logistician, commander. The great technological, tactical and strategic innovations are explained, with emphasis on the men who conceived and saw to their employment. One of the strengths of this overview is the superb choice of examples. The book includes chapters on fighting spirit, the influence of religion on war and the effect of war on civilian populations. Keegan and Holmes wrote The Face of War and Acts of War, respectively. Illustrations. 35,000 first printing; History Book Club main selection; BOMC alternate.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The authors of this companion volume to a BBC television series are highly regarded military historians at Sandhurst. They juxtapose war's universal appeal to the young men who fight with the changing realities of battlerealities heavily influenced by technology. They highlight the centrality of comradeship in sustaining war's demands without sliding into heroic pathos. If their work is intellectually unpretentious, it is correspondingly successful in providing a vivid, integrated set of images, verbal and visual, illustrating the soldier's experience. Recommended, particularly in conjunction with Keegan's The Face of Battle . Dennis E. Showalter, History Dept., Colorado Coll., Colorado Springs
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Konecky & Konecky (1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568521103
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568521107
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 8.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,745,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Yoon Ha Lee on January 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
...or at least, this is the first book I've found that talks specifically in chapters about infantry, artillery, etc. (I'm sure others exist, but my reading has been eclectic.)
I'm too much in awe of Keegan, and too poorly read in anything military *after* the 1500's, to attempt any real judgement on the scholarship here. (My credentials in military history are nonexistent; I'm just a reader.)
I can say, however, that whatever its faults, I've found this book to be a valuable resource. The organization helps greatly when you want to know about, oh, pikemen. It did seem a bit Eurocentric to me, and I would have liked to see more inclusion of non-European unit types and *their* development, at least in the pre-modern era. Nevertheless, I'm happy I own this book...and it's staying in my collection.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard K. on April 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I learned a lot from this book, it gives a good explanation of each "warrior who fights for pay" type throughout history. As a historical piece, though, it loses a lot of its value due to its British bias. The book would sound a lot more credible if the author didn't use examples of the British army for everything, sometimes fortifying it with an American example as well (which, of course, is British in origin!)

Aside from this major flaw, the organization of the book did get a little obnoxious down the road, but other than that I can say I learned something from it. The illustrations may be the best reason to buy this book, too; they're great details to the history of war.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Concise and well researched one volume history of men in battle. Liberally enriched with excellent illustrations. Broken down into chapters detailing the evolution of infantry, artillery, etc. Also features chapters on the more ethereal nature of war, from how casualties have been treated {or disposed of} throughout the centuries to a mesmerizing collection of vignettes on personal experiences of war.
Definitely a worthwhile addition to anyone's military history library.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By jpguy13 on July 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a really great book. It goes through the stages of armed conflict throughout history. I starts with infantry. Then cavalry, then war machines, then engineers, and so on and so forth. I really is a must buy, with all the illustrations it has, it's even better. This is actually a better book about the origins and the evolution of warfare than his other book "A history of warfare". Read it, it's well-written, but most of all well-read...
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Format: Hardcover
This isn't a book about a battle or battles, nor a campaign, or even a war. It isn't much about great commanders or arms. It is about soldiers--infantry, cavalry, engineers, tankers, and more--that are hired, drafted, impressed, and even volunteer to wage war. It is about their lives but also about how they lose them. Originally this was a companion book to a BBC series that I'm not sure was shown in the states but nothing is missing, the book stands strongly on its own.
With subject matter as mighty as that and authors as good as these how can it be anything but great itself? Well... it could be not quite so Euro- (read British) centric but it would be a much bigger book and not so accessible to readers.
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