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The Face of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme
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on April 14, 2015
This is what Diderot meant when he said, "Divertir pour instruire". Keegan's classic takes the reader to the battlefield and puts him in the shoes of the participants and witnesses, exploring every aspect of who they were, why they were there, why they fought, how they fought, how they lived, how they died. Of all the history books I've read, this one is one of the most unforgettable.
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on April 4, 2015
As an army officer, this descriptive narrative provided the ability to place me in the emotional footsteps of significant battle participants and shaped my appreciation of the challenges they faced, in victory and defeat.
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on March 30, 2015
This book covers 3 major historic battles, from all angles you could imagine, revealing a myriad of fascinating details I had never heard despite years of tv war documentaries. Just a few tidbits: post-battle prisoners were ransomed back to their families, but sometimes all the captives were slaughtered if there was a threat of them re-attacking the victors from behind, using dropped weapons that littered a battlefield. Wealthy soldiers were, of course, more valuable to those seeking ransoms, & received preferred treatment post-battle.

Another interesting fact was the ranks of bowmen came from the roughest parts of ancient society. And pre-battle these men would dig holes to dis-mount knights and cavalrymen, catching the horses' feet during a galloping attack, tripping them.

For those interested in ancient military strategy, this book is invaluable. I found it overall a dry but worthwhile read for subject treatment.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2015
Long-winded, but well written and conceived. Too much moralizing and wrong-headed about the "officer class," face to face combat, and modern soldiers, however. Dead wrong, as it were. He comes to the wrong conclusions. See WWII bombings and USA war efforts since. If his views predominated, which they did not when he wrote it and do not today, millions more would have died and we'd all be slaves now. (Really want to give it 3 1/2, but can't.)
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on February 21, 2015
A study of three eras of battle. Some pages reach toward long windedness, but many, many times it turns into insightful, deep, dramatic prose to pull all the thoughts together. Full of facts , names and dates, a great, must read.
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on February 7, 2015
A richly detailed but muddled read. Diving into this book offers the occasional insight and unique perspective, but there is no rhythm or clear direction. It is a collection of richly detailed, intellectual musings on war that seems to take many random twists and turns except when focusing (in my opinion too briefly) on the specifics of Agincourt, Waterloo and the Somme. I didn't know I was at the end of the book it until I turned the page and found the appendix.
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John Keegan could give Barbara Tuchman a run for her money. In this excellently written speculation on three major battles (A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme.)

The first part of the book was a mixed message. I can understand that as a writer John Keegan had to explain that he has not been in a battle to quell detractors. However he may have overdone it a bit. Mixed with his apology is an excellent overview of what a battle is. I made it to the Tet Offensive 1968. He could have been next to me from his descriptions of battle. I did see some differences in attitude between West Point and Sandhurst. I would have been satisfied if the first chapter was the book.

Then he goes on to dissect three grate battles. I only knew of the battles through Shakespeare and other tellers of tales; so it was nice to get the skinny on what it was really most likely to be. You do not have to be in a battle to feel you were there but it helps.

This is one of those books that need to be re-read as there are too many details and you will have to pause and think about what you just read.

This book was very well worth the time to read it.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2014
ok
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2014
POSSIBLY ONE OF THE GREATEST BOOK ON LEADERSHIP YOU WILL EVER READ
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on September 29, 2014
I feel like I am at the battles. His detail and insight offer many unique perspectives on some of the most important battles. Also it is short
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