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Fifteen Decisive Battles Of The World: From Marathon To Waterloo Paperback – March 22, 1994
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I found a copy in our high school library and was fascinated with it. Creasy is a great writer, explaining the battles clearly. His description of the defeat and death of Hasdrubal (Hannibal's brother) at Metaurus is still clear in my mind. As is his explanation of the importance of the outcome to Western Civilization.
This Amazon Digital Services edition released August 8, 2015 contains no maps but has the illustrations at the end of the book.
Having served 30 years as a field artilleryman with 12 years overseas including a combat tour in Vietnam followed by 13 years as a high school history teacher teaching World, U.S., and Military History, I was familiar and agreed with his inclusion of most of the battles. However, even in light of his stated criteria regarding those battles that influenced Western civilization and the rise of English influence, I was a bit surprised at his selection of the:
* Defeat of Athenians at Syracuse, 413 B.C.
* Victory of Arminius over the Roman legions under Varus, A.D. 9
* Battle of Chalons, A.D. 451
* Battle of Blenheim, A.D. 1704
* Battle of Pultowa, A.D. 1709
* Battle of Valmy, A.D. 1792
Using his criteria, I feel he should have included the:
* Siege of Vienna, 1529
* Battle of Trafalgar, 1805
While recognizing that volunteers converted the book into a Kindle edition, the lack of maps was still maddening. Also, the extensive quotes in Latin and French overwhelmed what I remembered from high school and college. Translations would have been helpful.
Even though the author's treatment of the battles was uneven, I found the book thought-provoking because of its focus on consequences rather than tactics. Every serious student of military history should read this book.
My only complaint is Creasy's constant promotion of Great Britain. Any battle involving England was a bit biased, but it still gave a great description of the events.
I am also enjoying Twenty Decisive Battles of the World by Joseph B. Mitchell, Edward Creasy, which is an extension of Creasy's original book.
As an American reader, what truly surprised me and what I will take away most from this book is the respect that our country had received from the European's after on 75 years of existence. Sir Creasy was nice enough to include quotes and passages from other historians of this day, and reading the opinion's of the French and British historians about our country and it's boundless possibilities (as evident in the mid 19th Century) really made me proud of our founding father even that much more.
The last of the fifteen battles, Waterloo, was really an eyeopener as Sri Creasy was able to include so many quotes from participants biographies and personal papers, that it added a multiple dimension to the chapter, unlike any other historical piece that I have ever read. The vast experiences, so different yet so similar (in the great sacrifices and bloodshed on the field), really helped bring the reader in and allowed them to see the great horror of War, kind of like the first twenty minutes of Saving Private Ryan did.
I highly recommend this book.
Bad news is that some battles have less details than others. It also gets bogged down with trivialities making it, along with its lack of battle maps, a harder read than most.
While many of us are at least aware of the battle of Marathon, the battle of Arbela and Metaurus are not nearly so well remembered today. Look back a century and a half to see what they thought, which were the most important conflicts, and how they saw them.
Well worth downloading and spending a quiet evening in the company of Sir Edward Shepherd Creasy. His view is very Eurocentric, and his faith is a reflection of "Musclular Christianity", a concept popular at the time of this books creation. This was written in the heyday of the "New Imperialism" that saw European, American, and Asian expansion that went well into the the 20th century and culminated in World War II.