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The Savior Generals: How Five Great Commanders Saved Wars That Were Lost - From Ancient Greece to Iraq Hardcover – May 14, 2013
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“Mr. Hanson's fluency with a broad range of historical epochs, which has made him one of his generation's most notable historians, is on full display in ‘The Savior Generals.'” ―Mark Moyar, Wall Street Journal
“It is not really news that Victor Davis Hanson has written another outstanding and eye-opening book. He has done that before and repeatedly, on a variety of subjects.” ―Washington Examiner
“An instructive series of portraits of five military outsiders called in to turn defeat into victory.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“An engaging book in which the action on the battlefield is placed within a larger perspective of the politics and the societies that go to war, and the qualities of the generals who fight those battles.” ―John E. McIntyre, The Baltimore Sun
“Students of military leadership will be intrigued by Hanson's astute set of cases.” ―Booklist
“Great summer reading…In The Savior Generals, credit is given where it's due.” ―Weekly Standard
“Provides widely applicable insight regarding the dynamics of leadership and consensus, and how those dynamics can change the destiny of nations.” ―Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
“Victor Davis Hanson has written another good book for a wide variety of audiences.” ―New York Journal of Books
Top Customer Reviews
He won the Presidential Humanities Award in 2007 and the Bradley Prize in 2008 but neither is mentioned on the book jacket. VDH is humble just like the subjects of his book.
More impressive than the volume of his output (he writes multiple columns per week) is the breadth and depth of his knowledge and analysis.
To my mind, the real challenge of any military historian is not getting bogged down in too many details but still giving the reader enough details. VDH excels there.
The generals selected by VDH were the right choices. The all had some common characteristics that were true over the centuries. Most interesting to me was General Ridgeway as I (probably like most Americans) knew nothing about him. He inherited a dire situation in Korea and turned it around in 100 days. Think about that for a second. No South Korea and the Kim family running the whole show for a bigger populace. An entirely different consumer electronics industry throughout Asia. What does the auto industry look like without a South Korea?
"Uncle Billy" Sherman is widely misunderstood and under appreciated. The South could more or less stomach the death and injury, but when the property of the plantation owners was destroyed; well, that's something entirely diffferent. Burning Atlanta destroyed the transportation hub and the march to the sea destroyed the South's will to win.
And consider this VDH item: Lincoln well could have lost the electoral college vote but for Sherman's capturing Atlanta. If Lincoln lost the election, we'd have two (or maybe four) republics instead of one United States.
The concluding chapter is great.Read more ›
The generals discussed are: Themistocles, Belisarius, Sherman, Ridgway and Petraeus. No one can fault Hanson's choices for not being interesting; they are refreshing and challenging. Oddly, considering at least one of the above, Hanson says that he has limited his choices to those who are from societies that are at least in some ways consensual. Nevertheless, this is a fascinating work with great insights. The footnotes, often with excellent bibliographical references are outstanding
...The author has impressive credentials... he has written many books that set the standard. But something happened here. The problem isn't that he left out Patton (he has covered Patton elsewhere and while he turned around a front, he did not turn around a war.) The choice of Sherman is not a problem... Sherman doubtless saved the Union from throwing in the towel.
...No, the problem is that in the piece on Ridgway there are many errors that should not have been made by anybody who has read at least one history of the Korean War. Why these errors made it into print baffles me.
...The author (as observed in another review) includes Eisenhower as a four star general in a group... then specifically lists MacArthur as only having four. Worse, he lists Ned Almond as a "Marine General..." Anybody who has read anything about the Inchon-Chosin Reservoir period knows that he was an Army General who had a single Marine divison attached to his Corps command. There was bad blood, and calling Almond a "Marine General" would be like calling Bin Laden an "Israeli..." None of the parties would have been able to stomach it.
...The author implies that Almond's Corps was a Marine organization. He wildly asserts that the lack of communication and coordination between X Corps and Eighth Army was because of Marine/Army differences. This is the kind of mistake that one would expect of a college freshman. How could this happen?
...There are supposed to be safeguards to prevent something like this from happening. The publisher is not only supposed to have the work checked for highly improbable grammar and syntax, but read by somebody with at least a basic grounding in the field to catch "howlers..." Did this not happen?
...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As Victor Davis Hanson is one of my favorite writers I certainly was not disappointed in this book.Published 1 day ago by Cecelia M. Riggins
Very good history lesson on how humanity has hinged on individuals stepping up to the challenge when needed.Published 18 days ago by dr
Very good read as a historical review of great battles and heros. Very much enjoyed! Great review of the Greek and Persian strife and other battles. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Sops
A fascinating look at some overlooked generals. Sherman is mostly known for his raid on Atlanta, but he minimized battles and preserved his troops. Read more
Very informative and important read in understanding the Iraq occupation and General Petraeus.Published 2 months ago by JTKlives
Victor Davis Hanson makes a book about military strategy read like a thriller. I really ENJOYED reading this book.Published 2 months ago by JANE