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Moment of battle : the twenty clashes that…
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Moment of battle : the twenty clashes that changed the world (original 2013; edición 2013)

por Jim Lacey, Williamson Murray

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8414255,604 (3.62)9
In the grand tradition of Edward Creasy's classic Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World, James Lacey and Williamson Murray spotlight only those engagements that changed the course of civilization. In gripping narrative accounts they bring these conflicts and eras to vivid life, detailing the cultural imperatives that led inexorably to the battlefield, the experiences of the common soldiers who fought and died, and the legendary commanders and statesmen who matched wits, will, and nerve for the highest possible stakes. From the great clashes of antiquity to the high-tech wars of the twenty-first century, here are the stories of the twenty most consequential battles ever fought, including Marathon, where Greece's 'greatest generation' repelled Persian forces three times their numbers-and saved Western civilization in its infancy. Adrianople, the death blow to a disintegrating Roman Empire Trafalgar, the epic naval victory that cemented a century of British supremacy over the globe. Saratoga, the first truly American victory, won by united colonial militias, which ensured the ultimate triumph of the Revolution; Midway, the ferocious World War II sea battle that broke the back of the Japanese navy; Dien Bien Phu, the climactic confrontation between French imperial troops and Viet Minh rebels that led to American intervention in Vietnam and marked the rise of a new era of insurgent warfare; Operation Peach, the perilous 2003 mission to secure a vital bridge over the Euphrates River that would open the way to Baghdad Historians and armchair generals will argue forever about which battles have had the most direct impact on history. But there can be no doubt that these twenty are among those that set mankind on new trajectories. Each of these epochal campaigns is examined in its full historical, strategic, and tactical context-complete with edge-of-your-seat you-are-there battle re-creations. With an eye for the small detail as well as the bigger picture, Lacey and Murray identify the elements that bind these battles together: the key decisions, critical mistakes, and moments of crisis on which the fates of entire civilizations depended. Some battles merely leave a field littered with the bodies of the fallen. Others transform the map of the entire world. Moment of Battle is history written with the immediacy of today's news, a magisterial tour d'horizon that refreshes our understanding of those essential turning points where the future was decided.… (más)
Miembro:rangevine
Título:Moment of battle : the twenty clashes that changed the world
Autores:Jim Lacey
Otros autores:Williamson Murray
Info:New York : Bantam Books, 2013.
Colecciones:Tu biblioteca
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Moment of Battle: The Twenty Clashes That Changed the World por James Lacey (2013)

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“Moment of Battle” is al tour de force of military history. Covering 2500 years of history, it singles out 20 major battles that the authors consider to have most significantly changed the world. It offers a useful corrective to a bizarre and naïve perspective voiced by US defense analysts in the 1990s, that the US military was about to create capabilities that would leave it unchallenged for the forseeable future. After two lost wars, a crippled economy, and a failing infrastructure, such a view can be seen as yet the latest example of the hubris of many a previous empire.

Each of the 20 battles is examined in terms of its historical backdrop, the goals of the warring parties, the military tactics, the factors that determined the outcome, and the lasting significance. For many of the battles, the placement and movement of troops are illustrated with diagrams that (despite their simplicity) usefully supplement the text.

The book begins with “Marathon”, the astonishing victory of Athens against the might of the Persian Empire, a battle with great consequence for the historical legacy of democratic traditions and ancient Greek thought. Next comes “Gaugamela”, key to Alexander the Great’s establishment of empire, which in turn set the stage for the later spread of Christianity among Greek- influenced Jews. Another early chapter focuses on the Roman Empire’s failure to conquer the Germanic tribes, which prefigured the East- West divide of Europe that contributed in the 20th century to two world wars. Yet another momentous battle is that of Yarmuk (630 CE), in which the followers of Mohammed established an Arab – Islamic civilization that dominates northern Africa and Arab territories.

Likewise there is Francis Drake’s destruction of the Spanish Armada (1588), without which the English would likely have never been able to colonize North America. Yet another explored episode (represented by three battles) by the authors is the Annus Mirabilis (the “year of miracles”) of 1759, in which the British established supremacy over Canada and made inroads towards success in the West Indies and in India. A lasting consequence is that English is the dominant global language when it comes to trade and intellectual exchange, not to mention the lasting legacy of a democratic (and secular) India. Other battles explored are taken from the American Revolution, Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, the US Civil War, the first World War, World War II (represented in three battles). The choice of several of the battles reflects the authors’ American (US) perspective and particular expertise. Thus, there are no battles in South America, Africa, or Asia (outside of World War II).

Naturally, one can quarrel with particular choices of battles. For my part, I was surprised at the inclusion of Dien Bien Phu, which signaled the withdrawal of the French from Indochina. However, far more momentous, one would think, was the US debacle in Southeast Asia, the last attempt by Western powers to dominate in east Asia. However, understandably, neither the Tet Offensive nor the fall of Saigon constitutes a momentous battle in the sense that this book explores. An even more peculiar choice is the 2003 US attack on Baghdad, a battle arguably of no lasting significance in light of everything that has happened since. In an interview on Book TV, author James Lacey explained that they included the attack on Baghdad because they wanted some recent military action; he further argued that we can never predict what might turn out to be significant in the future. (The latter point undermines, rather than justifies, the authors’ choice to include it).

Lacey and Murray make no secret of their strong opinions on issues of controversy. In fact, they clearly enjoy presenting themselves as iconoclasts against the views of professional historians and other military analysts. Thus, in opposition to other historian’s views, they make statements like “nothing could be further from the truth” (p. 230 and once again on p. 265), and “the experts could not have been more wrong” (p 266). In a particular show of contempt, they assert “Only academics who have spent their entire lives sequestered in school and with scant knowledge of the real world could gin up such nonsense” (p 85). A prospective reader should be prepared to take such tendentious statements in stride.

I recommend this book for aficionados of military history – they will find much here to think about and most likely, much to argue over. This book also is ideal for readers who enjoy the “What Ifs” of counterfactual history – the key episodes which, had they come out differently, would have led to a very different sort of world today. ( )
2 vota danielx | Jan 3, 2020 |
Esta reseña ha sido escrita por los Primeros Reseñadores de LibraryThingSUB2>.
“Moment of Battle” is al tour de force of military history. Covering 2500 years of history, it singles out 20 major battles that the authors consider to have most significantly changed the world. It offers a useful corrective to a bizarre and naïve perspective voiced by US defense analysts in the 1990s, that the US military was about to create capabilities that would leave it unchallenged for the forseeable future. After two lost wars, a crippled economy, and a failing infrastructure, such a view can be seen as yet the latest example of the hubris of many a previous empire.

Each of the 20 battles is examined in terms of its historical backdrop, the goals of the warring parties, the military tactics, the factors that determined the outcome, and the lasting significance. For many of the battles, the placement and movement of troops are illustrated with diagrams that (despite their simplicity) usefully supplement the text.

The book begins with “Marathon”, the astonishing victory of Athens against the might of the Persian Empire, a battle with great consequence for the historical legacy of democratic traditions and ancient Greek thought. Next comes “Gaugamela”, key to Alexander the Great’s establishment of empire, which in turn set the stage for the later spread of Christianity among Greek- influenced Jews. Another early chapter focuses on the Roman Empire’s failure to conquer the Germanic tribes, which prefigured the East- West divide of Europe that contributed in the 20th century to two world wars. Yet another momentous battle is that of Yarmuk (630 CE), in which the followers of Mohammed established an Arab – Islamic civilization that dominates northern Africa and Arab territories.

Likewise there is Francis Drake’s destruction of the Spanish Armada (1588), without which the English would likely have never been able to colonize North America. Yet another explored episode (represented by three battles) by the authors is the Annus Mirabilis (the “year of miracles”) of 1759, in which the British established supremacy over Canada and made inroads towards success in the West Indies and in India. A lasting consequence is that English is the dominant global language when it comes to trade and intellectual exchange, not to mention the lasting legacy of a democratic (and secular) India. Other battles explored are taken from the American Revolution, Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, the US Civil War, the first World War, World War II (represented in three battles). The choice of several of the battles reflects the authors’ American (US) perspective and particular expertise. Thus, there are no battles in South America, Africa, or Asia (outside of World War II).

Naturally, one can quarrel with particular choices of battles. For my part, I was surprised at the inclusion of Dien Bien Phu, which signaled the withdrawal of the French from Indochina. However, far more momentous, one would think, was the US debacle in Southeast Asia, the last attempt by Western powers to dominate in east Asia. However, understandably, neither the Tet Offensive nor the fall of Saigon constitutes a momentous battle in the sense that this book explores. An even more peculiar choice is the 2003 US attack on Baghdad, a battle arguably of no lasting significance in light of everything that has happened since. In an interview on Book TV, author James Lacey explained that they included the attack on Baghdad because they wanted some recent military action; he further argued that we can never predict what might turn out to be significant in the future. (The latter point undermines, rather than justifies, the authors’ choice to include it).

Lacey and Murray make no secret of their strong opinions on issues of controversy. In fact, they clearly enjoy presenting themselves as iconoclasts against the views of professional historians and other military analysts. Thus, in opposition to other historian’s views, they make statements like “nothing could be further from the truth” (p. 230 and once again on p. 265), and “the experts could not have been more wrong” (p 266). In a particular show of contempt, they assert “Only academics who have spent their entire lives sequestered in school and with scant knowledge of the real world could gin up such nonsense” (p 85). A prospective reader should be prepared to take such tendentious statements in stride.

I recommend this book for aficionados of military history – they will find much here to think about and most likely, much to argue over. This book also is ideal for readers who enjoy the “What Ifs” of counterfactual history – the key episodes which, had they come out differently, would have led to a very different sort of world today. ( )
3 vota rybie2 | Mar 21, 2014 |
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Lacey, Jamesautor principaltodas las edicionesconfirmado
Murray, Williamsonautor principaltodas las edicionesconfirmado
Beltran, CarlosDiseñador de cubiertaautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
Merrill, DaveMapsautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
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In the grand tradition of Edward Creasy's classic Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World, James Lacey and Williamson Murray spotlight only those engagements that changed the course of civilization. In gripping narrative accounts they bring these conflicts and eras to vivid life, detailing the cultural imperatives that led inexorably to the battlefield, the experiences of the common soldiers who fought and died, and the legendary commanders and statesmen who matched wits, will, and nerve for the highest possible stakes. From the great clashes of antiquity to the high-tech wars of the twenty-first century, here are the stories of the twenty most consequential battles ever fought, including Marathon, where Greece's 'greatest generation' repelled Persian forces three times their numbers-and saved Western civilization in its infancy. Adrianople, the death blow to a disintegrating Roman Empire Trafalgar, the epic naval victory that cemented a century of British supremacy over the globe. Saratoga, the first truly American victory, won by united colonial militias, which ensured the ultimate triumph of the Revolution; Midway, the ferocious World War II sea battle that broke the back of the Japanese navy; Dien Bien Phu, the climactic confrontation between French imperial troops and Viet Minh rebels that led to American intervention in Vietnam and marked the rise of a new era of insurgent warfare; Operation Peach, the perilous 2003 mission to secure a vital bridge over the Euphrates River that would open the way to Baghdad Historians and armchair generals will argue forever about which battles have had the most direct impact on history. But there can be no doubt that these twenty are among those that set mankind on new trajectories. Each of these epochal campaigns is examined in its full historical, strategic, and tactical context-complete with edge-of-your-seat you-are-there battle re-creations. With an eye for the small detail as well as the bigger picture, Lacey and Murray identify the elements that bind these battles together: the key decisions, critical mistakes, and moments of crisis on which the fates of entire civilizations depended. Some battles merely leave a field littered with the bodies of the fallen. Others transform the map of the entire world. Moment of Battle is history written with the immediacy of today's news, a magisterial tour d'horizon that refreshes our understanding of those essential turning points where the future was decided.

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