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The Face of Battle de John Keegan
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The Face of Battle (edição: 1983)

de John Keegan (Autor)

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
2,443244,660 (4.04)71
The Face of Battle is military history from the battlefield: a look at the direct experience of individuals at 'the point of maximum danger'. It examines the physical conditions of fighting, the particular emotions and behaviour generated by battle, as well as the motives that impel soldiers to stand and fight rather than run away. And in his scrupulous reassessment of three battles, John Keegan vividly conveys their reality for the participants, whether facing the arrow cloud of Agincourt, the levelled muskets of Waterloo or the steel rain of the Somme.… (mais)
Membro:mponchak
Título:The Face of Battle
Autores:John Keegan (Autor)
Informação:Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated (1983), Edition: Later Printing
Coleções:Sua biblioteca, Professional
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Etiquetas:Nenhum(a)

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The Face of Battle de John Keegan

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To steal from Wikipedia:

The Face of Battle is a 1976 non-fiction book on military history by the English military historian John Keegan. It deals first with the structure of historical writing about battles, the strengths and weaknesses of the “battle piece,” and then with the structure of warfare in three time periods—medieval Europe, the Napoleonic Era, and World War I—by analyzing three battles: Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme.

And it is, indeed, one of the best books about the nature of warfare that I have read.

Keegan draws on a broad spectrum of sources – from the heralds of Normandy to regimental diaries to All Quiet on the Western Front – to paint a compelling picture of what it was actually like to be in a battle. What’s impressive is that, right off the bat, Keegan acknowledges that none of his sources are independently sufficient. Personal testimony is usually myopic and aggrandizing, regimental histories are often spotty and shoddy, and even the rawest artistic depictions inevitably romanticize their subjects. One needs to synthesize all the sources – and do further analysis atop all that – to come up with some semblance of the experience. And it has almost as much to say about how the history of battles is written as it does those battles itself.

Its scope is both narrow – it studies only three English battles, in a fairly constrained geographic area – and broad, covering the nature of warfare itself. It is an intensely psychological study – what motivated the archers at Agincourt, what compelled men to stand in formation as they were blown apart by artillery at Waterloo, what was the push that got men to go over the top of the trenches and into No Man’s Land? It is experiential, in a manner often overlooked by more conventional histories – the combatants at Agincourt were half-starved, the Englishmen at Waterloo mostly fought in damp clothes, all armies use alcohol far more than anyone wants to admit. It describes perspectives exceedingly well – what would it have been like to be trapped in the crush of bodies in suits of armor, or to be Wellington, galloping across the battlefield trying to get a picture of what was happening. It shows how the scope of warfare has expanded, and how that has fundamentally changed the nature of generalship and command.

Exceedingly well-written, with a proper bibliography to boot. Recommended for anyone looking to better understand the experience of war and warfare. ( )
  pvoberstein | Dec 14, 2020 |
Well written and thoroughly researched. Excellent military history comparing warfare from different eras. ( )
  Whiskey3pa | Nov 25, 2020 |
I debated between being objective about this nonfiction or just reviewing it based on my gut feeling.

In the end, I had to give it a 5 for good analysis and its own bright objectivity.

But for myself, I have to wonder why I read military history and why, after each time I do it, I feel sullied and unclean. If I leave enjoyment out of it, I did learn a lot about the details of these battles and the author did his very best to bring in all sides of the battles, not just what-ifs and strategy, but a lifetime of critical thinking.

I really appreciated that. And, a point-of-fact, I would absolutely recommend this book for all military buffs and history buffs. He's not only pretty exhaustive and wise about the battles, but he has a healthy dose of self-doubt tempered by a lot of experience. But not of battle. He makes it very clear he cannot understand battle from direct knowledge. But more importantly, neither can almost anyone. :)

But, of course, any history is going to rest or fall on its details and analysis. Fortunately, this one comes through with flying colors. :)

But again... I really didn't *enjoy* this text all that much. Be it mood or distaste, I generally don't go out of my way to read about war and for that reason alone I had a hard time liking it. And yet I can still appreciate a good dose of new knowledge, so it balances out.

( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
tedious ( )
  daddywarbooks | Mar 1, 2018 |
I have never read anything like this book before, and I learned so much, and it's so well written, about a topic I never thought would be something I'd want to read about and it had me riveted. I feel like I've spent time with a very wise person who had given me a better sense of what it means to be human. ( )
  poingu | Jan 29, 2015 |
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Keegan may present little in the way of contextual information on each battle - the reader is left to slot each one into its relevant timezone - but the battles, chosen presumably because they are already well-known, are simply the vehicles through which the ideas are conveyed. The results are, nearly thirty years later, still wholly valid and required reading for anyone who ever wishes to hold an opinion on conflicts.
 

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The Face of Battle is military history from the battlefield: a look at the direct experience of individuals at 'the point of maximum danger'. It examines the physical conditions of fighting, the particular emotions and behaviour generated by battle, as well as the motives that impel soldiers to stand and fight rather than run away. And in his scrupulous reassessment of three battles, John Keegan vividly conveys their reality for the participants, whether facing the arrow cloud of Agincourt, the levelled muskets of Waterloo or the steel rain of the Somme.

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