There is a unity in war that transcends eras and technology, a unity that makes the tasks of the great Carthaginian commander Hannibal in the third century BC practically the same as those of Norman Schwarzkopf, allied commander of Desert Storm in 1991. In this book, Bevin Alexander demonstrates the strategic thinking and battlefield techniques of some of the greatest generals in history, including Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Sherman, and von Manstein, and shows how they applied principles of military strategy that have remained constant for 2000 years.
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BEVIN ALEXANDER is the author of seven books of military history, including How Hitler Could Have Won World War II and Lost Victories, which was named by the Civil War Book Review as one of the seventeen books that have most transformed Civil War scholarship. He was an advisor to the Rand Corporation for a recent study on future warfare and was a participant in a recent war game simulation run by the Training and Doctrine Command of the U.S. army. His battle studies of the Korean War, written during his decorated service as a combat historian, are stored in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. He lives in Bremo Bluff, Virginia.From Kirkus Reviews:
An astute military historian's mildly contrarian appraisal of what separates the sheep from the wolves in the great game of war. Arguing that von Clausewitz's thoughts about the bloody solution of battle have been misread over the years, Alexander (Lost Victories, 1992, etc.) asserts that the principal purpose of armed conflict is to reduce the possibility of an enemy's resistance (a view the author shares with Sun Tzu). Alexander then ranges back and forth through time to identify and comment upon commanders who were able, in the words of Stonewall Jackson, to ``mystify, mislead, and surprise'' their foes. Among those who measure up are Scipio Africanus (who bested Hannibal); Napoleon (who, in 1797, conquered northern Italy through innovative techniques); Sherman (whose march to the sea broke the South's will during the Civil War); Subedai (whose Mongol hordes sacked Buda and Pest during the mid-13th century), and MacArthur (whose daring Inchon assault turned the tide of the Korean War). Covered as well are the bold WW I campaigns mounted by Allenby and Lawrence in the Middle East; Mao's defeat of the Kuomintang; and the nervy genius of three top generals whose misfortune it was to serve Nazi Germany--Guderian, Rommel, and von Manstein. A merciless critic of annihilative, brute-force engagements (of the sort he witnessed as a US Army officer in Korea), Alexander makes a persuasive case for great captains who achieve their strategic ends via maneuver, stealth, guile, or a willingness to defy conventional wisdom. The author's analysis suggests that the doctrines that guide professional soldiers (be they Roman legionnaires or Norman Schwarzkopfs) have remained notably constant for more than two millennia. Informed opinions on the martial arts that draw provocative distinctions between victors and winners. (Maps--not seen) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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