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Der Hinge-Faktor : wie Zufall und…

Der Hinge-Faktor : wie Zufall und menschliche Dummheit Weltgeschichte… (edition 1998)

by Erik Durschmied

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4571133,811 (3.1)4
Title:Der Hinge-Faktor : wie Zufall und menschliche Dummheit Weltgeschichte schreiben
Authors:Erik Durschmied
Info:Wien [u.a.] : Böhlau, 1998.

Work details

The Hinge Factor: How Chance and Stupidity Have Changed History by Erik Durschmied



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English (10)  Italian (1)  All languages (11)
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
This is a sad attempt to create a factoid book of military ironies. Mr. Durschmied has survived a good deal of time in dangerous places, but, alas, he's not a striking stylist, nor do I find the bulk of his book very interesting. While he has brought to my attention the "battle" of Karansebes, an Austrian Military panic in 1788 that created 10,000 casualties with out any Turkish input, another fourteen disasters follow well trodden paths and have no new information for the student. His writing does come alive for the last three chapters; the fall of the Berlin wall, the tet offensive, and his description of the first Gulf War repay the effort. Otherwise, I was bored. I note with alarm that the book has had two reprints since my 1999 copy. The readers would have been better served by reading "From The Jaws of Victory", or "The March of Folly" ( )
  DinadansFriend | Jan 11, 2018 |
I read very little of this, and hadn't read enough about it to realize that it would be entirely about military history. After reading other complaints about maps and facts, it doesn't seem worth plowing through.

Here is my pet peeve that inspires me to review a book that I mostly haven't read. I was particularly irritated by his chapter on the Trojan Horse. That is a myth, and analyzing it as history is a lost cause. I decided not to read Barbara Tuchman's March of Folly because that was one of the foci of her analysis. The main problem is the supernatural element of Laocoön and his sons being strangled by sea serpents because he attempts to stop the Trojans from pulling the Horse into the city. (Durschmied omits this, although he includes other mythic elements.) This naturally terrifies the Trojans so much that they immediately drag the horse inside. The myth is thus problematic as an example of human folly or misjudgment, although perhaps a good argument for atheism.

In a sense, the prologue, about the dropping of the atom bomb on Japan is not terribly appropriate either. While it mattered very much to the citizens of the particular cities which one the atom bomb was dropped on, it didn't really make much of a difference in history. I don't think that dropping it on say, Kokura instead of Nagasaki had any effect on the outcome of the war.
1 vote juglicerr | Feb 9, 2017 |
Not really a coherent book. And I hated when he would show off his linguistic skills. When you are trying to make a point, and do it in a foreign language, then fail to translate it, it just comes off as showy and rude!

Glad I picked this up at a library book sale. I would have been hugely disappointed if I had spent more than a dollar on it. ( )
  Bill_Masom | Mar 31, 2014 |
A great premise and a great selection of battles and major conflicts (but mostly battles; 4 1/2 stars). Crude, horribly confusing battle maps and awkward, disjointed prose. You'll get so much more from the better-written maps and articles from Wikipedia (1 star). Phony, contrived historical fiction dialogs that reminded me of those very early and poorly-funded days of the History Channel. (Remember when they'd show Pickett's Charge consisting of 6 portly 50-something re-enactors, bumbling over a split wood fence? And, they'd show some guy with a "Santy Clause" beard and gray uniform and call him General Lee? The narrative reminds me of those kind of production values - 1 1/2 stars.). Interesting obscure battles such as Tanga (1914) and interesting treatments of more well known events such as Tet. the Berlin Wall and Desert Storm (3 1/2 stars). Cryptic but interesting Bibliography (3 stars). All in all, a big amalgam of starry ambivalence. ( )
  Sandydog1 | Nov 29, 2013 |
An interesting idea, but a deeply flawed execution. Also, would it kill the publisher to find a better set of maps? ( )
1 vote HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Erik Durschmiedprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kagan, AbbyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laane, MarekTÕlkija.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Messadié, GéraldTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is not the same book as Durschmied's 'Hinges of Battle'. They are two different books on similar themes with similar titles and sub-titles. Please do not recombine them!
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Book description

A wooden horse : Troy, 1184 BC -- The loss of the True Cross : the Horns of Hattin, 4 July 1187 -- A rabble with bare feat : Agincourt, 25 October 1415 -- A barrel of schnapps : Karansebes, 20 September 1788 -- A fistful of nails : Waterloo, 18 June 1815 -- The fourth order : Balaclava, 25 October 1854 -- Three cigars : Antietam, 17 September 1862 -- Two counts and one prince : Königgrätz, 3 July 1866 -- A fair fight : Spioen Kop, 24 January 1900 -- A slap on the face : Tannenberg, 28 August 1914 -- The sting of a bee : Tanga, 5 November 1914 -- Der Halte Befehl : France, 21 May 1940 -- A shark on the loose : North Atlantic, 27 May 1941 -- The Sorge enigma : Moscow, 6 December 1941 -- One man's death : Vietnam, 31 January 1968 -- And the Wall came tumbling down : Berlin, 9 November 1989 -- The zero factor : the Gulf, 17 January 1991.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0340728302, Paperback)

What if it hadn't rained at Agincourt in 1415 and the French had, as expected, won the day? What if one of Napoleon's most trusted commanders had spiked Wellington's guns with a handful of nails at Waterloo in 1815, providing his emperor with victory? What if Hitler hadn't paused for three vital days during his invasion of France in May 1940, allowing the British Expeditionary Force precious time to evacuate from Dunkirk? Moments like these, argues Erik Durschmied, provide the hinge factor in history: examples of stupidity, chance, or accident that have irrevocably changed the outcome of human history, for better or worse.

Drawing on his extensive experience as a war correspondent with the BBC and CBS, Durschmied moves from ancient Troy and the Trojan Horse to Iraq and Operation Desert Storm, offering a persuasive and at times wry account of the ways in which chance affects the unfolding of history. Recounting 17 key moments in human conflict and warfare, The Hinge Factor is not just an amusing meditation on what might have been; it is also a poignant and vivid account of the brutality and stupidity of war. More than just an account of accidents in history, this is a thoughtful and absorbing book. --Jerry Brotton, Amazon.co.uk

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:37 -0400)

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Hinge factor is a military term describing an incident which can turn a bottle from victory to defeat. History from the Holy Cross to the Gulf.

(summary from another edition)

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Arcade Publishing

2 editions of this book were published by Arcade Publishing.

Editions: 1611453216, 1628726431

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