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Soldiers: A history of men in battle by John…
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Soldiers: A history of men in battle (edition 1997)

by John Keegan (Author)

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216299,336 (3.75)1
Each type of soldier is described and the origin of their specializations outlined.
Member:ScottFurtak
Title:Soldiers: A history of men in battle
Authors:John Keegan (Author)
Info:Konecky & Konecky (1997), 288 pages
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Soldiers: A History of Men in Battle by John Keegan

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Although subtitled “An Illustrated History of Men in Battle,” this book is dense with text. The book is not arranged chronologically; rather, the authors describe in sequence each type of armament used in warfare and how they developed over ten thousand years of human history. Thus it begins with swords, shields, and spears, moving on to longbows, muskets, airplanes, and so on, as technology transformed warfare. The American Civil War is offered as an example of a time in which war was being waged with old technology since a revolution in firearms took place right in the middle of the conflict. The dynamics of the battlefield had suddenly shifted from what made sense when most of the officers had been trained at West Point or fought in the recent war in Mexico. Then, frontal assaults worked brilliantly. Now, they heralded slaughters. But it took the officers a while to adapt.

Interestingly, as Frederick Forsyth writes in the Forward:

“We come here to understand how the engineers make warfare possible and are locked in eternal rivalry, some charged to create the defensive fortifications, their opponents to sap and blast those redoubts away and open the road for their colleagues to sweep through.”

In a most interesting chapter, the book also discusses how casualties were handled throughout the ages.

The book concludes:

“Old soldiers never die; but ninety-nine soldiers in a hundred are pitiably young, and they die in their Millions, without beginning to guess why it is that life asks that of them. . . .May the world, in its next ten thousand years, find a way of working that spares the old the need to ask the young that sacrifice.” ( )
  nbmars | Jan 20, 2021 |
May be gift for Bill Smith ( )
  Brightman | Oct 10, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Keeganprimary authorall editionscalculated
Holmes, Richardmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Forsyth, FrederickForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Each type of soldier is described and the origin of their specializations outlined.

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