Collected here are the stories of the most successful commanders of all time, among them Hannibal, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Stonewall Jackson, Sherman, Rommel, Mao Zedong, who have demonstrated, at their own points in history, the strategic and tactical genius essential for victory. Ironically this virtue does not come naturally to military organizations, since more often than not the straight-ahead, narrow-thinking soldier will be promoted over his more lateral-minded, devious counterpart. Yet when the latter gets control, the results may be spectacular.
©1993 Bevin Alexander; (P)1995 Blackstone Audiobooks
"This study is essential reading for students of military strategy and tactics." (Publishers Weekly)
Alexander draws on several examples through history to illustrate many of the traits common to successful military leaders.
I found the historical overviews excellent. At times the material is a little thick as the sheer volume of facts can get overwhelming. Listening to an audiobook, I find it difficult to keep track of the number of mm of armour a specific generation of German tank has in WWII. Also, I think it would have been nice to have an atlas at hand, as I found it difficult to keep track of locations.
This book will be of interest to: armchair historians, soldiers (past or present or considering a military career), writers, or anyone who wants to undertand a little more about how battles work, and some of the catastophes that we (people in general) have either avoided, or brought on ourselves.
Overall, it's worth slogging through in my opinion.
This is an excellent book, but it is a challenging one to listen to as an audiobook. There is a lot technical in here and some of it is a little hard to follow as an audiobook. Still, the historical content is excellent and there is a great deal to learn from this reading. I feel like I have a much different perspecitve on key historical military figures and the state of warfare in their times.
I'm a military history fan and always have been. However, like most fans of military history I read about the eras that I'm most passionate about.
The author does a good job of retaining credibility and covering those portions that I'm most familiar with well while also increasing my interest in other eras.
He also does a good job of demonstrating that the military maxims he advises are ageless. In fact, some of them are essential points that I would classify as "common sense that is uncommon"; the type of points that seem obvious, but that somehow escape so many military leaders over and over.
Great listen overall, good delivery, and it's just the right length.
So far I've really liked the book, except for one thing none of the other reviews mention. The narrator often pauses, and whatever he is doing (swallowing, licking his lips, whatever he does to prep for the next part...) is very audible and detracts from the Audiobook a lot, for me at least. That is the *only* reason I did not rate this as a 5.
I don't know if I agree with all of the Great General selections but this book delivered. I have a great newfound appreciation for Skipio Africanis, Stonewall Jackson, Lawrence of Arabai and Chairman Mao. The narration was good, not great, as you could hear him swallowing, etc. However, it did not take away from the story. If you like military history this is a MUST read.
This book changed the way I view military strategy and history, and gave me a whole new perspective on Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Napoleon, Ghengis Khan, and others. The author takes a look at both sides - what the great Generals did right and what others did that cost them battles, and the basic principals are deceptively simple: Never hit the enemy head on and avoid the fight until the odds are in your favor.
This may seem basic, but when the U.S. military command in Vietnam had a "football field" mentality about the campaign (and even named battles after football plays), you get a sense of why we lost. Great Generals force the enemy into disadvantages positions and hit the weak areas to force the enemy to abandon their positions and react to them. They flee when they need to, and attach from the corners when it is in their best interest.
The author provides plenty of fascinating examples and narratives throughout history, and the book is well paced and easy to listen to. One of my favorites!
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend. However, at times it was difficult to keep up with the narration as the level of detail was such that it was a challenge to grasp it all. I will listen to it again but I will make sure to have maps in front of me to understand the tactics employed by these Captains and Generals. I also found myself googling all sorts of military equipment and Generals to complement the mental image provided by the book.
The last chapter on McArthur and Korea was my favorite.
No, it took a few sessions to get through it. This book is almost a text book in the sense that it provides very detail information about different battles and military campaigns. I like to let the information settle in before moving forward on to the next chapter.
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