Sir Alistair Horne has been a close observer of war and history for more than 50 years, and in this wise and masterly work he revisits six battles of the past century and examines the strategies, leadership, preparation, and geopolitical goals of aggressors and defenders to reveal the one trait that links them all: hubris.
In Greek tragedy, hubris is excessive human pride that challenges the gods and ultimately leads to total destruction of the offender. From the 1905 Battle of Tsushima in the Russo-Japanese War to Hitler's 1941 bid to capture Moscow to MacArthur's disastrous advance in Korea to the French downfall at Dien Bien Phu, Horne shows how each of these battles was won or lost due to excessive hubris on one side or the other. In a sweeping narrative written with his trademark erudition and wit, Horne provides a meticulously detailed analysis of the ground maneuvers employed by the opposing armies in each battle. He also explores the strategic and psychological mind-sets of the military leaders involved to demonstrate how devastating combinations of human ambition and arrogance led to overreach. Making clear the danger of hubris in warfare, his insights hold resonant lessons for civilian and military leaders navigating today's complex global landscape.
A dramatic, colorful, stylishly written history, Hubris is a much-needed reflection on war from a master of his field.
©2015 Alistair Horne (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers
I very much enjoy stories of WW ll & Vietnam. This Book covers several less known wars, especially between the Japanese & Russia. But Alistair Horne also covers a more well known, but rather short,look at the Pacific War, especially the Battle of Midway. Everything covered, Hubris's is the driving force behind the instigators. Very well read, most interesting to hear. I highly recommend it to those who wonder about the price of war & the driving force of Hubris. The once again fall of the French, in Vietnam this time, should have warned all of the American leaders of what disaster lay ahead for the USA! ND John
My favorite character was the Russian General Zhukov & his handling of the little know 1939 battle with the Japanese in Manchuria, a very bloody affair! This set the stage for the Russian General's actions in the soon to come WW ll & was the main reason Japan decided not to attack Russia during the 1940's allowing Russia to send his eastern army against the German advance on Moscow! I will now look at history's great Wars to see if the parties involved studied history! I know most did not & then paid a high price.
Finally, someone (James Adams) gave a forthright reading of the King of Hubris, General McArthur!
How Big Battles are Lost!
I loved "After a Win, Tighten Your Chin Strap"! How true!
This is the best audible audio book I have listened. Superbly written, excellent analysis of the several war episodes chosen and an absolutely outstanding narration. It doesn't get better than this.
Definitely in the top 10 %
- The Korean story I really enjoyed. The McArthur hubris, the defining role played by Matthew Ridgeway and the story of Truman were a high point of the book.
- I also enjoyed listening about Zhukov and his all important role in soviet victory
Narration was spectacular. Excellent inflection and solid British accent
Korean war history and the role General Ridgway played
Highly recommended for leaders in all avenues of life. I learned and realized that - Hubris is ever present. It is the immediate result of big success, the bigger and most astonishing the larger the level of Hubris
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