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Publisher's Summary

Stirring portraits of five commanders whose dynamic leadership changed the course of war and history by prominent military historian Victor Davis Hanson.

Prominent military historian Victor Davis Hanson explores the nature of leadership with his usual depth and vivid prose in The Savior Generals, a set of brilliantly executed pocket biographies of five generals (Themistocles, Belisarius, William Tecumseh Sherman, Matthew Ridgway, and David Petraeus) who single-handedly saved their nations from defeat in war. War is rarely a predictable enterprise - it is a mess of luck, chance, and incalculable variables. Today's sure winner can easily become tomorrow's doomed loser. Sudden, sharp changes in fortune can reverse the course of war.

These intractable circumstances are sometimes mastered by leaders of genius - asked at the 11th hour to save a hopeless conflict, one created by others and frequently unpopular politically and with the public. The savior generals often come from outside the established power structure, employ radical strategies, and flame out quickly. Their careers regularly end in controversy. But their dramatic feats of leadership are vital slices of history - not merely as stirring military narrative, but as lessons on the dynamic nature of consensus, leadership, and destiny.

©2013 Victor Davis Hanson (P)2019 Tantor

What listeners say about The Savior Generals

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A good history book tells about human nature.

A good book about individuals with higher order of thinking and their changing the course of everything by one good decision of scale when everyone else has thought all was lost. Also a good book about what such individuals have to go through as, by the analogy of the IQ scores, they are as far from the standard social conduct as the IQ 65 scorer from the mean value, before and after their working wonders. The story of the fifth general, David Petreaus, is not a good match with the other four for his obvious social skills as told and his being challenged rather by the usual politics. We are often referred to certain left-wing individuals and their narratives instead of the good presentation of the human psyche in the other chapters. Bob Souer reads in a rush. I had to adjust the speed to 90 per cent, in which case the listening experience becomes much better. Overall I think the book is a good read and is recommended for those who like to look beyond names of wars, their dates, and the name of the king or the president back then.

7 people found this helpful

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great and more than worth the time

well laid out text leads to superior audio with the content so easy to understand this book boarders on perfection.

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More Victor Davis Hanson Please

We need more Victor Davis Hanson in every area. His political and military commentary are spot on. His picks for the savior generals in this book go completely against the grain, and that's a VERY good thing. For instance, Sherman gets a bad rap by modern historians for his cruelty and "racism." Actually, Sherman, for all his contradictions of character (like every person who has ever lived) did was implement a strategy to win the Civil War. And here too, Matthew Ridgway gets his due for his unapologetic and incredible leadership in Korea.

Too, David Petraeus is also vindicated for his surge stye Iraq war strategy, after being shamed and a scapegoat by the Obama Administration. The full scope of his resignation were not known at the time of this writing, save his affair, though Hanson devotes significant time to the issue. But at least he gets credit for what he did at during the surge in Iraq.

Bob Sour's narration is impeccable. What a breath of fresh air all around. THANK YOU!

2 people found this helpful

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Of all brilliant Mr. Hanson books, MOST “lessons learned” brilliant!

A great follow-up to Mr. Hanson’s The Second World Wars... a recommended read for future reference.

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Read this Book

With insights only he could create Victor Hanson illuminates forgotten elements of already famous wars.

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Fantastic read! Wish it were longer

The chapters on Matthew Ridgeway are especially good. VDH is quickly becoming my favourite author

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A CLASSIC OF MILITARY HISTORY & LEADERSHIP

Another eminently readable and essential work by Dr. Hanson.

Nothing else even comes close to the analytic thought put into this book.

KUDOS to a man who is a genuine national asset and academic treasure.

1 person found this helpful

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War Mirroring Life

The Savior Generals perfectly captures how clearly human nature can be seen through war. The 5 generals whose lives are detailed in this book give modern audiences an understanding that the past is prologue and that our current social, economic, and political issues are not lost causes. For Americans, the final three generals (Sherman, Ridgway, and Petraeus) help to reinvigorate a recently lost national self-confidence. They remind us that great victories sometimes begin as hopeless quagmires and all is not lost; even if our media sources may wish that to be the case. Themistocles and Belisarius remind us that some problems are indeed part of the human condition; neither too modern to allow history to guide us through them nor too pressing that thoughtful study of past luminaries is a waste of time. The Savior Generals may just save your own hope for a seemingly lost culture, country, or generation and revivify your will to press on despite seemingly insurmountable odds.

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Non Obvious But Important and Well Told History

This is fascinating and compelling history, gold mined from the voluminous ore of history. Brilliant!

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Reveals valuable insight into the human condition

If you like history, this book is for you.
I'm a fan of VDH and the only regret is that isn't narrating this book. Every chapter was great, filled with percise information that painted a very good picture in my mind.
Pick this up, you won't regret it!

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  • Oz
  • 04-02-20

If you think your smart, then listen to this audio book!

Just when I thought I was knowledgeable, this book schooled me and proved me wrong

1 person found this helpful