Sunday, September 24, 2017

A History of War

Book Recommendation: A History of Warfare by John Keegan 

The late John Keegan was arguably the premier military historian of the 20th century. I just read this book, published in 19894, but found it both interesting and insightful. I have been reading Keegan since I first came upon his famous Face of Battle, but just discovered this history. He is always highly readable, clear and thought-provoking, even when I question some of his conclusions. This short history starts with war in its earliest known form and brings it up through Vietnam and other post WWII insurgencies. Keegan covers the broad brush of war, but has an eye for the telling detail, such as the Australian veteran at the fall of Singapore, who earned the Victoria Cross in WWI, setting off alone towards the Japanese lines with grenades in his hands and, "No capitulation for me" on his lips, who was never seen again. In the book, Keegan also writes that war is, "The one human activity from which women...have always and everywhere stood apart." He published this 23 years ago. I wonder what Sir John, were he still alive, would think today of the PC efforts to degrade the forces by including woman in ground combat units. I highly recommend this book.

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