John keegan the face of war

Here Keegan is at his best. He is determined to convince us despite the enormous amount of evidence he provides to the contrary that "war Clausewitz's war as opposed to strategy or tactics is neither an art nor a science, but those two terms often mark the parameters of theoretical debate on the subject.

Focusing on the mechanics of battle, Keegan discusses troop spacing, the effectiveness of weapons and formations, and other measures of tactical importance. Although the Prussian writer occasionally likened it to commerce and litigation, and more usually to politics, war is essentially a "part of man's social existence.

In any case, that is the approach of modern Clausewitzians, and it is necessary to distinguish—as critics like Liddell Hart and Keegan generally have failed to do—between the ideas of the philosopher himself and those of his proponents in any given era.

These beings, he says, "are not as other men—that is the lesson I have learned from a life cast among warriors.

John Keegan

One must ask how, precisely, did Clausewitz's efforts to subordinate war to rational policy teach the world that "those who make war an end in itself are likely to be more successful than those who seek to moderate its character for political purposes". Clausewitz's world view reflected elements of each.

No pacifist, Keegan argues that the contemporary armies of the developed world have a continuing mission to bring peace and order to the world. To accept such a conventionalization of war was in Clausewitz's view to fall into a trap.

Keegan takes a variation on the first approach: Some of Keegan's bitterness can be attributed to mere quirks of personality, for the profoundly civilian Keegan clearly is a moonstruck romantic about soldiers—or, even more dangerous, a disillusioned romantic.

My definitions; Clausewitz does not distinguish the two concepts, both of which are represented by the one word Politik in German. It does not worry about the rulers and generals who made the decisions and hoarded the laurels. Keegan suggests that operations on the Somme set some limit to what men could stand on the battlefield; his thesis--and he draws imaginatively from official histories, military records, soldiers' reminiscences, and the British literature of war to demonstrate it--is that when the gulf between social life and battlefield existence has become too gaping, the fighting soldier may refuse to fight, and battles may become impossible to win.

In order to justify this view, and unable to find a suitably inane quotation from Clausewitz's own writing, Keegan is reduced to quoting other writers with whom Clausewitz "would have probably" agreed—particularly on the subject of the Cossacks, pp The specific British victories Keegan examines are three, and take place over a period of years and a geographical range of miles: A clear implication of Keegan's narrowly cultural argument would seem to be that, since war is a traditional behavior pursued by identifiable cultural groups, the way to eliminate war is to eliminate its traditional practitioners.

Although he raises many individually valid points, these never really mesh into an overall portrait with the success of his description of the physical experience. It is very important for many people that correct with regards to John Keegan. Other historical book reviews and research papers are also available on our site.

It will conclude with some speculations as to why a bright fellow like Keegan might feel driven to make and defend such errors. His website is http: What makes his descriptions especially convincing is his care not to overgeneralize.

The power being contested may be social, as in the endemic personal competitions in feudal societies or during the European "Age of Kings"; economic, as with control of gold for the mercantilists, human flesh for the cannibal or slave-trader, or food for the ecological disaster victims on Easter Island; religious, as in the early stages of the Thirty Years' War or, in a rather different sense, Aztec Mexico; ideological; or anything else.

The Face of Battle Analysis

Clausewitz was famous and sometimes unpopular for his cool, reserved bearing. Creasy, accepting the Victorian aversion to war but fascination by it, concentrated only on those battles which, as his title indicates, decided the course of history.

Killing and dying over issues of ideology or political power are certainly objectionable, but far less so than killing or dying for the sake of mere ritual—and, in any case, any ritual that involves life and death has a political significance of its own.

Keegan has not only an unworkable definition of politics, but also too exclusive an understanding of Clausewitz's analytical scheme.

Keegan is, after all, a very bright and creative fellow, and an accomplished writer. For each battle, he gives an overview of the events which led up to it, and for Agincourt and Waterloo he also precedes his analysis with a brief account of how the battle happened. Keegan's criticisms here are more appropriately directed at Jomini, who represents the culmination of the Enlightenment's efforts at military theory, and at Jominians like A.

In other words, Clausewitz was a personal failure and his ideas are obsolete, or evil, or benighted, simply because, were things otherwise, John Keegan would not be unique. With The First World War, John Keegan, one of our most eminent military historians, fulfills a lifelong ambition to write the definitive account of the Great War for our generation.

He is the author of twenty books, including the acclaimed The Face of Battle and The Second World War. He lived in Wiltshire, England until his death in The historian John Keegan, who sadly passed away last year, explores similar themes in his pioneering book The Face of Battle, in which he analyses and compares the experience of combat in three major encounters of the last years: Agincourt (), Waterloo () and the Somme ().

The Face of Battle audiobook, by John Keegan In this major and wholly original contribution to military history, John Keegan reverses the usual convention of writing about war in terms of generals and nations in conflict, which tends to leave the common soldier as cipher.

773 results

Instead, he focuses on what a set battle is like for the man in the. The Face of Battle is John Keegan’s classic – at the time landmark – account of warfare from the perspective of individual soldiers.

It is not concerned with grand strategy or tactics. It does not worry about the rulers and generals who made the decisions and hoarded the laurels/5. Aug 02,  · John Keegan, aggregator I never understood John Keegan's audience or appeal.

Like McPherson, he wrote a book that was endlessly assigned as college reading (Face of Battle) which gave him high name recognition in the general population.

John Keegan's books include The Iraq War, Intelligence in War, The First World War, The Battle for History, The Face of Battle, War and Our World, The Masks of Command, Fields of Battle, and A History of Warfare.

He was the defense editor of The D.

John keegan the face of war
Rated 4/5 based on 48 review
The Face of Battle by John Keegan |