Moment of Battle: The Twenty Clashes That Changed the World
Two modern masters of military history make their case to name the twenty most pivotal battles of all time, in a riveting trip through the ages to those moments when the fate of the world hung in the balance. In the grand tradition of Edward Creasy's classic Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World, James Lacey and Williamson Murray spotlight engagements that changed the course of civilization. Much more than simply a survey of armed conflict through the centuries, Moment of Battle brings these conflicts and their eras to vivid life in gripping narrative accounts that detail the cultural imperatives that led inexorably to the battlefield, the experiences of the common soldiers who fought and died, and the legendary commanders and statesmen who matched wits, will, and nerve for the highest possible stakes. From the great clashes of antiquity to the high-tech wars of the twenty-first century, here are the stories of the twenty most consequential battles ever fought, including - Marathon, where Greece's greatest generation repelled Persian forces three times their numbers--and saved Western civilization from being extinguished in its infancy - Adrianople, the death blow to a disintegrating Roman Empire, dealt by a wave of invading Goths - Trafalgar, the epic naval victory that decided the Napoleonic Wars and cemented a century of British supremacy over the globe - Saratoga, where militias from across the colonies united for the first truly American victory and ensured the ultimate triumph of the Revolution - Midway, the ferocious sea battle that broke the back of the Japanese navy and helped seal the outcome of World War II in the Pacific - Dien Bien Phu, the climactic confrontation between French imperial troops and Viet Minh rebels that set the stage for American intervention in Vietnam and marked the rise of a new era of insurgent warfare - Operation Peach, the 2003 mission to secure a critical bridge over the Euphrates River that represented a potentially devastating trap for American forces but would open the way to Baghdad Historians and armchair generals will argue forever about which battles have had the most direct impact on history. But there can be no doubt that these twenty are among the fraction that set mankind on new trajectories. Each of these epochal campaigns is examined in its full historical, strategic, and tactical context--complete with edge-of-your-seat you-are-there battle re-creations. With an eye for the small detail as well as the bigger picture, Lacey and Murray identify the elements that bind these battles together: the key decisions, critical mistakes, and moments of crisis on which the fates of entire civilizations depended. Some battles merely leave a field littered with the bodies of the fallen. Others transform the map of the entire world. Moment of Battle is history written with the immediacy of today's news, a magisterial tour d'horizon that refreshes our understanding of those critical turning points where the future was decided.
by : Jim Lacey