Ten major battles or campaigns that could have been won by using the principles of The Art of War.
Imagine the impact on world history if Robert E. Lee had listened to General Longstreet at Gettysburg and withdrawn to higher ground instead of sending Pickett uphill against the entrenched Union line. Or if Napoléon, at Waterloo, had avoided mistakes he'd never made before. The advice that would have changed the outcome of these crucial battles is found in a book on strategy written centuries before Christ was born.
Lee, Napoléon, and Adolf Hitler never read Sun Tzu's The Art of War; the book only became widely available in the West in the mid-twentieth century. But as Bevin Alexander shows, Sun Tzu's maxims often boil down to common sense, in a particularly pure and clear form. The lessons of contemporary military practice, or their own experience, might have guided these commanders to success. It is stunning to see, however, the degree to which the precepts laid down 2,400 years ago apply to warfare of the modern era. Maps
“This provocative and persuasive analysis of the Peloponnesian War’s first ten years shifts focus from the ‘realist’ aspects of the conflict’s causes and conduct. Lendon stresses instead the centrality of honor, time, manifested by reciprocal acts of destruction and revenge. Humiliation, not conquest, was the primary war aim—an aim so vague it made expanding the war easier than making peace.”
“In an exceptionally well-written account of the first 10 years of the Peloponnesian War (431–421 B.C.E.), University of Virginia historian Lendon brings the Greek city-states to life. Crediting Thucydides with the humanizing of military history, Lendon emphasizes the extraordinary importance of worth or glory to the typical Greek and casts the long, bloody conflict between Athens and Sparta in the light of the concepts of honor and hubris.”
“Weaving together cultural and military history, Lendon details the events of the Peloponnesian War’s first decade (431-421 B.C.E.) with language that is (as was his intention) more evocative of Herodotus’s epic-poetical style than the dryer intellectual approach of Thucydides.”
The Greek Star
“A fast-paced military history that places readers in the heart of battle, Song of Wrath is essential reading for anyone interested in one of the momentous wars in world history."
The Hellenic Voice
“Historian J.E. Lendon presents a tale of pitched battles by land and sea, sieges, sacks, raids, and deeds of cruelty and guile – along with courageous acts of mercy, surprising charity, austere restraint, and arrogant resistance. Recounting the rise of democratic Athens to great-power status, and the resulting fury of authoritarian Sparta, Greece’s traditional leader, Lendon portrays the causes and strategy of the war as a duel over national honor, a series of acts of revenge.”
“J.E. Lendon’s polemology of ancient Greece recognizes no bounds—or equals. Honor is a major theme of his new finely researched and inimitably styled analysis of the Ten Years’ War (431-421 BCE) fought between Sparta and Athens and their respective allies, and honor is due to its never less than engaging author.”
Barry Strauss, author of The Spartacus War and Professor of History at Cornell University
Dennis Showalter, Professor of History at Colorado College
Knights of the Sea: The True Story of the Boxer and the Enterprise and the War of 1812 by David Hanna
** Not an Ancient battle, but certainly worth knowing!
"Beautifully written, Knights of the Sea delves deeply into the lives and motivations of the two young, but experienced captains who dueled to the death in the famous sea fight between the HMS Boxer and USS Enterprise, shedding new light on the British and American navies during a critical period in their histories.”
Captain Philip Kasky USN (Ret), former commander, USS Suribachi
"David Hanna establishes his credibility both as a writer and with the quality and depth of his historical research in Knights of the Sea. His capturing of a little-known maritime battle during the War of 1812 is surprisingly relevant in modern-day exploration of military strategy."
Portland Press Herald
"In a compact, well-organized and carefully illustrated book, Hanna propels the reader both general and scholarly with sure, swift and colorful prose.”
Bangor Daily News
"In Hanna’s skilled storytelling, heroic seamen and stout ships come alive in this rousing tale and converge on the Maine coast for a short, bloody sea battle... The well-illustrated Knights of the Sea is a great read for folks interested in Maine or maritime history. Hanna does his heroes and their forgotten war justice."
Down East Magazine
"When wars two hundred years in the past sound eerily like today’s contemporary events, it’s time to sit up and take notice. And even when that history is about a relatively obscure naval engagement off the coast of Maine, the lessons it offers about individual sacrifice can be far-reaching, compelling—and also a bit unsettling. In his newly-published book, David Hanna has taken a potentially dry subject and given it new life with a modern perspective and sympathy for the men directly involved in the forgotten Maine conflict."
"Highly readable, this book will appeal to those interested in naval warfare and the War of 1812 as well as those with any interest in early U.S. history. Strongly recommended."
A Latter-Day Bluestocking
"Knights of the Sea: The True Story of the Boxer and the Enterprise and the War of 1812 stands out amongst history books in that it was a page-turner. David Hanna has the gift for making history come alive, there is not a dull moment throughout the narrative."
About the Author
David Hanna teaches history at Stuyvesant High School in New York, and is an adjunct instructor at NYU. He lives with his family in Morris County, New Jersey.
More than 2500 years ago a confederation of small Greek city-states defeated the invading armies of Persia, the most powerful empire in the world. In this meticulously researched study, historian Paul Rahe argues that Sparta was responsible for the initial establishment of the Hellenic defensive coalition and was, in fact, the most essential player in its ultimate victory.
Drawing from an impressive range of ancient sources, including Herodotus and Plutarch, the author veers from the traditional Atheno-centric view of the Greco-Persian Wars to examine from a Spartan perspective the grand strategy that halted the Persian juggernaut. Rahe provides a fascinating, detailed picture of life in Sparta circa 480 B.C., revealing how the Spartans’ form of government and the regimen to which they subjected themselves instilled within them the pride, confidence, discipline, and discernment necessary to forge an alliance that would stand firm against a great empire, driven by religious fervor, that held sway over two-fifths of the human race.
Military historians throughout the world acknowledge the Teutonic maxim that the baseline of war is history! No conflict is studied more than the Punic Wars (264 B.C. - 146 B.C.).
In latin, Punic means 'Phoenician', a seafaring civilization originating from present day Lebanon, who specialized in trading/selling the world's most expensive commodity, the color purple extracted from sea shells called Murex. Based in Carthage, present day Tunisia, they were Rome's ONLY rival for the Mediterranean world.
Phoenician civilization's greatest commander, arguably the best commander EVER, was named Hannibal. His goal: slaughter the Romans by taking war directly INTO the very heart of Rome ITSELF.
He did this by dominating Spain, located in Italy's rear. He crossed the Alps in the winter with trained Elephants, having them brought over the Mediterranean Sea in rafts, upon their arrival in Spain, Hannibal's coalition began foraging south picking off Rome's northern alliances. ALL THE WAY TO THE CITY OF ROME ITSELF!
Rome's best commander, Africanus Scipio was defeated EVERY TIME by Hannibal, but the Roman's learned to use Hannibal's warcraft against him. Hannibal's superior warcraft actually taught the Roman's HOW to defeat him.
Why study the Battle of Cannae? The battle is studied to gain extraordinary tactical advantage procured by Hannibal's strategic, tactical warcraft. Upon engaging the Roman's on an open flat field, Hannibal anticipated to draw the Roman center by collapsing or folding inward Hannibal's forward moving center, enveloping the entire Roman column. When the Romans were hemmed in on all sides, Hannibal's men were able to slaughter the Romans in a devastating blow to domestic morale.
This image reads from the bottom to the top. Hannibal's illiterate coalition is colored blue, Rome Red. By having Hannibal's center collapse enveloping the Roman forward moving column, Hannibal was able to use Rome's strength against them, defeating Rome in an open set match on the fields of Cannae.
Battle of Cannae YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQNCGqfjaBc
Lesson: Mass is a liability even in favorable terrain. Superior strategic, tactical adaption is the baseline for every conflict.
fields of cannae, south east italy
Two distinguished military historians provide the social, economic and geographic context that underwrote 20 decisive battles that changed world history. From antiquity to the 2006 Iraqi surge, we meet the men who demonstrated the courage to adapt to formidable enemies under extreme conditions. An examination of how the ethics of leadership wrought victory.
YouTube Ancient Battles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cax2vIb22nc&list=PL536F0870D758AB82
John Batchelor Radio Show Interview http://johnbatchelorshow.com/podcasts/mon-9715-hr-4-jbs-moment-battle-twenty-clashes-changed-world-jim-lacey-and-williamson
• Marathon, where Greece’s “greatest generation” repelled Persian forces three times their numbers—and saved Western civilization in its infancy
• Adrianople, the death blow to a disintegrating Roman Empire
• Trafalgar, the epic naval victory that cemented a century of British supremacy over the globe
• Saratoga, the first truly American victory, won by united colonial militias, which ensured the ultimate triumph of the Revolution
• Midway, the ferocious World War II sea battle that broke the back of the Japanese navy
• Dien Bien Phu, the climactic confrontation between French imperial troops and Viet Minh rebels that led to American intervention in Vietnam and marked the rise of a new era of insurgent warfare
• Operation Peach, the perilous 2003 mission to secure a vital bridge over the Euphrates River that would open the way to Baghdad.
“Two world-class historians present, eloquently and persuasively, twenty battles that fundamentally changed the course of history. Moment of Battle is a must acquisition for anyone seeking to understand the nature of human development—and its turning points.”—Dennis E. Showalter, professor of history, Colorado College, author of Armor and Blood
“In a single volume, James Lacey and Williamson Murray have distilled a lifetime of learning and insight into the most influential battles in world history. This is a readable and compelling primer and a feast for the student of military history.”—James D. Hornfischer, author of Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal
“Moment of Battle is an exciting account of important battles in history from Marathon in 490 B.C. to Baghdad in 2003. Its authors are excellent military historians with personal experience in modern warfare and a command of the character of warfare throughout the ages. They write in clear and lively prose in a way that will capture the reader’s interest even as they communicate their own learning and excitement with the subject.”—Donald Kagan, Sterling Professor of Classics and History, Yale University
“Lacey and Murray have performed a signal service by reminding readers of the transcendent importance of major battles in shaping history. Readers can disagree with some of their selections, but that is part of the fun of a work like this: It makes you think even as it entertains and informs. This is an invaluable primer on military history.”—Max Boot, author of Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present
“The world’s greatest battles are common book themes; but Lacey and Murray offer two twists to the well-known genre. First, they focus on mostly unappreciated encounters such as Yarmuk, Vicksburg, Kursk, and Dien Bien Phu. Second, their accounts are not mere strategy and tactics, but human stories of the soldiers that won and lost these horrific battles. The result is a riveting human story about how 2,500 years of history were changed by a few remarkable individuals.”—Victor Davis Hanson, Senior Fellow, the Hoover Institution, author of Carnage and Culture and The Savior Generals
“Moment of Battle is a more than worthy successor to Sir Edward Creasey’s classic, The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World. It has extraordinary value because it accomplishes three things unusually well: It has a necessarily largely tactical (and operational) organizing idea and focus that is executed superbly; it is written with a strategic sense that is ever alert to the vital strategist’s question ‘So what?’; and it is accessibly written. It is a really good read.”
—Professor Colin S. Gray, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Reading
“From Marathon to the Iraq War, Moment of Battle offers an unflinching account of the reality of conflicts that have shaped human history. Its wise and crisp chapters make ancient history fresh and put current events in perspective. This is a book for every student of military history to read and learn from.”
—Barry Strauss, author of Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and the Genius of Leadership
“At last, two eminent military historians have explained how the world’s most critical battles affected the course of civilization. Moment of Battle is a fresh, lively, and remarkable explanation about how the power of armies has shaped history.”
—Bing West, co-author of Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War
“Undeniably successful . . . Literate narratives and balanced conclusions should attract a deservedly large readership.”
“Will open interesting doors for casual readers and provide plenty of debate fodder for military-history buffs.”
“Engaging, well written, and thoroughly researched, this book will appeal to amateur and professional historians alike.”