Decisive Factors in Twenty Great Battles of the World

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9780312033248: Decisive Factors in Twenty Great Battles of the World
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Twenty very different battles are studied in this book, ranging from Zama in 202 BC to Dien Bien Phu in 1954. Each battle is set in its historical background with an outline of the action, and in the final chapter the author offers some general conclusions on the nature of warfare.

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Seymour proposes to provide "insight into the anatomy of victory and defeat." He discusses 20 major battles from Zama to Dien Bien Phu, summarizing the action and then analyzing the factors he believes had a clear effect on the outcome. While the individual accounts are lucid, Seymour offers no convincing reason why he chose these particular battles and not another 20. To the extent that the work has a unifying theme, it is the author's admiration for the indirect approach, which he sees illustrated at, among others, Hastings, Leuthen, and Tannenberg. Seymour also argues for the importance of speed, surprise, and deception. But above all, he insists, battles are lost and won by the courage and resolution of the individuals who fight them. The conclusion is no less valid for being commonplace. While specialists will find nothing new, Seymour's approach makes the book interesting general reading.
- Dennis Showalter, Colorado Coll., Colorado Springs
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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