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100 Decisive Battles: From Ancient Times to the Present Hardcover – 1 Jan 1999

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 476 pages
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO (1 Jan. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576070751
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576070758
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.7 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,644,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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What if the Saxons had triumphed over the Normans at the Battle of Hastings? If Washington had lost the Battle of Trenton? If Lee had won at Gettysburg? If the Germans had held the Allies at bay in Normandy? The world would certainly be a very different place today. Key battles have shaped the course of world history since time immmemorial. This reference spotlights 100 of the most important military confrontations from 1469 BC to 1991 AD, offering information on the historical context of the conflict, the countries involved and the their goals. It describes each battle plan, the ensuing confrontation and the victors, plus details of the commanders, the size of their forces and their casualties. The text finally discusses how history was affected by each outcome.

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In the early years of the eighteenth century B.C., the power of Egypt's Middle Kingdom was waning. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Constant Bookworm on 6 Dec. 2000
Format: Paperback
Short and to the point, instructive, though very US-biased. The remarks about the importance of each battle are instructive. The book was too short for me, and has set me off looking for the references.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 22 reviews
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Great concise book. 12 Aug. 2001
By J. H. Yen - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book provides a concise look at Davis's choice of 100 Decisive Battles. To many people 100 battles may seem little, but Davis's choices are by far the most important battles that shaped history. Many historians may argue with his choices but overall the most decisive ones are described in the book with justifiable reasons. One slight flaw to the book is that Davis does not balance geographically the battles. As a result, we have less-important European battles included and more-important Other battles excluded. The format is easy to follow. Davis takes each battle and writes out the chronology of the battle in the following sections: Forces Engaged, Importance, Historical Setting, The Battle and Results. Each battle doesn't take more than 5 pages. Due to its conciseness, some steps of the battle are left out, but Davis conveys his idea of why the battle is important. One small suggestion to the author would be to include more maps and troop movements for many times the location of troops has tremendous impact on the outcome of the battle. Another small suggestion would be to talk more about the strategies employed. Overall, this book is a great introduction to extensive studying of military history.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Interesting, but some limitations 27 Feb. 2003
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Although ostensibly about battles, this book is better read as a snapshot-style history of major wars. The extensive sections on the background and results of the battles provide pretty good accounts of a lot of military campaigns. But Davis's summaries of the actual battles are generally too brief to be informative and the illustrations are poor. In addition, buyers should be aware that the book is primarily a history of Western battles, with a smaller number of battles from other areas added in. Finally, although Davis's writing style is fluid and generally engaging, the book contains a surprising number of grammatical errors that perfectionists may find distracting.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Good context, but little description of battles 7 Mar. 2004
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is book does a good job introducing significant battles in their contexts as well as depicting the effects they had on worked history. This is a great book to read to just get an overview of history and some knowledge of military history. In describing 100 battles, the author was restricted on the space for each individual account. He often makes references to places and towns whose location a casual reader would be hard pressed to find. The lack of quantity and quality of maps is also disappointing. The descriptions of the battles themselves were a little disappoint as well. Over all this is a pretty good account, I would give it 3.5 if I could. The book's strength lies in the context and consequences of the battle, and not the accounts of the battles themselves. It does get a little boring at times, but I still recommend it.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The Best of Both Worlds... 2 Mar. 2009
By David Lloyd - Published on
Format: Paperback
There are basically two types of non-fiction military history books: general and specific. General books might offer an overview of Viet Nam, while a specific book would address the Tet Offensive or tunnel rats.

If you're an avid historian, general books are usually too...well...general! They provide a gloss-over in order to cram the entire subject into the confines of the book. Specific books, on the other hand, can bore you with an overkill of details. They are also limited in their focus to the subject of the book, often not addressing outside contributing factors.

I initially began reading this book because I figured it would be something light I could skim over when I had 10-15 minutes of time here and there. I didn't expect much; after all, if a book trying to cover WWII in it's entirety was too general, how could the author hope to cover 100 different battles, over thousands of years, with any justice?

Davis found just the right combination. The battles are covered concisely, but still offer important details (such as the French's mindset towards warfare...independent barons each seeking their own glory and not having the discipline to unite before attacking...being their downfall at Crece). Even if you're well-read, you will learn from this book. To top it off, the battles are presented in chronological order, so you can see similarities in strategies, intended by the leaders or not.

My only ding on the book is that there are a few battles the author could have omitted for more-decisive ones. But hey, put 100 different historians in a room, and everyone's top 100 would probably be different! Check this book out. It's a great read.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Excellent, Informative Resource 26 Feb. 2005
By Milo and Otis fan - Published on
Format: Paperback
"100 Decisive Battles" provides detailed information about 100 of the most important battles in the history of the world. With an average of 4 or 5 pages per battle, the book not only provides the reader with an excellent resource, but informative, in- depth passages as well. Every entry includes the name and date of the battle, as well as information about the opposing commanders, the size of the forces involved, and casualties. Also, the campaign and historical setting surrounding the battle are analyzed and explained. Many maps, pictures, and 'sidebars' with information about topics related to the battle are included.

Unlike many similar books, "100 Decisive Battles" is unbiased in its account of the battles, and also gives equal coverage to battles in all parts of the world, including regions often given insufficient coverage by other sources, such as the Middle East and Central America.

A table of contents, a preface explaining how the battles are selected, and an easy to use index are included.

Here is a list of all the battles listed in "100 Decisive Battles":

Megiddo, Thymbra, Marathon, Salamis, Leuctra, Syracuse, Chaeronea, Gaugamela, Ipsus, Metaurus River, kai-hsia, Zama, Pydna, Alesia, Pharsalus, Actium, Teutoburg Forest, Beth-horon, Milvian Bridge, Adrianople, Chalons, Tricameron, Badr, Constantinople, Tours, Pavia, Lechfeld, Hastings, Manzikert, Jerusalem, Hattin, Second Battle of Taraori, Bouvines, Ain Jalut, Hsiang-yang, Hakata Bay, Brusa, Crecy, Orleans, Constantinople, Grenada, Tenochtitlan, Panipat, Vienna, Cajamarca, Lepanto, Spanish Armada, Sekigahara, Breitenfeld, Shanhaikuan, Naseby, Battle of the Dunes, Blenheim, Poltava, Culloden, Plassey, Quebec, Trenton, Saratoga, Yorktown, Valmy, Rivoli, Aboukir Bay (Battle of the Nile), Trafalgar, Jena?Auerstadt, Tippecanoe, Borodino, Leipzig, Waterloo, Ayacucho San Jacinto, Mexico City, Antietam (Sharpsburg), Gettysburg, Atlanta, Sedan, Tel el Kebir, Manila Bay, Mukden, Tsushima, First Battle of the Marne, Verdun, Brusilov Offensive, Second Battle of the Marne, Warsaw, Poland, Dunkirk, Battle of Britain, Moscow, Pearl Harbor, Singapore, Midway, Normandy (D-Day), Okinawa, Isreal's War of Independence, Huai Hai (Suchow), Inchon, Dien Bien Phu, Tet Offensive, Desert Storm.

Overall, this book is essential to the library of anyone interested in history or warfare.
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