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The Great Battles: 50 key battles from the Ancient World to the present day [Hardcover]

Giles MacDonogh

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Book Description

25 Nov 2010

Military conflict has had a decisive influence in shaping our world. The Great Battles is a superbly produced introduction to those clashes that have altered the course of history. Each battle is treated to a concise narrative essay, and illustrated throughout with informative and elegant maps showing location, troop movements and topographical details.

Battles covered include: Meggido (1500BC); Thermopylae (480BC); Salamis (480BC) ; Peloponnese campaigns (431-404BC); Chaeronea (338BC); Cannae (216BC); Pharsalus (48BC); Teutoburg Forest (9AD); Sack of Rome (410); Catalaunian Plains (451); Hastings (1066) ; Antioch (1098); Poitiers (1356); Agincourt (1415); Siege of Orleans (1429); Golden Horn (1453); Battle of Nieuport (1600); Lutter am Barenberg (1626); Breitenfeld (1631); Marston Moor (1644); Blenheim (1704); Ramillies (1706); Laufeldt (1747); Plassey (1757); Leuthen (1757); Quebec (1759); Austerlitz (1805); Auerstädt (1808); Borodino (1812); Waterloo (1815); Calatafimi (1860); Shenandoah (1862); Chancellorsville (1863); Gettysburg (1863); Vicksburg (1863); Königrätz (1866); Tel-el-Kebir (1882); Tannenberg (1914); Anzac Cove (1915); Verdun (1916); Nazi invasion of France (1940); Moscow (1941); Singapore (1942); El Alamein (1942); Stalingrad (1942-43); Korsun-Shevchevsky Pocket (1944); D-Day (1944); Philippines (1944); Dien Bien Phu (1954); Sinai (1956).

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More About the Author

Giles MacDonogh is a British writer, historian and translator. His blog may be read on

He has worked as a journalist most notably for the Financial Times (1988 - 2003), where he covered food, drink and a variety of other subjects. He has also contributed to most of the other important British newspapers, and is a regular contributor to the Times. As a historian, MacDonogh concentrates on central Europe, principally Germany.

He was educated at the City of London School and Balliol College, Oxford, where he read modern history. He later carried out historical research at the École pratique des hautes études in Paris.

MacDonogh is the author of fourteen books, chiefly about German history, but also on gastronomy and wine. In 1988 he won a Glenfiddich Special Award for his first book A Palate in Revolution (Robin Clark) and was short listed for the André Simon Award. His books have been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, German, Chinese, Slovakian, Russian, Bulgarian and Polish.

Writing in the Spectator Magazine, Graham Stewart said "Giles MacDonogh has repeatedly shown himself to be in the front rank of British scholars of German history. The depth of his human understanding, the judiciousness of his pickings from source material and the quality of his writing make this book at once gripping and grave. Graham Stewart, playing for high stakes, Spectator Magazine, 15 August 2009.
His latest book is The Great Battles (Quercus 2010).

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From the Inside Flap

The history of the world is largely the history of warfare. The first recorded wars were fought in ancient Sumeria over 5,000 years ago and various conflicts continue to rage in the world we live in today. The Great Battles is a lavish and comprehensive introduction to those clashes that have altered the course of history. Each of the 50 key battles is examined in a lively and thoroughly researched essay and illustrated with detailed and informative maps showing locations, troop movements and battle tactics. Best-selling historian Giles MacDonogh relates the most remarkable stories of courage, survival, tactical genius, military success - and failure - ever recorded across 3,000 years of world history. Many remarkable feats are recounted, from the amazing resistance of King Leonidas' 300 Spartans against the vast invading armies of Persia at Thermopylae, to Hannibal's celebrated defiance of Rome at the head of a cavalry charge at Cannae; from Robert E. Lee's breathtaking defeat of a far larger Union army at Chancellorsville, to Ulysses S. Grant's dazzling blitzkrieg campaign at Vicksburg that dealt a fatal blow to Confederate power. Strategy, equipment and the vicissitudes of battle are also discussed: from the technological superiority that allowed England's archers to triumph at Agincourt, to the strategic blunders that broke Napoleon's Grand Armée at Moscow; and from the costly errors perpetrated at Anzac Cove, to the unparalleled mobilization of D-Day that smashed Nazi power in Europe. Superbly illustrated throughout and written by a scholar who is steeped in knowledge of the history of warfare, The Great Battles is the perfect introduction to the decisive conflicts that have shaped our world. It brings the brutality and intensity of warfare vividly and unforgettably to life.

From the Back Cover

The battles that changed history. Meggido (1456 BC); Thermopylae (480 BC); Salamis (480 BC); Peloponnesian Campaign (431-404 BC); Chaeronea (338 BC); Cannae (216 BC); Pharsalus (48 BC); Teutoburg Forest (AD 9); Sack of Rome (410); Catalaunian Plains (451); Hastings (1066); Antioch (1098); Poitiers (1356); Agincourt (1415); The Siege of Orléans (1429); The Fall of Constantinople (1453); Nieuport (1600); Lutter-am-Barenberg (1626); Breitenfeld (1631); Marston Moor (1644); Blenheim (1704); Ramillies (1706); Laufeldt (1747); Plassey (1757); Leuthen (1757); Quebec (1759); Austerlitz (1805); Auerstädt and Jena (1806); Borodino (1812); Waterloo (1815); Calatafimi (1860); Shenandoah Valley Campaign (1862); Chancellorsville (1863); Gettysburg (1863); Vicksburg (1863); Königgrätz (1866); Tel-el-Kebir (1882); Tannenberg (1914); Anzac Cove (1915-16); Verdun (1916); Fall of France (1940); Moscow (1941); Fall of Singapore (1942); El Alamein (1942); Stalingrad (1942-43); Korsun-Shevchenkovsky Pocket (1944); D-Day (1944); The Philippines (1944); Dien Bien Phu (1954); The Sinai Campaign (1956).

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