Helpful votes received on reviews: 93% (67 of 72)


Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,037,075 - Total Helpful Votes: 67 of 72
The Pity of War by Niall Ferguson
The Pity of War by Niall Ferguson
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
I read this interesting and thought-provoking book when it was first published, and revisited it last weekend when I needed to look up some data. It's spoiled a bit for me by his chapter on tactics and the body count, where a lot of his writing strikes me as suspect in detail.

He lists as "Excuses" for high Allied casualties the fact that the Germans were mostly defending, difficulties in communications as armies had grown too large to control in the absence of radios, and the "learning curve" as the Allies figured out tactics that would work (less obvious at the time than they seem with hindsight) and built the weight of artillery needed. All of these are true and amongst the… Read more
Bonaparte (Wordsworth Military Library) by Correlli Barnett
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Historians, looking to explain the causes of events and the "genius" of successful men (it's as true in business as in politics or war), often miss the huge role of sheer blind luck in generating the kaleiodoscopic twists and turns of events. Out of all the chancers, thugs and bullies who have been around for the last few millennia, one or two of them ended up spectacularly successful - in Bonaparte's case rising to dominate Europe until 1812, when his luck suddenly ran out in equally spectacular fashion. There is no linear relationship between ability and success.
Correlli Barnett picks up on the aspect of Bonaparte missed by many writers - namely that he was an unpleasant… Read more
How Great Generals Win by Bevin Alexander
How Great Generals Win by Bevin Alexander
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could Have Been Better, 19 Jan 2004
A book I wanted to like, given the interesting material on unusual wars. But the author seems unable to grasp that circumstances do not always allow wars to be won by maneouvre alone.
Napoleon did not lose because he "forgot precepts" - rather the Allies improved and wised up to his tactics (in 1813-14 especially), and the greater size of armies (eg. at Wagram and Borodino) made spectacular victories like Austerlitz, Jena and Friedland much harder to achieve.
Much of what he writes on World War One is simply wrong - the generals did not fight on the Western Front because they had "bloodlust" or lacked "objectivity" or were too dense to think of alternatives, nor were the Germans… Read more