How Great Generals Win Paperback – 17 Jun 2002
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About the Author
Bevin Alexander is the author of How Great Generals Win, Lost Victories, and Inside the Nazi War Machine. He lives in Bremo Bluff, Virginia.
Top customer reviews
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 defeated solely by blockade. To imagine that Allenby's campaigns in Palestine, no matter how politically convenient they were, did much to defeat Germany (Germany propped up Turkey, not the other way round) is fanciful. Given modern technology, the size of the forces involved, and the lack of any tactical advantage (although by 1918 both sides had mastered the art of breaking the deadlock through more concentrated artillery fire, a fact of which he seems unaware), hard grinding and massive casualties on the Wesern Front were pretty much inevitable.
It's interesting that in WW2 he concentrates on Rommel - and omits to mention that the Soviets were doing most of the land fighting at the time. They made the WW1 Western Front look like a picnic.
In Korea, it is at least arguable that the North Korean forces were already being worsted down at Pusan, and MacArthur's landing at Inchon, although spectacular on the map, didn't really achieve a great deal. Fighting the Chinese a year later, Van Fleet didn't have the same leeway as MacArthur for such theatrics.
Although it is always preferable to win by cunning and thus save lives, fighting wars does regrettably involve taking casualties, and often lots of them. It does nobody any good to refuse to face up to this.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
achieving such success it even made Hitler nervous. MacArthur went against all the common wisdom and invdade Korea at Inchon, slashing through the overextended North Korean supply lines to cut off their frontline troops at the Pusan Perimeter.
Napoleon in his early years specialized in another approach: maneuvering around to attack at the rear.
Sherman followed another strategy in advancing from Atlanta, sending out several columns, each threatening more than one city, then struck unexpectedly at an undefended target.
These and other strategies and how they have been used by military leaders from Genghis Khan to Mao to Rommel to Allenby are examined in this very interesting book and summarized in a helpful final chapter.
Second, the content itself is quite scant. Despite having "Great Generals" in the title it fails to mention two of the greatest commanders in history, Gustavus Adolphus (founder of the modern army system) and Friedrich II "the Great". It skips right from Mongols to Napoleon. No mention of Crecy, Agincourt, Orleans; the wars of the Ottomans; Capture of Constantinople; Siege of Vienna; Turenne, Eugene of Savoy, Jan Sobieski; etc etc etc
A scant book that isn't worth buying because all the info is basic and could be found by reading a wikipedia article on the battle.
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