Masters of the Battlefield Hardcover – 6 Aug 2007
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Written by one of Britain's most successful living battlefield commanders, "Masters of the Battlefield" examines the lives and tactics of 30 of the world's greatest military leaders. Arranged chronologically, each general is represented by a colour-illustrated double-page spread containing a biography, a campaign map and a specially commissioned, large-format, full-colour battle map of his most famous victory, which can be pulled out and unfolded to reveal the individual genius of each commander. Bringing to life the victorious exploits of history's most famous military leaders, this book will appeal to military history enthusiasts and amateur psychologists alike.
About the Author
Major General Julian Thompson CB OBE served with the Royal Marines for 34 years and is now a visiting professor in War Studies at King's College London. As well as Masters of the Battlefield he is author of The Imperial War Museum's 1916 and Victory in Europe Experiences.
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On the downside, this book won't provide you with a detailed biography on each commander, and nor does it go into any great written detail about any single commander's greatest battles.
However this books wins in so many other ways. The overview of each individual, from Julius Caesar, through Hannibal, via Rommel, to Norman Schwarzkopf (to name a few), is superb. You really get a feel for where these people came from and how they rose to become masters of the battlefield. I was particularly surprised at how objectively the work had been pulled together, as it celebrates the command skills of those whom we might traditionally look upon as both friend and foe.
Each page is well thought through, with punchy text, bright, clear graphics - most of which is contemporary artwork - and break-out boxes containing further interesting information. Above all - the pièce de résistance - are the pull-out, folded battle maps. Fantastic!! Each map covers troop movements and engagement plans for a famous and challenging battle, one for each commander. Frankly, they make the book - it is a more interactive, more engaging and tactile work as a result of their inclusion.
This is a very good effort. Its a beastie of a coffee table book, sort of "pop-up" for grown-ups with a military history interest. I must admit, I thought it was worth every single penny.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The maps included of a battle from each Generals Career bring it to life in the readers imagination literally seeing the battle unfold on the paper in front of you.
Overall this is a very good book for what it includes but suffers a bit for not including more.