Top positive review
It remains a classic of military history
on 1 January 2015
A great classic which introduces a completely original possibly revolutionary approach to military history writing .While the orthodox military historians focused on the macrocosm picture of strategy, command and operations our author fascinated by the soldier's experience of war, tackles his subject from below by focusing on the microcosm picture , that of the ordinary men on the ground in the thick of the battle with no physical details spared.Not only he observes but he tries to explain with great psychological acumen the patterns of human conduct with their remarkable diversity, the entire gamut of actions/ reactions of the crowds in the heat of battle and the individual acts of valour and bravery or simply self preservation. By sieving through the diaries and oral recollections that evoke the individual experience of what is it like to be under fire he attempts to probe the nature of leadership, self sacrifice, comradeship under fire, fear and flight, steadfastness and resolution.
This a truly fine achievement giving a gritty and far more gripping realistic account of the simple foot soldier's experience of battle from the medieval archery exchanges to the horrendous trench war of the early twentieth century.