[January 31, 2017] It’s been about 10 weeks since I posted in my Reading List here at theLeaderMaker.com. You’ll find me posting less because people are less interested in finding good books. I blame that partly on my picks and partly on the fact that people are less interested in reading books that are simply too long; short articles on up-to-date tactics, strategy, techniques, and procedures are the “relevant facts” of the day. This is no complaint … just observation. I’m more attracted recently to the same. But I couldn’t pass up a couple of books for Winter reading. Good reading!
100 Decisive Battles: From Ancient Times to the Present, Paul K. Davis, 1999
If there is one thing I like to read, it’s the description of battles fought long ago. The Battle of Gettysburg during the U.S. Civil War was one I’ve read many books on and have walked the battlefield, studied, and talked to historians about. But I still learn new things each time I go there. Davis’ book is like that. He gives us information that is both illuminating and relevant to war and peace today. He puts each battle into context of the times and explains why the battle was important and how it affected the social and political status of those times. If I had one complaint it would be that I cannot get a good understanding of what the commanders on both sides of the battle were thinking that lead them to make their decisions.
Twenty Decisive Battles of the World, Lt. Col. Joseph B. Mitchell and Sir Edward Creasy, 1964 (original by Sir Creasy published in 1851)
Of these two books, Mitchell and Creasy’s book is the one I would chose. But I read both. The reason is that this book gives the space to explore the battles in greater detail and provides the backdrop drawn from a greater variety of resources. Narrowing the choices to 20 instead of a larger number also forces the authors to give a more detailed explanation on why this battle was chosen for the book. For example, author Mitchell chose the Battle of Vicksburg over the Battle of Chancellorsville because the former because it spelled the doom of the Confederacy. Nearly every battle in this book is also in Davis’ book above. I liked this since I read both at the same time and it gave me a chance to see how others look at the same thing. In this book I was better able to get an idea of the thinking of each commander.
Both books are well worth the time to read, especially if you are not familiar with the battles. Otherwise I recommend books on each battle that provides greater background and context.
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