History's Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They Teach : The Great Courses: Military

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Gregory S. Aldrete, PhD
  • Series: The Great Courses: Military
  • 12 hrs and 12 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Military history often highlights successes and suggests a sense of inevitability about victory, but there is so much that can be gleaned from considering failures. Study these crucibles of history to gain a better understanding of why a civilization took - or didn't take - a particular path. Full of dramatic reversals of fortune and colorful characters, this course examines some of the world's most notable examples of military misfortune, from the humiliating destruction of a Roman army at Carrhae in 53 BC to the tragic landings at Gallipoli in World War I. Success and failure, as you'll learn, are two sides of the same coin.
These 24 lectures reveal how the trajectory of history hangs in the balance of individual battles; even a single person's actions in a particular moment have made drastic and irreversible impacts. From ancient Greece through global war during the first half of the 20th century, you'll delve into infamous conflicts such as the Charge of the Light Brigade and the Battle of Little Bighorn as well as lesser-known battles.
How could an army equipped with cannon be wiped out by Zulu warriors wielding spears and outdated firearms? How could armored French knights be vulnerable to the crude weapons of a band of Flemish shopkeepers? Why would a savvy Chinese general fall victim to a tactic he had previously used himself? Unpredictable twists of fate abound, demonstrating that when it comes to war, there are no givens. Sheer numbers, superior weaponry, and skilled leadership are never a guarantee of success.
Take a fascinating journey through some of the most gloriously inglorious wartime encounters. Along the way, you'll get to know some of the most legendary characters in world history.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Hindsight Bias?

The professor does an outstanding presentation of his material.

I have to wonder, though, whether many of these blunders are hindsight bias. For example, we only distinguish rashness from boldness when the endeavor succeeds or fails; there may be no way to determine which description applies beforehand.

Many of the behaviors that the professor describes also precede great successes as well as failures, and it's only when failure occurs that they look stupid. The problem is that we don't keep data on stupidity followed by success, which makes it look artificially easy to determine when you're screwing up.
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- Charles Grayson

Awesome as Aldrete's usual !!!

After listening to "Decisive battles" from the same author, I knew I had to listen to this title as well.

If you want to learn college-level history, With the ease of just curling up with a good book that is beautifully narrated this is the course for you.
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- Michael

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-25-2015
  • Publisher: The Great Courses