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Publisher's Summary

History has tended to measure war's winners and losers in terms of its major engagements, battles in which the result was so clear-cut that they could be considered "decisive". Cannae, Konigsberg, Austerlitz, Midway, Agincourt - all resonate in the literature of war and in our imaginations as tide-turning. But these legendary battles may or may not have determined the final outcome of the wars in which they were fought.
Cathal J. Nolan's The Allure of Battle systematically and engrossingly examines the great battles, tracing what he calls "short-war thinking", the hope that victory might be swift and wars brief. As he proves persuasively, however, such has almost never been the case. Even the major engagements have mainly contributed to victory or defeat by accelerating the erosion of the other side's defenses.
Massive conflicts, the so-called "people's wars", beginning with Napoleon and continuing until 1945, have consisted of and been determined by prolonged stalemate and attrition, industrial wars in which the determining factor has been not military but materiel. Nolan's masterful book places battles squarely and mercilessly within the context of the wider conflict in which they took place. In the process it helps correct a distorted view of battle's role in war.
©2017 Cathal J. Nolan (P)2018 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"This is one of the most valuable military histories in years. A must-read for students of military history." (Kirkus, Starred Review)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By jake on 05-15-18

very good...

but I do not believe some of the conclusions the author came to. it's a detailed look at major recent wars and how they were won.

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4 out of 5 stars
By A. Gina Crocenzi on 05-09-18

Excellent overview but leaves several questions

Good performance but glosses over Hitler (and Napoleon's) near triumphs as criticisms of his thesis.

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