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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.
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By Glenn Anthony on 07-06-18
A book to break the hearts of those who love war.
“The more one studies war, the more one comes to hate war.” That is the theme, and while there is the very occasional detail which I can dispute, the overall point is made perhaps beyond rational dispute. Well done, and kudos to the narrator as well!