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military history
The Hinge Factor: How Change and Stupidity Have Changed History
 
 
Author
Erik Durschmied.
Publisher Arcade  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 8.25 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches
ISBN 9781611453218
Pages/Publication Date 394/2011
Daedalus Item Code 22404
This item is not available.
Description
From the wooden horse at Troy to the famous photograph of a Vietcong fighter being executed in Vietnam, from Robert E. Lee's lost battle plans to the evacuation of Dunkirk in World War II, world history has been shaped as much by chance and error as by courage and heroism, argues military historian and war correspondent Erik Durschmied. In a series of gripping narratives he analyzes 17 historical episodes in which, against the odds, supposedly invincible forces fell to weaker opponents because of an overlooked, unpredictable, or seemingly insignificant factor.

"The author's style is light, sometimes whimsical, as he describes the play, and players, of the battles. His stories carry the reader from the Trojan War in 1184 B.C. up to the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Although he shows great sympathy for most of the combatants, he is very blunt in his castigation of many of the military leaders who, through ambition, shortsightedness, or simple stupidity, cost the lives of thousands of their followers. The work will be enjoyed by students of war strategy and of human folly."Booklist

"Durschmied makes a good case that a swarm of angry bees decided the outcome of a key battle between British and German forces in German East Africa in 1914. Similarly, he shows how weather, which has bedeviled field commanders throughout the ages, played a decisive role in the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. The author concludes each chapter with a series of provocative questions designed to draw armchair strategists into a spirited game of 'What-if?'"Publishers Weekly

 
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