Best Selling Books by John Keegan

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release date: May 16, 2000
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The First World War
The definitive account of the Great War and national bestseller from one of our most eminent military historians, John Keegan.

The First World War created the modern world. A conflict of unprecedented ferocity, it abruptly ended the relative peace and prosperity of the Victorian era, unleashing such demons of the twentieth century as mechanized warfare and mass death. It also helped to usher in the ideas that have shaped our times--modernism in the arts, new approaches to psychology and medicine, radical thoughts about economics and society--and in so doing shattered the faith in rationalism and liberalism that had prevailed in Europe since the Enlightenment. 

The First World War
probes the mystery of how a civilization at the height of its achievement could have propelled itself into such a ruinous conflict and takes us behind the scenes of the negotiations among Europe's crowned heads (all of them related to one another by blood) and ministers, and their doomed efforts to defuse the crisis. Keegan reveals how, by an astonishing failure of diplomacy and communication, a bilateral dispute grew to engulf an entire continent.

But the heart of Keegan's superb narrative is, of course, his analysis of the military conflict. With unequalled authority and insight, he recreates the nightmarish engagements whose names have become legend--Verdun, the Somme and Gallipoli among them--and sheds new light on the strategies and tactics employed, particularly the contributions of geography and technology. No less central to Keegan's account is the human aspect. He acquaints us with the thoughts of the intriguing personalities who oversaw the tragically unnecessary catastrophe--from heads of state like Russia's hapless tsar, Nicholas II, to renowned warmakers such as Haig, Hindenburg and Joffre. But Keegan reserves his most affecting personal sympathy for those whose individual efforts history has not recorded--"the anonymous millions, indistinguishably drab, undifferentially deprived of any scrap of the glories that by tradition made the life of the man-at-arms tolerable."

By the end of the war, three great empires--the Austro-Hungarian, the Russian and the Ottoman--had collapsed. But as Keegan shows, the devastation ex-tended over the entirety of Europe, and still profoundly informs the politics and culture of the continent today. His brilliant, panoramic account of this vast and terrible conflict is destined to take its place among the classics of world history.
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release date: May 03, 2005
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The Second World War
Praised as “the best military historian of our generation” by Tom Clancy, John Keegan reconsiders his masterful study of World War II, The Second World War, with a new foreword

Keegan examines each theater of the war, focusing on five crucial battles and offering new insights into the distinctive methods and motivations of modern warfare. In eloquent, perceptive analyses of the airborne battle of Crete, the carrier battle of Midway, the tank battle of Falaise, the city battle of Berlin, and the amphibious battle of Okinawa, Keegan illuminates the strategic dilemmas faced by the leaders and the consequences of their decisions on the fighting men and the course of the war as a whole. An extraordinary, definitive history, The Second World War will be required reading for generations to come.

"The Second World War merits the acceptance as the standard work that it will surely recieve." -The Washington Post

"If you want to know how it happened, read Keegan's thoughtful and elegant prose." -Los Angeles Times
release date: Jan 27, 1983
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The Face of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme
Master military historian John Keegan’s groundbreaking analysis of combat and warfare

The Face of Battle is military history from the battlefield: a look at the direct experience of individuals at the "point of maximum danger." Without the myth-making elements of rhetoric and xenophobia, and breaking away from the stylized format of battle descriptions, John Keegan has written what is probably the definitive model for military historians. And in his scrupulous reassessment of three battles representative of three different time periods, he manages to convey what the experience of combat meant for the participants, whether they were facing the arrow cloud at the battle of Agincourt, the musket balls at Waterloo, or the steel rain of the Somme.

“The best military historian of our generation.” –Tom Clancy
release date: Oct 04, 1988
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The Mask of Command
John Keegan’s brilliant look at the meaning of leadership

In The Mask of Command, John Keegan asks us to consider questions that are seldom asked: What is the definition of leadership? What makes a great military leader? Why is it that men, indeed sometimes entire nations, follow a single leader, often to victory, but with equal dedication also to defeat?

Dozens of names come to mind...Napoleon, Lee, Charlemagne, Hannibal, Castro, Hussein. From a wide array, Keegan chooses four commanders who profoundly influenced the course of history: Alexander the Great, the Duke of Wellington, Ulysses S. Grant and Adolph Hitler. All powerful leaders, each cast in a different mold, each with diverse results.

“The best military historian of our generation.” –Tom Clancy
 
“A brilliant treatise on the essence of military leadership.” –The Philadelphia Inquirer
 
“Fascinating and enlightening… marked by great intellectual liveliness… Mr. Keegan knows how to bring fighting alive on the page.” –The New York Times






release date: Apr 01, 2009
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The Western Way of War: Infantry Battle in Classical Greece
The Greeks of the classical age invented not only the central idea of Western politics—that the power of state should be guided by a majority of its citizens—but also the central act of Western warfare, the decisive infantry battle. Instead of ambush, skirmish, or combat between individual heroes, the Greeks of the fifth century B.C. devised a ferocious, brief, and destructive head-on clash between armed men of all ages. In this bold, original study, Victor Davis Hanson shows how this brutal enterprise was dedicated to the same outcome as consensual government—an unequivocal, instant resolution to dispute. Linking this new style of fighting to the rise of constitutional government, Hanson raises new issues and questions old assumptions about the history of war. A new preface addresses recent scholarship on Greek warfare.
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release date: Nov 01, 1994
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A History of Warfare
The acclaimed author and preeminent military historian John Keegan examines centuries of human conflict. From primitive man in the bronze age to the end of the cold war in the twentieth century, Keegan shows how armed conflict has been a primary preoccupation throughout the history of civilization and how deeply rooted its practice has become in our cultures. 

"Keegan is at once the most readable and the most original of living military historians . . . A History of Warfare is perhaps the most remarkable study of warfare that has yet been written."--The New York Times Book Review.
release date: May 09, 1986
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Closing the Ring (The Second World War)
The drive to victory between June 1943 and July 1944, as the Allies consolidate their achievements, with enormous difficulty and great divergence of opinion.
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release date: Oct 12, 2004
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Intelligence in War: The value--and limitations--of what the military can learn about the enemy
A masterly look at the value and limitations of intelligence in the conduct of war from the premier military historian of our time, John Keegan.

Intelligence gathering is an immensely complicated and vulnerable endeavor. And it often fails. Until the invention of the telegraph and radio, information often traveled no faster than a horse could ride, yet intelligence helped defeat Napoleon. In the twentieth century, photo analysts didn’t recognize Germany’s V-2 rockets for what they were; on the other hand, intelligence helped lead to victory over the Japanese at Midway. In Intelligence in War, John Keegan illustrates that only when paired with force has military intelligence been an effective tool, as it may one day be in besting al-Qaeda.
release date: Oct 01, 1989
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The Times Atlas of the Second World War
An atlas contains more than eight hundred detailed maps, charts, and commentaries that plot the exact course of the war on the land, sea, and in the air and includes a chronology of events that led to the war.
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release date: Jan 30, 1996
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The Battle For History: Re-fighting World War II
With the same erudition, discernment, and crisp prose that made his A History of Warfare an international bestseller, Keegan surveys the literature of World War II, identifying the works he finds most important and illuminating while examining the sometimes savage controversies raised by two generations of the war's historians.
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