Quick Book Review: The Face of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme

I recently wrapped-up The Face of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme by John Keegan in paperback. I didn’t realize this until fairly recently but apparently it’s considered a classic look (the many reviews at Amazon are overwhelmingly positive) at war and military history.

The book is really quite readable at under 350 pages. And it’s essentially broken into three main parts. The beginning is a philosophical look at how we create military history, and the strengths and weaknesses of those approaches. The largest and middle part looks at three famous battles in history. The tail end is again more philosophizing and musings about the future of war. And that “future” is looked at from the perspective of circa 1976, when the book was written.

I found the beginning and end of the book mildly interesting if a bit slow. But the meat of the book  the center that focuses on the battles is outstanding. As you can probably guess from the title, the three battles dissected are:
Agincourt
Waterloo
the Somme

Each one is treated in depth with a fanatical attention to detail. All three battles took place in nearly the same location in Western Europe, under very different circumstances.

If the topic even remotely interests you this is one to pick up. It’s a classic. Below are some links to other reviews of books that readers might enjoy.

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