Gods of War: History’s Greatest Military Rivals

Bantam. May 2020. 416p. ISBN 9780345547552. $32. HIST
The legendary exploits of history’s greatest military leaders have traveled down through time, often taking on a life of their own. In this series of comparative biographies, Lacey (War, Policy, & Strategy, Marine Corps War Coll.; The Washington War) and Murray (emeritus, history, Ohio State Univ.; The Savage War) examine what they describe as a “rare commodity,” military genius. In a series of short biographies, the lives of history’s greatest military rivals and the battles they fought are examined. The careers of Hannibal and Scipio, Caesar and Pompey, Richard I and Saladin, Napoleon and the 1st Duke of Wellington, Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee, and Erwin Rommel, Bernard Montgomery, and George S. Patton are told in clear and vivid prose. The battles, tactics, and decisions that form the core of this book are told in a way that nonspecialists will understand and enjoy. The changing face of war is explored as battles of the ancient era lost their importance, and the ability of industrialized countries to field large armies became more important.
VERDICT Readers interested in military history and the lives of some of history’s noteworthy generals will enjoy the range and scope of this book.

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