The Shape of Battle: The Art of War from the Battle of Hastings to D-Day

Pegasus. Aug. 2022. 400p. ISBN 9781639361939. $29.95. MILITARY HISTORY
Mallinson (Too Important for the Generals) examines six engagements, including the infamous Battle of Hastings in 1066, Towton during the Wars of the Roses in 1461, Napoleon’s final defeat at Waterloo in 1815, the Sword Beach portion of the D-Day landings in 1944, the Battle of Imjin River during the Korean War in 1951, and Operation Panther’s Claw in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province in 2009. Astute readers will observe that all of these events primarily involved British forces. Each part contains an introductory segment about that particular conflict, a few chapters describing the sequence of events, and a postscript that illustrates the encounter’s significance. A number of helpful maps accompany the text. Most pages have some footnotes with a citation or two, but there is no bibliography. There is, however, a rather thorough index. The book is primarily a small collection of loosely connected individual battle histories to which the author has some personal ties. The work ultimately seems a missed opportunity to better explain British military culture.
VERDICT Lacking any real insight or overarching theme, this book is recommended only for devotees of British military history.
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