The Fighting Man: The Soldier at War : from the Age of Napoleon to the Second World War
This is the story of the fighting man - the soldier, the sailor and latterly the airman - from the age of Napoleon in the late eighteenth century to the dawn of the nuclear age 150 years later at the end of the Second World War. This period in recent history saw huge changes in the size and scale of armed conflict; it was the age of the great technology race, as nations sought to outdo one another in modernisation of weaponry, and to harness national budgets and workforces in the mass production of weapons. The Fighting Man reveals the lifestyles of the men who served and fought for their respective countries, ranging from a sans-culotte in the Revolutionary Wars to an American GI on D-Day. It examines the fighting tactics they adopted, and looks at the rapid and far-reaching technological advances in the weaponry they used. The narrative also considers how war quickly became industrialised, how soldiers became instruments of foreign policy, and how battlefields grew in size, scale and diversity of climate until the world powers finally turned on each other in the blood-soaked mud of Flanders fields during the First World War. It ends with the mechanisation of weapons and nations in the Second World War, which claimed the lives of tens of millions of combatants and civilians. By then the rise of air power had eroded the notion of the fighting man. Everyone - whether soldier or civilian - was now within reach of enemy bombs and guns. What was once the relatively safe home front became the extended frontline.
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