The Savior Generals

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, May 14, 2013 - History - 305 pages
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Leading military historian Victor Davis Hanson returns to non-fiction in The Savior Generals, a set of brilliantly executed pocket biographies of five generals who single-handedly saved their nations from defeat in war. War is rarely a predictable enterprise--it is a mess of luck, chance, and incalculable variables. Today's sure winner can easily become tomorrow's doomed loser. Sudden, sharp changes in fortune can reverse the course of war.
These intractable circumstances are sometimes mastered by leaders of genius--asked at the eleventh hour to save a hopeless conflict, created by others, often unpopular with politics and the public. These savior generals often come from outside the established power structure, employ radical strategies, and flame out quickly. Their careers often end in controversy. But their dramatic feats of leadership are vital slices of history--not merely as stirring military narrative, but as lessons on the dynamic nature of consensus, leadership, and destiny.

 

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THE SAVIOR GENERALS: How Five Great Commanders Saved Wars that Were Lost, from Ancient Greece to Iraq

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An instructive series of portraits of five military outsiders called in to turn defeat into victory.Admittedly arbitrary, pro-Western and biased toward fighters of the "good" wars, these ... Read full review

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I'm a huge fan of VDH. Carnage and Culture is a must read for any armchair historian. However, the central thesis of this book is fairly weak and his selection of generals (while self-supporting) does little to advance the core argument. The chapter on Themistocles was somewhat of a rehash of his chapter on Salamis in Carnage and Culture. The chapter on David Petraeus was hard to get thru given the current situation in Iraq and how the US gains there were erased. The chapter on Belisarius was quite good and probably the best part of the book. Overall, not his best effort. Glad I bought in paperback. 

Contents

Saving Lost Wars
1
Chapter One Athens Is Burning
8
Chapter Two Byzantium at the Brink
49
Chapter Three Atlanta Is Ours and Fairly Won
96
Chapter Four One Hundred Days in Korea
140
Chapter Five Iraq Is Lost
190
A Rare Breed
238
Acknowledgments
251
Bibliography
289
Index
297
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About the author (2013)

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. His many books include the acclaimed The Father of Us All, A War Like No Other, The Western Way of War, Carnage and Culture, and Ripples of Battle.

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