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

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Penguin, Jan 27, 1983 - History - 368 pages
108 Reviews
Military historian John Keegan’s groundbreaking analysis of combat and warfare

The Face of Battle is military history from the battlefield: a look at the direct experience of individuals at the "point of maximum danger." Without the myth-making elements of rhetoric and xenophobia, and breaking away from the stylized format of battle descriptions, John Keegan has written what is probably the definitive model for military historians. And in his scrupulous reassessment of three battles representative of three different time periods, he manages to convey what the experience of combat meant for the participants, whether they were facing the arrow cloud at the battle of Agincourt, the musket balls at Waterloo, or the steel rain of the Somme.

“The best military historian of our generation.” –Tom Clancy

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Review: The Face of Battle

User Review  - Goodreads

The author is a great writer and has obviously put a huge amount of thought into the art of war. Read full review

Review: The Face of Battle

User Review  - Goodreads

Keegan was one of the greatest historians and I have read several of his works. But this one was not exactly what I thought it was going to be. It is not a description of tactics and battle plans but ... Read full review


Old Unhappy Faroff Things
Agincourt 25 October 1415
Waterloo 18 June 1815
The Somme 1 July 1916
The Future of Battle

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About the author (1983)

Sir John Desmond Patrick Keegan (1934–2012), was one of the most distinguished contemporary military historians and was for many years the senior lecturer at Sandhurst (the British Royal Military Academy) and the defense editor of the Daily Telegraph (London). Keegan was the author of numerous books including The Face of Battle, The Mask of Command, The Price of Admiralty, Six Armies in Normandy, and The Second World War, and was a fellow at the Royal Society of Literature.

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