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Moment of Battle

The Twenty Clashes That Changed the World

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Hardcover published by Bantam (Random House Publishing Group)

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About This Book
Two modern masters of military history make their case for the twenty most pivotal battles of all time, in a riveting trip through the ages to those moments when the fate of the world hung in the balance.
 
In the grand tradition of Edward Creasy’s classic Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World, James Lacey and Williamson Murray spotlight only those engagements that changed the course of civilization. In gripping narrative accounts they bring these conflicts and eras to vivid life, detailing the cultural imperatives that led inexorably to the battlefield, the experiences of the common soldiers who fought and died, and the legendary commanders and statesmen who matched wits, will, and nerve for the highest possible stakes.
 
From the great clashes of antiquity to the high-tech wars of the twenty-first century, here are the stories of the twenty most consequential battles ever fought, including
 
• Marathon, where Greece’s “greatest generation” repelled Persian forces three times their numbers—and saved Western civilization in its infancy
• Adrianople, the death blow to a disintegrating Roman Empire
• Trafalgar, the epic naval victory that cemented a century of British supremacy over the globe
• Saratoga, the first truly American victory, won by united colonial militias, which ensured the ultimate triumph of the Revolution
• Midway, the ferocious World War II sea battle that broke the back of the Japanese navy
• Dien Bien Phu, the climactic confrontation between French imperial troops and Viet Minh rebels that led to American intervention in Vietnam and marked the rise of a new era of insurgent warfare
• Operation Peach, the perilous 2003 mission to secure a vital bridge over the Euphrates River that would open the way to Baghdad
 
Historians and armchair generals will argue forever about which battles have had the most direct impact on history. But there can be no doubt that these twenty are among those that set mankind on new trajectories. Each of these epochal campaigns is examined in its full historical, strategic, and tactical context—complete with edge-of-your-seat you-are-there battle re-creations. With an eye for the small detail as well as the bigger picture, Lacey and Murray identify the elements that bind these battles together: the key decisions, critical mistakes, and moments of crisis on which the fates of entire civilizations depended.
 
Some battles merely leave a field littered with the bodies of the fallen. Others transform the map of the entire world. Moment of Battle is history written with the immediacy of today’s news, a magisterial tour d’horizon that refreshes our understanding of those essential turning points where the future was decided.

A MAIN SELECTION OF THE HISTORY BOOK CLUB AND THE MILITARY BOOK CLUB
 
“Two world-class historians present, eloquently and persuasively, twenty battles that fundamentally changed the course of history. Moment of Battle is a must acquisition for anyone seeking to understand the nature of human development—and its turning points.”—Dennis E. Showalter, professor of history, Colorado College, author of Armor and Blood
 
“In a single volume, James Lacey and Williamson Murray have distilled a lifetime of learning and insight into the most influential battles in world history. This is a readable and compelling primer and a feast for the student of military history.”—James D. Hornfischer, author of Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal
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Two modern masters of military history make their case for the twenty most pivotal battles of all time, in a riveting trip through the ages to those moments when the fate of the world hung in the balance.
 
In the grand tradition of Edward Creasy’s classic Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World, James Lacey and Williamson Murray spotlight only those engagements that changed the course of civilization. In gripping narrative accounts they bring these conflicts and eras to vivid life, detailing the cultural imperatives that led inexorably to the battlefield, the experiences of the common soldiers who fought and died, and the legendary commanders and statesmen who matched wits, will, and nerve for the highest possible stakes.
 
From the great clashes of antiquity to the high-tech wars of the twenty-first century, here are the stories of the twenty most consequential battles ever fought, including
 
• Marathon, where Greece’s “greatest generation” repelled Persian forces three times their numbers—and saved Western civilization in its infancy
• Adrianople, the death blow to a disintegrating Roman Empire
• Trafalgar, the epic naval victory that cemented a century of British supremacy over the globe
• Saratoga, the first truly American victory, won by united colonial militias, which ensured the ultimate triumph of the Revolution
• Midway, the ferocious World War II sea battle that broke the back of the Japanese navy
• Dien Bien Phu, the climactic confrontation between French imperial troops and Viet Minh rebels that led to American intervention in Vietnam and marked the rise of a new era of insurgent warfare
• Operation Peach, the perilous 2003 mission to secure a vital bridge over the Euphrates River that would open the way to Baghdad
 
Historians and armchair generals will argue forever about which battles have had the most direct impact on history. But there can be no doubt that these twenty are among those that set mankind on new trajectories. Each of these epochal campaigns is examined in its full historical, strategic, and tactical context—complete with edge-of-your-seat you-are-there battle re-creations. With an eye for the small detail as well as the bigger picture, Lacey and Murray identify the elements that bind these battles together: the key decisions, critical mistakes, and moments of crisis on which the fates of entire civilizations depended.
 
Some battles merely leave a field littered with the bodies of the fallen. Others transform the map of the entire world. Moment of Battle is history written with the immediacy of today’s news, a magisterial tour d’horizon that refreshes our understanding of those essential turning points where the future was decided.

A MAIN SELECTION OF THE HISTORY BOOK CLUB AND THE MILITARY BOOK CLUB
 
“Two world-class historians present, eloquently and persuasively, twenty battles that fundamentally changed the course of history. Moment of Battle is a must acquisition for anyone seeking to understand the nature of human development—and its turning points.”—Dennis E. Showalter, professor of history, Colorado College, author of Armor and Blood
 
“In a single volume, James Lacey and Williamson Murray have distilled a lifetime of learning and insight into the most influential battles in world history. This is a readable and compelling primer and a feast for the student of military history.”—James D. Hornfischer, author of Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal
Product Details
Hardcover (496 pages)
Published: May 21, 2013
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Bantam
ISBN: 9780345526977
Other books byJim Lacey
  • Pershing

    Pershing
    This persuasive biography sheds light on the nation's first modern combat commander who set the standard for today's four-star officers. Though the U.S. entered WWI with inadquate forces, in just over a year Pershing had built and hurled a one million man army against forty battle-hardened German divisions, defending the hellish Meuse-Argonne and turning the tide of the war. With focus and clarity, Lacey traces the development of Pershing from Indian fighter, to warrior against the Philippines insurgency, to victorious commander in WWI.

    The First Clash

    The First Clash
    The Miraculous Greek Victory at Marathon and...
    “A compelling and provocative read . . . With a soldier’s eye, Jim Lacey re-creates the battle of Marathon in all its brutal simplicity.”—Barry Strauss, author of Masters of Command   Marathon—one of history’s most pivotal battles. Its name evokes images of almost superhuman courage, endurance, and fighting spirit. In this eye-opening book, military analyst James Lacey takes a fresh look at Marathon and reveals why the battle happened, how it was fought, and whether, in fact, it saved Western civilization. Lacey brilliantly reconstructs the world of the fifth century B.C. leading up to the astonishing military defeat of the Persian Empire by the vastly undermanned Greek defenders. With the kind of vivid detail that characterizes the best modern war reportage, he shows how the heavily armed Persian army was shocked and demoralized by the relentless assault of the Athenian phalanx. He reveals the fascinating aftermath of Marathon, how its fighters became the equivalent of our “Greatest Generation,” and challenges the legacy and lessons that have often been misunderstood—perhaps, now more than ever, at our own peril.   Immediate, visceral, and full of new analyses that defy decades of conventional wisdom, The First Clash is a superb interpretation of a conflict that indeed made the world safe for Aristotle, Plato, and our own modern democracy.   “With a fresh eye to tactics, strategy, and military organization, and with his text grounded in direct experience of the troops on the battlefield, James Lacey gives us not only new understanding of how the Athenians managed to win but also a greater appreciation of the beginning of a long tradition of Western military dynamism that we take for granted today.”—Victor Davis Hanson, author of Carnage and Culture   “Lacey’s swords-and-shields approach will absorb readers ever fascinated by the famous battles of antiquity.”—Booklist   “A lively and rewarding read.”—Charleston Post and Courier   “Exemplary . . . Lacey, a veteran of the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions and a professor at the Marine War College, brings to the tale of Marathon the practical experiences of the combat soldier and an intellectual sensibility.”—The New Criterion

    Keep from All Thoughtful Men

    Keep from All Thoughtful Men
    How U. S. Economists Won World War II
    This ground-breaking work overturns accepted historical dogma on how World War II strategy was planned and implemented. Refuting the long-accepted notion that the avalanche of munitions which poured forth from American factories defeated the Axis powers, it examines exactly how this miracle of production was organized and integrated into Allied strategy and operations. In doing so, it is the first book to show how revolutions in statistics and finance forever changed the nature of war, overturning three millennia of the making of grand strategy. Jim Lacey argues that manpower and the capacity to produce more munitions gave out long before the money did. While the book relates the overall story of how economics dictated war planning at the highest levels, more specifically it tells how three obscure economists came to have more influence on the conduct of the war than the Joint Chiefs. Lacey further contends that the nation s basic strategy, known as the Victory Plan, had nothing to do with Gen. Albert Wedemeyer, despite the general s widely accepted claims that he formulated the plan. The author also is the first to correct to a long-standing fallacy that Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Marshall went to the Casablanca conference determined to push hard for a 1943 invasion of Northern Europe. A check of the conference minutes proved that the Army s official history purposely left out important information or misquoted the principals, according to Lacey, and that the idea of a 1943 invasion had been given up months before. He also makes extensive use of recently uncovered documents and histories written by members of the Joint staff that Lacey discovered misfiled in the National Archives. This first full study of the civil-military fight offers an entirely new perspective of World War II.

    The Canons of Jihad

    The Canons of Jihad
    Terrorists' Strategy for Defeating America
    "Since the 9/11 attacks, scholars have struggled to help Westerners understand what motivates the jihadi movement. Noting that the best way to understand jihadists is to ignore statements they release to the West in favor of examining what they say to each other, Jim Lacey provides a definitive collection of the writings that intellectually underpins the jihadi movement. Rather than guessing about terrorist motivations from a Western perspective, readers are offered essays - including those by the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hasan al-Banna, and a leading early member, Sayeed Qutb - that define the movement through the eyes of the terrorists themselves. As jihadist cadres begin to rebuild, Lacey notes that they are turning once again to their original thinkers to justify their actions."--BOOK JACKET.

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