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I had thought I knew a lot about the First World War. Until I read this book. Then I discovered a yawning gap in knowledge and understanding.
During the second half of the 17th century, France underwent a military transformation of such magnitude that in the space of a generation it overturned the supremacy of Spain to become the pre-eminent power in Europe.
The First World War created new experiences of pain and suffering, and had profound consequences for the shape of wars to come. But in one respect the Great War of 1914-1918 was curiously old-fashioned and traditional – and that was in the realms of spirituality, superstition, and religious faith.
How important are ‘decisive battles’ in the history of war? This is the central question addressed by Cathal Nolan in this magisterial survey of more than 2,000 years of military history.
There can be little doubt that the export of opium from India to China by, among others, the Honourable East India Company is hard to condone. Indeed, Mark Simner makes the point that the trade was always kept quiet in Britain and, to a lesser extent, China.
Hermann Balch has been described as the ‘greatest German general no one ever heard of’. Stephen Robinson, a graduate of the Australian Command and Staff College, has attempted to address this paradox, but with only partial success.
Neil Faulkner reviews this compelling biography of Klaus Fuchs, a brilliant academic physicist and refugee from Nazi Germany, who has been described as both ‘the spy of the century’ and ‘the most dangerous spy in history’.
By the time the Viet Cong flag was being raised across Saigon on 30 April 1975, the United States had spent the best part of 30 years conducting a programme of sustained financial, political, and military assaults against Vietnam in order to prevent the country from becoming a Communist state.
The truth is that the Normandy Campaign was a vast enterprise, of engineering, logistics, strategy, and planning, but it was also, once under way, driven by events that could not be foreseen.