Pen & Sword Books

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Battle - Understanding Conflict from Hastings to Helmand

Battle - Understanding Conflict from Hastings to Helmand written by Graeme

Callister & Rachael Whitbread published by Pen & Sword Books - £25 -

Hardback - Pages 288

What are the critical factors that determine the outcome of battles? Which is more decisive in a

clash of arms: armies or the societies they represent? How important is the leadership of the

commanders, the terrain over which the armies fight, the weapons they use and the supplies

they depend on? And what about the rules of war and the strategic thinking and tactics of the

time? These are among the questions Graeme Callister and Rachael Whitbread seek to answer

as they demonstrate the breadth of factors that need to be taken into account to truly understand


Their book traces the evolution of warfare over time, exploring the changing influence of the social, political, technological and physical landscape on the field of battle itself. They examine how the motivation of the combatants and their methods of fighting have changed, and they illustrate their conclusions with vivid, carefully chosen examples from across a range of Western European military history, including the Norman Conquest, the Hundred Years War, the Wars of Religion, the Napoleonic Wars and the world wars, and beyond.

By exploring the wide range of interconnected factors that influence the results of battles, the authors broaden the study of this aspect of military history from a narrow focus on isolated episodes of conflict. Their original and thought-provoking writing will be fascinating reading for all students of warfare.

This is a very fascinating book indeed that looks at warfare and the reasons why we have

warfare from 1066 right up to modern-day warfare. Each chapter in this book looks are

various battles and explains one of the most prominent reasons for that battle or why it

was fought. For example, just from the first three chapters, cover Society, Grand Strategy

and Leadership and how these all played a major part in particular battles. We also have

chapters on Landscapes, Tactics and Logistics to name a few more. Some of the reasons

are explained and open up new aspects to various battles that some might not have

thought about before, but they also explain a good number of other factors. I must admit

that I really enjoyed this book and it made for a really fascinating read. It reminded me of

books on military history at university where the answers aren’t always clear to see on the

surface, certainly a book for those that like to think more deeply into the subject of military

history. I would like to see another similar book like this, looking at a wider number of

battles or maybe battles involving fighting in the air or on sea. An excellent book. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Battle of Reichswald - Rhineland - February 1945

The Battle of the Reichswald Rhineland - February 1945 written by Tim Saunders and published by Pen & Sword Books - £22 - Hardback - Pag...