Moment of Battle – The Twenty Clashes That Changed the World
Moment of Battle is a very insightful and contemporary read that takes us into the midst of the most-critical military encounters of our recent history. The author also discusses the possibilities of alternate outcomes and how these encounters could have shaped our world. The battles that are chosen are selected on the fact that they have a critical say in our history.
The book is written in such a way that military tactics and causes of war are seldom discussed. It is the implications that are of interest to the writers. Mr. Lacey and Mr. Murray quotes several examples throughout the text, and the readers would find it hard to argue with these choices. The authors believe the Battle of Hastings between the Norman-French army and the English army is an important turning point in the recent European history. Similarly, it is written that if not for a Greek victory against the Persians at Marathon, the Greek Empire might have collapsed there and then.
There are several obscure choices made by the authors as well. A great example would be the victory of the Muslims at Yarmuk against the Byzantine Empire, where Muslim women showed exceptional chivalry by charging on the opposing party. George F. Nafziger writes in his book (Islam at War) that if Heraclius’s forces had prevailed against those of Khalid Ibn al-Walid, the aftermath of the war would have been completely different. This war opened the doors of Syria to the expanding Islamic Empire. The Battle of Breitenfeld 1631 is another such example that has a significant impact on our modern history. The tactical disciple and methodology employed by the Swedes paved way to the modern warfare philosophy.
Several examples are put forward by the authors which highlight the fact that a good general and a sound strategy have often proved to be the deciding factor in wars. Mr. Lacey and Mr. Murray also discusses some important and controversial decisions made during wartime. These decisions are dissected and studied in great detail, and the consequences are explained. More often than naught, it is these decisions and maneuvers that have often turned the tide of war. For example, the Battle of Britain is referred to in the text. The authors have criticized the many decisions made by the generals and especially the one by the Germans to stop the bombing of airfields. This provided an opportunity to the British Royal Air Force to carry out effective air strikes and eventually turn the odds in their favor.
The final chapters of the book focus on the most-recent events like the American-Iraqi War of 2003. The authors put forward their analyses and point of view for the reader. Moment of Battle is a very informative and interesting read for both, casual readers as well as students of history and political science. The book provides a host of topics for the historians to debate on and share their views with one another.
Remember, it is important to know your history and learn from it because history has a habit of repeating itself if forgotten.
If you want the book in hardcover – Deckle Edge