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The Other Face of Battle  By  cover art

The Other Face of Battle

By: Wayne E. Lee,David L. Preston,David Silbey,Anthony E. Carlson
Narrated by: Danny Campbell
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Publisher's Summary

Taking its title from The Face of Battle, John Keegan's canonical book on the nature of warfare, The Other Face of Battle illuminates the American experience of fighting in "irregular" and "intercultural" wars over the centuries. Sometimes known as "forgotten" wars, in part because they lacked triumphant clarity, they are the focus of the book. David Preston, David Silbey, and Anthony Carlson focus on, respectively, the Battle of Monongahela (1755), the Battle of Manila (1898), and the Battle of Makuan, Afghanistan (2020) - conflicts in which American soldiers were forced to engage in "irregular" warfare, confronting an enemy entirely alien to them. This enemy rejected the Western conventions of warfare and defined success and failure - victory and defeat - in entirely different ways.

War is always hell. These wars, however, profoundly undermined any sense of purpose or proportion. Nightmarish and existentially bewildering, they nonetheless characterize how Americans have experienced combat and what its effects have been. They are therefore worth comparing for what they hold in common as well as what they reveal about our attitude toward war itself. The Other Face of Battle reminds us that "irregular" or "asymmetrical" warfare is now not the exception but the rule. Understanding its roots seems more crucial than ever.

©2021 Wayne Lee, David Preston, David Silbey, Anthony Carlson (P)2021 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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Telling Histoy of American Decision Making

I felt that the author's did a great job of pointing how learning from history is complicated and messy. That we have fought battles that should have never been fought and that sometimes how we saw the enemy was the root of either our defeat or made the battle worse that it should have been. Taking a deep perspective on three battles (two of which I had little knowledge of) helped to illustrate the points they wanted to make on a much bigger scale. I would recommend this book to both staff and young officers as an introduction to the decision making process that will encounter throughout their career. Great job gentlemen, this book made me think, broadened my knowledge as a retired Army officer, and made me question some of my previous thoughts about fighting.