A compelling narrative of 12 military expeditions from 1745 to 1993 in which advanced armies suffered calamitous defeats at the hands of lesser forces. Riveting battle stories include the French and Indian War, the Fall of Khartoum, the Mesopotamian campaign in WWI and the recent debacle in Somalia. Primary source material such as diaries of ...
A compelling narrative of 12 military expeditions from 1745 to 1993 in which advanced armies suffered calamitous defeats at the hands of lesser forces. Riveting battle stories include the French and Indian War, the Fall of Khartoum, the Mesopotamian campaign in WWI and the recent debacle in Somalia. Primary source material such as diaries of soldiers, papers, and memoirs of the generals and contemporary newspaper accounts vividly bring the engagements to life.
Publishers Weekly, 1996-02-26 As the senior political writer for the Wall Street Journal, Perry has seen his share of losers on the campaign trail (including the senator he portrayed in Barry Goldwater). But, apparently hungry for more, he now has gone to war, visiting some of the great military disasters, and the officers who engineered them. Perry's crew is motley but, other than in his conclusion, is limited to British, American, Italian, Spanish and French generals from the mid-1700s until the early 20th century. The conclusion offers a few pages on the U.S. experience in Somalia and closes movingly with the names of the 18 Americans who died there in two days in October 1993. One might wish for a longer study covering more and bigger battles, one that includes clashes like Dien Bien Phu, which drove the French out of Vietnam and set the stage for American involvement there. But the 11 tales Perry tells will have readers shaking their heads. Here is America's Major General William R. Shafter, for instance, decried as "criminally incompetent" by Teddy Roosevelt, guiding troops into a major debacle during the Spanish-American War; and here is Britain's General Edward Braddock marching off during the French and Indian War into Indian-occupied forests with his troops wearing bright red coats and making much noise. These soldiers never bothered to find out the lay of the land and were slaughtered. Braddock's bloody incompetence is typical of Perry's chronicles, which will leave readers sated with confirmation of stupidity in high places. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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