BATTLES LOST AND WON by Hanson W. Baldwin


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Battles Lost and Won, as the subtitle hints, is a compendium of eleven campaigns, ""a cross-section of the world's greatest war--from the Polish campaign, where blitzkrieg was born, to Okinawa, 'the last battle,' where the kamikaze portended the coming menace of the missile."" In treating the battles of Britain,' Stalingrad, and Normandy, among others, Mr. Baldwin is of course re-treading well-covered ground, but his synthesis is of exceptional value in its meticulous documentation of historical material often extremely difficult to record and to interpret. The book excels in wealth of information and in thoughtful interpretation. Despite these virtues, Battles Lost and Won is an almost painfully dull book. The combination of factual outline with tedious prose makes several chapters as readable as the World Almanac. The author's appeal in his preface to the ""general reader"" is at best fanciful, for today's general reader has his Tuchmans, Tolands and Ryans to choose from and can distinguish between encyclopedia articles and the well-written, narrative history. ""Military history is often written and read simply as chronology or factual narrative with little accent on the human drama,"" Mr. Baldwin writes. He must have written this after reading his own book.

Publisher: Harper & Row