THE SWORD AND THE PEN: A Collection of the World's Greatest Military Writings by Sir Basil Liddell & Adrian Liddell Hart--Eds. Hart

THE SWORD AND THE PEN: A Collection of the World's Greatest Military Writings

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Prepared by Adrian Liddell Hart, this collection of reflections on war is also a son's homage to his father, the late Sir Basil--perhaps the 20th century's most prolific and prominent military historian and theorist of the ""strategy of indirect approach."" The selections which follow the younger Liddell Hart's introductory essay are unfortunately nugatory. Over 80 authors are represented, the majority by no more than one- or two-page excerpts which Will frustrate even the most casual reader. Beginning with the Greeks and Romans, most of the obvious people are included. Among them are Clausewitz, the first exponent of ""total war""; Admiral Mahan, whose writings on naval strategy fired the imagination of Kaiser Wilhelm II; Napoleon and De Gaulle extolling ""genius and inspiration"" and the ""instinct"" of great military leaders; William Howard Russell, the first war correspondent, who covered the Crimea for the London Times; von Schleiffen, whose famous plan for overrunning Europe led to the WW I slaughter on the Western Front. Less predictably there is Jonathan Swift's Conduct of the Allies, which reduced the Duke of Marlborough from a national hero to a national shambles, Stephen Crane, Proust, and Stendhal. But there are also some stunning omissions: Garibaldi, Michael Collins, Ho Chi Mirth, Castro. A dollop of everything--war as aesthetics, logistics, war as hell. The novelists tend to be the most readable since, in the words of Liddell Hart senior, ""Great commanders have mostly been dull writers.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1976
Publisher: T. Y. Crowell