The Hinges of Battle

The Hinges of Battle

How Chance and Incompetence Have Changed the Face of History

Book - 2002
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Some battles were decided by genius, but more were decided by a quirk of fate that tipped the scales. The thrust of a spear, the blink of an eye, a single phrase or misinterpreted command is all it takes. Battles have shaped the course of history and decided the fate of mankind. From a brutal Attila the Hun who was defeated on the Catalaunian Fienls, to an overbearing French artillery colonel at Dien Bien Phu; from the stout walls of Constaninople to a skimpy wall at Rourke's Drift; from the sun of Austerlitz to the snows of Stalingrad, it was always an incident that decided the outcome of battle.
Publisher: London : Hodder & Stoughton, c2002.
ISBN: 9780340819777
Branch Call Number: 904. 7 DUR
Characteristics: x, 438 p. : maps


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JeremiahSutherland Mar 23, 2012

For a historical work this book seems a bit facile in its descriptions of battles and the reasons that one side or the other lost.

If you don't take it too seriously, it's an interesting read.

Aug 13, 2010

The Hinges of Battle selects ten battles in history --- Stalingrad; The Fall of Constantinople; the French's fall at Dien Bien Phu --- and recounts in some detail the events as they unrolled in each of them. It examines each to find the lack of judgement; the missing information; the flaw in character; the abject stupidity that led to the results that are seen as turning points in each.

Durschmied uses a popular style with touches of humour that is quite readable.

This quote from the book's dustcover says it well: "There is no shortage of stories when it comes to battles. Some were decided by genius. But many more by a quirk of fate. When that thin balance which separates success from disaster lay in a minor decision or a trivial incident that tipped the scales. To history, such a crucial moment is known as the hinge of battle."

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