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
0340819774
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.

z
zipread
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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