Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

500 Great Military Leaders

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

500 Great Military Leaders

Article excerpt

500 Great Military Leaders. Edited by Spencer C. Tucker. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2015. 2 vols. Acid free $189 (ISBN: 978-1-59884-757-4). Ebook available (978-1-59884758-1), call for pricing.

If the title were 500 Important/Noteworthy Military Leaders, that would sound awkward, so instead we have "Great," but listing the important/noteworthy is what Tucker says in his preface he was striving to achieve. That helps explain his selections, many of whom are portrayed as capable men who played significant roles in major wars--perhaps as trainers or planners or theoreticians. Others were outstanding subordinate leaders or "great" within their times and locales.

There just haven't been five hundred Cyruses or Alexanders or Genghis Khans, who could aspire to glory by combining military brilliance, outstanding resources, and absolute political power. Modern military leaders are now almost always directed by civilians, so their opportunity for personal "greatness" in the classical sense is lost.

The latest project from the prolific Tucker comes off as an uninspired response to the unceasing public demand for lists. A third of the entries are from other ABC-CLIO products, but it's commendable that this is noted up front.

The format is similar to that of Trevor Dupuy, Curt Johnson and David L. …

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