Academic journal article Military Review

The Soul of Battle: From Ancient Times to the Present Day, How Three Great Liberators Vanquished Tyranny

Academic journal article Military Review

The Soul of Battle: From Ancient Times to the Present Day, How Three Great Liberators Vanquished Tyranny

Article excerpt

THE SOUL OF BATTLE: From Ancient Times to the Present Day, How Three Great Liberators Vanquished Tyranny, Victor Davis Hanson, The Free Press, NY, 1999, 412 pages, $30.00.

Whether discussing the armies and the leadership styles of Epaminondas of Thebes or US Generals William Tecumseh Sherman and George S. Patton, Victor Davis Hanson tells one heck of a good story. Sure, there are lots of great tales about these particular generals and their respective campaigns against slave-holding societies-Sparta, the Confederacy and Nazi Germany, but few historians have told these stories with Hanson's verve.

Hanson is an outspoken advocate of his protagonists' actions: "It is a hard thing for contemporary liberalism to envision war as not always evil but as sometimes very necessary-and very necessarily brutal if great evil is to disappear." However, Hanson is so busy making strong statements that he incurs a nearly fatal case of hyperbolic historiography. For example, he states that "Free men ... can make war brutally and lethally beyond the wildest nightmares of the brutal military culture they seek to destroy." Does this mean that Patton's 3d Army was more violent than Germany's Waffen SS or one of Russian dictator Josef Stalin's operational maneuver groups? Does this mean that Sherman's invasion of the Deep South was more ferocious than William Quantrill's forays into Kansas or Nathan Bedford Forrest's raids behind Union lines in Tennessee? …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.