The Face of Battle

  • by John Keegan
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • 11 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In this major and wholly original contribution to military history, John Keegan reverses the usual convention of writing about war in terms of generals and nations in conflict, which tends to leave the common soldier as cipher. Instead, he focuses on what a set battle is like for the man in the thick of it—his fears, his wounds and their treatment, the mechanics of being taken prisoner, the nature of leadership at the most junior level, the role of compulsion in getting men to stand their ground, the intrusions of cruelty and compassion, the din and blood.
Set battles, with their unities of time and place, may be a thing of the past, but this anatomy of what they were like for the men who fought them is an unforgettable mirror held up to human nature.


What the Critics Say

“The most brilliant evocation of military experience in our time.” (C. P. Snow, British novelist and scientist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Why isn't all history written like this?

Keegan successfully attempts to place the reader in amongst the action at Agincourt, Waterloo and the Somme with vividly immersive results. This not only makes for a thoroughly fresh and gripping perspective on familiar events but also also offers fascinating insights into how histories are written. Highly recommended; especially to anyone with an interest in how history makes it onto the page.
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- Jim

excellent historian work

Fantastic recreation of what each of the three battle must have been. John Keegan looks in from as many aspects as possible to give the reader the chance to piece as complete a picture as possible.

Backed by solid research, he zoom in and out of focus by switching from a broad cultural expose of the spirit of the age to the words of the people who actually took part in the events, making this one of the most vivid and interesting work of history I have come across.

Being French myself I couldn't help but notice a recurring theme, two of the three battles being famous french defeat, and the french crowd stands out somehow as a rather aloof bunch in both circumstances... I suppose those battle being so famous, they may be the ones for which most records were kept, and they may also have been the most studied and taught, John Keegan being an instructor at Sandhurst.

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- julien

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-12-2011
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.