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Book Review

Masters of the Battlefield by Paul K. Davis

  • Paul K. Davis
  • 7 MAY 2013, Oxford University Press1)
  • Kindle Edition

Content, style and merit. Any respectable book review should address these three nuggets. I would suppose that any respectable author should intend on creating a work tailored to these critical areas. After reading ‘’Paul K. Davis’s Master’s of the Battlefield’’,2) I am convinced the author has put in a serious effort to fulfill any reader’s analytical literary criteria.

This title seeks to expand on the author’s earlier work dealing with 100 of the most influential battles in military history. But even more than that, it seeks to delve deep into the strategies and tactics employed by history’s most successful battlefield generals. The author considers the primary importance of the presence of the general to direct and support their assets in the field as the key to overwhelming victory. But not only the mere presence of the general as gravely essential to success, the commander must have the charisma and creativity to marshal his subordinates, even when they are presented with certain defeat.

I found the content of the book to be incredibly complex, but highly digestible. The author’s ability to narrate historical intricacies should be commended. He deals with commentators who diverge from his conclusions while including their insight in his own analysis. He avoids dismissing viewpoints by stating their merits in a number of sections, which only served to increase my admiration for his writing.

As deeply and complex as the minutiae of these famous battles are, the author engages the events in a way that helped me visualize geographical limitations faced by those commanders of the past. The author rightly anticipates the battle maps included at precisely the right points in the story to aid the reader in visualizing what, to me at least, seems like an overwhelming task of relaying precise military movements.

Incredibly rich in historic detail, ‘’Masters of the Battlefield’’ did not fail to fascinate me. Every single commander identified held a single key to success that I have experienced in my military experience: Possessing the admiration and loyalty of the individual Soldier is paramount to success. No general wins without the conviction of his troops in the ability of their leader. There is no rally around the banner of a toxic leader. 3)

I recommend this work to anyone who seeks to gain insight into the principles of leadership. Whether pre-command or in preparation for partnership, leadership intelligence comes down to the relationship of the commander in and throughout their command. Paul K. Davis successfully navigates key battles and identifies the most successful generals to pinpoint the proof of tactical victory.


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