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Battle (Hardback)

Understanding Conflict from Hastings to Helmand

Military > Post-WWII Warfare > Afghanistan War Military > Pre-WWI > Napoleonic P&S History > Medieval World > Medieval History WWI WWII

By Dr Graeme Callister, Dr Rachael Whitbread
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 288
Illustrations: 20 mono
ISBN: 9781399080989
Published: 16th September 2022


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What are the critical factors that determine the outcome of battles? Which is more decisive in a clash of arms: armies or the societies they represent? How important is the leadership of the commanders, the terrain over which the armies fight, the weapons they use and the supplies they depend on? And what about the rules of war and the strategic thinking and tactics of the time? These are among the questions Graeme Callister and Rachael Whitbread seek to answer as they demonstrate the breadth of factors that need to be taken into account to truly understand battle.

Their book traces the evolution of warfare over time, exploring the changing influence of the social, political, technological and physical landscape on the field of battle itself. They examine how the motivation of the combatants and their methods of fighting have changed, and they illustrate their conclusions with vivid, carefully chosen examples from across a range of Western European military history, including the Norman Conquest, the Hundred Years War, the Wars of Religion, the Napoleonic Wars and the world wars, and beyond.

By exploring the wide range of interconnected factors that influence the results of battles, the authors broaden the study of this aspect of military history from a narrow focus on isolated episodes of conflict. Their original and thought-provoking writing will be fascinating reading for all students of warfare.

As featured in the podcast episode:



Generals and Napoleon Podcast

I like the way in which the book is broken down into different sections, battles and campaigns. This gives the reader a snapshot on these battles and campaigns, and - in turn - provides an incentive to go and read up further more on them. A very useful 'Further Reading' section lists key text to read, right from General Works, Medieval, Early Modern, and Modern. Within this are many key names to seek out, from the likes of Richard Holmes, Michael Glover, Max Hastings, and Michael Howard.

Jon Sandison

All in all the book does succeed in bringing more structure and a greater breadth to the study
of battle. What's more, despite the complexity of the subject, the book is an engaging and
easy read. The examples are mainly drawn from European history and there is probably room
for a deeper analysis of the role played by political, religious and racial bigotry in inculcating
armies with a degree of fanaticism. However, notwithstanding these relatively minor points,
the book achieves its aims admirably and would be an excellent starting point for anyone
considering the study of military history or, indeed, for the layman who is intrigued about how
battles are won. Recommended.

Read the Full Review Here

Phil Curme

The aim of the book is to aid in the understanding of battles and in this it succeeds very well indeed.
We highly recommend this book to anyone wishing to understand battles of any place or period.

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Clash of Steel

An excellent book.

Read the Full Review Here

The History Fella

4 out of 5

'Readers will find much that is stimulating'

Read the Full Review Here

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

As featured in

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About Dr Graeme Callister

Dr Graeme Callister is a Senior Lecturer in History and War Studies at York St John University, with extensive experience of researching and teaching the history of warfare. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He received his PhD in History from the University of York, and his first book, War, Public Opinion and Policy, was published in 2017. His most recent work has been on the British campaign in the Low Countries in 1793-5 and on conscription in Napoleonic France.

About Dr Rachael Whitbread

Dr Rachael Whitbread has a PhD in History from the University of York. Her thesis focused on warfare and formal combat in late-medieval Western Europe and she has produced several papers on the subject. She has considerable experience as a secondary school history teacher, having previously taught history at undergraduate and MA level. Her MLitt from the University of St Andrews included a dissertation exploring chivalry and warfare in the reigns of Henry IV and Henry V.

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