To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Couldn't get through the end. It slowly got more and more boring and life is too short to read boring books. Sep 04, Marijan rated it really liked it.
IMHO, the only proper way to read this book is to consider it not only a historical book, but a historical document itself. Even choice of battles never mind the Marathon, or Chalons, which is not that surprising, but there are Athenian expedition to Sicily, Metaurus, Teutoburg forest, Poltava reflects this IMHO, the only proper way to read this book is to consider it not only a historical book, but a historical document itself.
Even choice of battles never mind the Marathon, or Chalons, which is not that surprising, but there are Athenian expedition to Sicily, Metaurus, Teutoburg forest, Poltava reflects this. There is not a single battle fought outside Europe included. And on several occasions author clearly states that it's the European, germanic, and particularly anglo-saxon side that was destined to 'bring forth civilization' to the 'savage and barbaric' parts of the world.
Occasionaly disgusting in its blatant eurocentism, it does have it's shining moments, when gallant foe is appriciated, such as Joann of Arc, or Napoleon and his marshals. A bit dry, but enjoyable reading for someone interested in military history. What I most enjoyed about this book was just how gloriously unfashionable it is. Creasy is all about his great men, clashes of civilization and individual deeds of valour shaping the course of history. This took me a good while to get through. The writing is at times quite interesting, but is marred by its age it has a British imperial attitude and by a tendency to write too much about each battle in my opinion.
I don't mind a good amount of explanatory material, but it felt like many battles just had too much detail on things not directly relevant to the battle. The Battle of Waterloo seemed to drag on forever for me, as I would prefer a nice summary of each battle with some extra informa This took me a good while to get through. The Battle of Waterloo seemed to drag on forever for me, as I would prefer a nice summary of each battle with some extra information.
If you want an exhaustive account though no longer up-to-date account of the battles, this should quench your thirst for such a thing. I can't say I'd recommend this unless you really, really like reading about battles and having lots and lots of background.
Edward Creasy was a 19th-century historian who is best known, it would seem, for this volume. It contains accounts of fifteen battles that he felt were crucial to the development of European culture. I don't mind the euro-centrism; that's typical of the era in which it was written. What I do mind is his long-winded delivery. There are times, when I'm into the second page of a single paragraph, that I couldn't help thinking "just get to the point already".
There's a lot to recommend this book in te Edward Creasy was a 19th-century historian who is best known, it would seem, for this volume. There's a lot to recommend this book in terms of information, both in and of itself and as a cultural reference for the era in which it was written. I just couldn't make myself truly enjoy it though. Nov 06, Rose rated it it was amazing Shelves: history , non-fiction.
I inherited this book from a family friend. It starts with the Battle of Marathon between the early Greeks and moves up through to the Battle of Waterloo. The biggest insight for the whole book is how people make the difference in every single conflict; it comes out over and over again that crucial decisions by people are what win wars. My favorites were the Battle of Hasting and the Roman's defeat by Arminius. The language can be a little difficult for modern readers, but it's well worth the ef I inherited this book from a family friend.
The language can be a little difficult for modern readers, but it's well worth the effort. This is a great book for anyone who wants to understand human nature. In his preface to this quixotic attempt to label the fifteen most 'decisive' battles in history up to the time of writing in , Creasey announces himself loud and proud as a classically educated Victorian, asserting with brazen chauvanism how the battle of Marathon "confirmed the superiority of European free states over Oriental despotism", then ultimately crediting all that happens in love and war to "the design of The Designer".
The point about Marathon is subsequently echoed twice more in In his preface to this quixotic attempt to label the fifteen most 'decisive' battles in history up to the time of writing in , Creasey announces himself loud and proud as a classically educated Victorian, asserting with brazen chauvanism how the battle of Marathon "confirmed the superiority of European free states over Oriental despotism", then ultimately crediting all that happens in love and war to "the design of The Designer".
The point about Marathon is subsequently echoed twice more in the chapters that focus on the battle of Chalons AD where a combined Roman and Gothic army finally stalled the extraordinary advance of Attila the Hun across mainland europe and the battle of Tours AD , where Charlamagne did the same with regards the Saracens.
So, you know the eastern half of the globe won't get much of a look in here, but it's still a compelling list, beautifully written with extensive quotations from a timeless set of sources. In truth, knowledge about the east was pretty thin to early Victorian historians. Creasey does acknowledge the then recent translation work of Rawlinson, which decoded the writing on the monuments of the Persian kings, conceding, rather poetically, how those kingdoms "appear before us through the twilight of primeval history, dim and indistinct, but massive and majestic, like mountains in the early dawn.
Even pointed reference to the slaves the Athenians brought into battle with them is an irony that passes Creasey by. Yep, it's the democratism of the elite that he favours, with kings as benign heads of state and proletarians as canon fodder!
When it comes to his treatment of other historians, however, Creasey is entirely contemporary in his outlook, or, rather, timeless. He slags them off from the preface onwards, at one stage accusing a particular one of partiality whilst seemingly oblivious to his own shameless tub-thumping towards all things British.
Of Hastings AD he says "no one, who appreciates the influence of England and her empire upon the destinies of the world, will ever rate that victory as one of secondary importance". Well, maybe that's true, but elsewhere he gets a bit carried away whilst drawing parallels between Victorian colonial successes and those of Alexander, then likening the sight of a British officer on the battlefield in India to the inspiration the Syracuseans took from the support of a Spartan general whilst defending themselves against the besieging Athenians in BC That said, his inherent belief in the essential rightness of all things British makes the book more than just an excellent introduction to some of the world's greatest battles, it is also an interesting period piece.
Most compelling though is his midth century view of the burgeoning powers of America and Russia. He marvels at their express acquisition of territory and rise in influence, taking a vicarious pride in the achievements of the english-speaking Americans whilst delivering a stern warning about the Russian's adoptive status as "protectors" of the Slavic peoples.
The advent of the USSR was less than a hundred years in the future. A seminal work, still of value and highly enjoyable, but utterly Victorian in tone and outlook. Feb 13, Charles van Buren rated it it was amazing. Educated people should at least be familiar with it, even if just in summary. Anyone interested in military history and the history of the west should read it. I found a copy in our high school library and was fascinated with it.
Creasy is a great writer, explaining the battles clearly. His description of the defeat and death of Hasdrubal Hannibal's brother at Metaurus is still clear in my mind. As is his explanation of the importance of the outcome to Western Civilization. This free Kindle edition, released March 24, , contains neither illustrations nor maps. Loved reading this book, specially the strategy parts of the battles. Dec 07, Alex Dove rated it liked it Shelves: true-ish. Creasy's selection of battles strongly reflects his European heritage, and any prospective reader should go in well-warned that his text also strongly reflects the prejudices of a wealthy Victorian, with frequent glowing remarks about the mission of the Anglo-Saxon race.
Are the military and political insights worth stomaching the racism? Eh, not really, I'd say. He does better with the political - that is, the establishment of the situation leading up to the battle, and the reasons why he consid Creasy's selection of battles strongly reflects his European heritage, and any prospective reader should go in well-warned that his text also strongly reflects the prejudices of a wealthy Victorian, with frequent glowing remarks about the mission of the Anglo-Saxon race. He does better with the political - that is, the establishment of the situation leading up to the battle, and the reasons why he considers it a decisive encounter - than he does with the purely military.
The actual conduct of some battles is barely touched on, while others include details that I suspect have very little evidence to support them. Most notable in the latter category is the Battle of Hastings, where we get accounts of the actions of numerous individual soldiers within the melee. If this is a subject matter of interest to you, I'd suggest looking for a more recent text, with more academic rigour and fewer - or at least less pervasive - cultural prejudices.
Jun 19, Chuck Shorter rated it it was amazing. Riding a horse on the battlefield was bound to be agony. The Bonapartists point to a crucial moment towards the end of the battle. As the French retreated, one group of men did so without breaking ranks — this was a battalion of the Garde, led by General Pierre Cambronne. Hearing this insulting rebuff, the British artillery opened fire from point-blank range and wiped out almost all of the , who instantly became martyrs — and in some French eyes, victors.
Unleashing deadly lightning with such a word counts as victory. It is true that, even as early as the s, impoverished France almost relished the fact that it was being left behind by the British-led industrial revolution, and began to concentrate on its traditional industries such as the production of unique regional cheeses and wines, the distillation of perfumes from its native plants and hand-made high-quality clothes.
Villepin suggests that the global importance of these French industries today are victories that sprung directly from Waterloo. Until the order was given to exile Napoleon to Saint Helena, he seriously believed that he could retire as a celebrity in England. His supporters point to the fact that his tomb in Paris is bigger, and more frequently visited by tourists, than that of any king of France.
They rightly remind us that the legal system Napoleon founded, the Code Civil , is still used right across Europe. Indeed, while he was alive, Napoleon always dressed in his own unique style. In short, Napoleon might have lost on 18 June and the debate about that continues in France , but it is hard to deny that his highly vocal admirers are right — he has won the battle of history. How the French won Waterloo or think they did Two centuries after the battle of Waterloo, says writer Stephen Clarke, the French are still in denial.
June 12, at am. Napoleon Bonaparte tries to lead the final assault by his Imperial Guard at the battle of Waterloo. The Duke of Wellington commanding his troops at the battle of Waterloo. Original artwork engraved by T Fielding after a drawing by R Westall. Beyond potential errors in choice or concept, Creasy is criticised for the vagueness of his descriptions, sources given and battle analysis.