History's Greatest Wars: The Epic Conflicts that Shaped the Modern World
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Centuries of warfare that changed the world are captured in History’s Greatest Wars. This book acts as a perfect primer for novices while offering seasoned history readers new perspectives on many famous and some not-so-well-known conflicts. Each chapter includes a quick-reference summary, a timeline, an overview of the war, essays on its principal leaders, a series of short, often offbeat features on aspects of the conflict, and a detailed account of a pivotal battle.
Author Joseph Cummins highlights pivotal victories that changed nations, from the Norman invasion of England in 1066 to the Spanish conquest of Mexico in 1521 and the first fervid days of the French Revolution of 1789 to the bloody stalemate that ended the Iran-Iraq War in 1988. Each chapter delineates defining moments in the development of political philosophies, from Athens’ defense of democracy against Persian despotism to the championing of equal rights for all in the American Revolution. It recounts the heroism of armies and individuals, from the Spartans’ fight to the death against the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 BC to the Korean admiral who inspired his country to repel a massive Japanese invasion in the 1590s. It traces the transformation of battle tactics, from the prearranged set-piece encounters of the Napoleonic Wars to the massive naval landings and aerial bombardments of World War II, explains the scientific innovations that yielded the machine gun, the tank, and the atom bomb, and vividly renders the key victories that turned the tide of war, from Waterloo to Gettysburg and D-Day. At the same time, it reiterates the constants of conflict: the slaughters and massacres, including the Holocaust and the little-known Taiping Rebellion, which killed up to forty million Chinese; the personal sacrifices made by those battling tyranny, among them the rebels of revolutionary France, Greece, and Mexico; and the extraordinary influence of charismatic leaders, ranging from Napoleon and Pancho Villa to Mao Zedong and Hitler.
Sweeping in its scope, yet intimate in its insights into the motivations of politicians, strategists, commanders, and soldiers, this is a collection that will enhance your understanding of the modern world and your own place in it.
and found it in a civil war that had begun within the ranks of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA). In September 1979, the hard-liners of the party led by Deputy Prime Minister Hafizullah Amin seized power and killed President Nur Muhammad Taraki. The Russians didn’t trust Amin. Some of them even thought he was a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent, although no proof exists of this. By mid-December, the Soviet Union had decided to invade Afghanistan to protect its interests
pulleys to a long mast at the front of each warship. At its tip was a huge three-tipped spike, which looked something like a corvus, or raven, hence the name. When a Roman warship was able to get close enough to a Carthaginian vessel, it would drop the corvus onto the opposing vessel so that the spike embedded itself in the deck. Roman soldiers would then charge across the bridge and engage the enemy, much as they were used to doing on land. Although the corvus made vessels unstable in rough
and that one could not walk across the field anywhere and touch ground. Now, the Romans closed in for the kill. They approached the Hun wagons, men spattered with blood and gore from the previous day’s battle, weary and angry, and perhaps fearful as well, for although they had their foes cornered, they knew them to be willing to fight to the death. Inside the camp, Attila vowed loudly to his bodyguards that he would commit suicide rather than be captured alive. Arming himself with his sword and
to winter in Canada. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress issued the Declaration of Independence, calling for the severing of all ties from Great Britain. And the year ended on a high note for the rebels with George Washington’s successful surprise attack against British and Hessian troops at Trenton the day after Christmas, which began with his famous night crossing of the frozen Delaware River. This gave the rebels a huge psychological boost because it showed that they could win against
near-starvation conditions, would be bloodily put down. Although the Bolsheviks had not been successful in reclaiming all of the Russian Empire (the Ukraine, Poland, and Finland became separate republics), they had fought a successful war that they had won mainly because of a unified purpose and command, and because they held the factories and manpower of the geographic center of the country. The disparate groups of Whites were never able to effectively find common cause, and they often lacked