How To Lose A Battle: Foolish Plans and Great Military Blunders

Paperback | July 3, 2006

byBill Fawcett

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A remarkable compendium of the worst military
decisions and the men who made them

The annals of history are littered with horribly bad military leaders. These combat incompetents found amazing ways to ensure their army's defeat. Whether it was a lack of proper planning, miscalculation, ego, bad luck, or just plain stupidity, certain wartime stratagems should never have left the drawing board. Written with wit, intelligence, and eminent readability, How to Lose a Battle pays dubious homage to these momentous and bloody blunders, including:

  • Cannae, 216 B.C.: the bumbling Romans lose 80,000 troops to Hannibal's forces.

  • The Second Crusade: an entire Christian army is slaughtered when it stops for a drink of water.

  • The Battle of Britain: Hitler's dreaded Luftwaffe blows it big-time.

  • Pearl Harbor: more than one warning of the impending attack is there, but nobody listens.

How to Lose a Battle includes more than thirty-five chapters worth of astonishing (and avoidable) disasters, both infamous and obscure -- a treasure trove of trivia, history, and jaw-dropping facts about the most costly military missteps ever taken.

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From the Publisher

A remarkable compendium of the worst military decisions and the men who made themThe annals of history are littered with horribly bad military leaders. These combat incompetents found amazing ways to ensure their army's defeat. Whether it was a lack of proper planning, miscalculation, ego, bad luck, or just plain stupidity, certain wa...

Bill Fawcett is the author and editor of more than a dozen books, includingYou Did What?,It Seemed Like a Good Idea . . .,How to Lose a Battle, andYou Said What?He lives in Illinois.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.76 inPublished:July 3, 2006Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0060760249

ISBN - 13:9780060760243

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Customer Reviews of How To Lose A Battle: Foolish Plans and Great Military Blunders

Reviews

Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh. While the writing of this book was decent, there were lots of small factual errors that wouldn't bother the casual reader but would really irk history buffs. For example, in the chapter on Agincourt, the author refers to the king of France as John. The king was actually Charles VI. I know this seems nitpicky, but all these little errors start to add up, until you wonder, if the supposed historian is this sloppy with the little details, how accurate is he with the larger ones? If you're looking for a more reliable book along the same lines, try 100 Decisive Battles by Paul K. Davis.
Date published: 2009-10-01
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Just a bad book The title and subject certainly looked appealing, but the actual book is a major disappointment. While the sections on the US Civil War and World War II aren't bad, the rest of the chapters are incredibly simplistic and repetitive, and offer no real insights. Finally, and perhaps most disconcerning is the fact that the book contains several factual errors, many even laughable. For example, in the section on the 1916 Easter Uprising, the author repeatedly refers to the rebels coming under fire from "Her Majesty's artillery" - when Britain at that time was ruled by a king --George V. And the chapter on San Jacinto, has Santa Anna expelling the French army from Mexico before invading Texas --a good 25 years before they even arrived. It is the Spanish that the author means. Errors like these can't help but make you question the rest of the 'facts' in this book. Sorry, its just poorly researched, written and edited.
Date published: 2008-02-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting Military History This book has 37 chapters written by 5 different authors. Despite this, the authors’ writing styles are quite similar, i.e., simple and friendly prose that is generally engaging. However, as a result of this multi authorship, some chapters are short and concise such that a given event is recounted in 5 to 8 pages, while others are rather long-winded and occupy over 20 pages. Several of the events in this book have been recounted elsewhere by other authors in an equally short, concise but frequently in a pleasant tongue-in-cheek style – something which is not as pronounced in this case. I have given this book 4 stars simply because, although it is a good read, to me, it seems to lack that tiny spark that would make it a 5 star work. The several editorial mistakes that it contains may have contributed to that less than perfect score. This book could be of interest to anyone, although some detailed analyses may be of particular interest to military history buffs.
Date published: 2006-11-11