We tend to measure war's winners and losers in terms of major engagements. Gettysburg, Trafalgar, Midway, Waterloo, Agincourt, Dien Bien Phu - all resonate in the literature of war and in our imaginations as either tide-turning or decisive. But what actually signifies a "decisive" battle? The Allure of Battle by Cathal J. Nolan systematically examines a series of great battles, each traditionally perceived as the "turning point" of the war in which they occurred and shows how and where these battles fit into the histories of those wars, and into military history as a whole. In eachcase, even large and important battles have only contributed to victory or defeat by accelerating the erosion of the other side's defences. In massive conflicts, a shared characteristic emerges: prolonged stalemate created from an uneven military balance, broken only over time and by a series ofsmaller engagements.Rather than claim to have discovered linear or universal laws about warfare, or some overarching "theory of war," this book places battles within the context of the wider conflict in which they took place. In the process it help corrects a distorted view of battle's place in war - replacing popularimages of the "decisive battle" with somber appreciation of the commitments and human sacrifices made in war. Accessible, provocative, and entertaining, The Allure of Battle will sparks fresh debate about the history, strategy, and conduct of warfare.