Wednesday, July 16, 2008

On Wellington (Book #67)

On Wellington: the Duke and his Art of War (Jac Weller, 1998) is a collection of essays and articles compiled after Weller's death. It's sort of an odd read. It assumes a certain level of knowledge of military history in general and Wellington's career in particular, but since the essays are short and topical, I didn't learn much I didn't already know. Probably the most interesting section, because it was new to me, was a discussion of the impact of Napoleon's and Wellington's tactics and strategies on the Civil War, followed by a speculation on how Gettysburg might've turned out if Wellington had commanded the Confederate force. (He thinks the South would've won the battle and possibly the war--it seems like that in Weller's view of the world, there's no military problem that couldn't be solved by time-traveling Wellington. He might be right about Gettysburg, since Lee's hands-off command style just didn't work after Stonewall Jackson died, IMHO. But I can't agree with an earlier essay that suggests that Wellington could've turned things around for the US in Vietnam. There are limits to what one man can do.)

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