Friday, March 2, 2012

The Soul of Battle Part 1

I started reading The Soul of Battle: From Ancient Times to Present Day, How Three Great Liberators Vanquished Tyranny by Victor Davis Hanson.  This book has been in my queue for quite a while.  It is divided into three parts, each about a military general Hanson admires: Epaminondas, Sherman and Patton.

I've decided to provide a quick summary of each part as I finish it.

I just finished Epaminondas last night.  I've read other Hanson books before and have read bits and pieces about Epaminondas.  But after I read the 120 pages about him in this book, I was left hungering for more about this incredible person.  The Greek and Persian history is drenched in conquest and continual war.  You often hear about the Spartans and the Athenians.  But rarely do you hear about the Thebens and their decade of liberation.

The Wikipedia entry on Epaminondas (if you want to hear how to pronounce his name, click here) is very interesting and provides a lot of information and historical background.  I learned quite a bit more about him reading the wiki entry after having my interest piqued by Hanson.

As usual, I found Hanson's writing amazing.  I love the way he writes and describes things.  Every time I read one of his books or articles on the web, I get this swelling feeling of pride in Western culture and civilization.  His descriptions of Epaminondas and his BC 370-369 winter liberation of Peloponnesia were very enlightening.

Before reading this first part of the book, I didn't know much about what his latest book was going to be about (The End of Sparta).  But now that I know the context of this book, I am even more excited to read it.

The next part will focus on William Tecumseh Sherman - another general I've heard bits and pieces about, but am nevertheless excited to read even more about.

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