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History's Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They Teach cover art

History's Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They Teach

Written by: The Great Courses,Gregory S. Aldrete
Narrated by: Gregory S. Aldrete
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Publisher's Summary

Military history often highlights successes and suggests a sense of inevitability about victory, but there is so much that can be gleaned from considering failures. Study these crucibles of history to gain a better understanding of why a civilization took - or didn't take - a particular path. Full of dramatic reversals of fortune and colorful characters, this course examines some of the world's most notable examples of military misfortune, from the humiliating destruction of a Roman army at Carrhae in 53 BC to the tragic landings at Gallipoli in World War I. Success and failure, as you'll learn, are two sides of the same coin.

These 24 lectures reveal how the trajectory of history hangs in the balance of individual battles; even a single person's actions in a particular moment have made drastic and irreversible impacts. From ancient Greece through global war during the first half of the 20th century, you'll delve into infamous conflicts such as the Charge of the Light Brigade and the Battle of Little Bighorn as well as lesser-known battles.

How could an army equipped with cannon be wiped out by Zulu warriors wielding spears and outdated firearms? How could armored French knights be vulnerable to the crude weapons of a band of Flemish shopkeepers? Why would a savvy Chinese general fall victim to a tactic he had previously used himself? Unpredictable twists of fate abound, demonstrating that when it comes to war, there are no givens. Sheer numbers, superior weaponry, and skilled leadership are never a guarantee of success.

Take a fascinating journey through some of the most gloriously inglorious wartime encounters. Along the way, you'll get to know some of the most legendary characters in world history.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2015 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2015 The Great Courses

What listeners say about History's Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They Teach

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Fascinating Subject disrupted by narration

I was really looking forward to these lectures, but had to stop after only a couple. Mr. Aldrete clearly puts effort into the presentation but the narration is so stilted and dissonant that I couldn't struggle through it. The author/narrator jarringly stresses so many words per sentence that the lectures sound more unnatural than those artificially voiced wikipedia articles.

I really hate to criticize the author for what is not his area of expertise (he studies History, presumably, not narrative art), but the presentation prevented me from appreciating his historical insights. This is the first time that a narrator has ever prevented me from listening to a book/lecture.

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4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great summery of poor choices in battle

This is a great audio book if you like millitary history. Peppered with the right amount of information to fill in the story this audiobook is a must listen.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic book, great narration

Excellent book, very interesting, short chapters, and a funny, almost sarcastic or sassy narrator at times. 5 stars definitely worth a credit.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good Listen

I enjoyed it overall. Feel like it would have been a lot better to focus on some of the better cases longer than doing many short cases. There were a handful of really good examples that would have been more interesting to go into greater detail. Most felt vague and I didn't understand how they contributed to the thesis. Good, but could have been great.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A bit scattershot

My recommendation of this title is sincere but a little lukewarm. The lecturer does offer a framework for understanding military blunders at the start of the series, and in each lecture, but the lectures are mainly straight narrations. Each lecture narrates a military campaign or battle, and the integration of narrative and analysis is too weak for my liking. This meant I didn’t feel like I was building insight across the whole series, that much, and it took effort to finish. It’s an interesting subject though. Lecturer is decent.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

If you’ve never studied military history then this would be an ok primer.

Heads up, if you’ve spent any time studying military history at all then there will not be much new here for you. The course is well laid out and would be great for someone new to the field and would be a great jumping off point for the further study of any of the periods or wars/battles contained within but besides a few anecdotes which i had not found there was very little new for me personally. It seemed like fair scholarship throughout most of the series and I didn’t find much to complain about with regards to bias etc. Only real complaint was with the robot sounding pronunciation at times, does anyone actually pronounce “debacle” like the reader? Wince worthy but I’m splitting hairs

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  • A1
  • 2018-09-19

Very interesting!

I enjoyed this lecture a lot. Great historical outcomes that can be applied to modem situations big and small. Lots of lessons to be gleaned! I also enjoyed that the accounts were varied so it’s kind of like a book of short stories. Some of the other lectures (Egyptians, Etruscans) can be overwhelming with the amount of information and I can only listen to a few chapters at a time whereas this lecture is a one sitting event.
#Audible1

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