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The Savior Generals

How Five Great Commanders Saved Wars That Were Lost - From Ancient Greece to Iraq

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


Stirring portraits of five commanders whose dynamic leadership changed the course of war and history by prominent military historian Victor Davis Hanson.

"Victor Davis Hanson has written another outstanding and eye-opening book"--The Washington Examiner

Prominent military historian Victor Davis Hanson explores the nature of leadership with his usual depth and vivid prose in The Savior Generals, a set of brilliantly executed pocket biographies of five generals (Themistocles, Belisarius, William Tecumseh Sherman, Matthew Ridgway, and David Petraeus) who single-handedly saved their nations from defeat in war. War is rarely a predictable enterprise-it is a mess of luck, chance, and incalculable variables. Today's sure winner can easily become tomorrow's doomed loser. Sudden, sharp changes in fortune can reverse the course of war.

These intractable circumstances are sometimes mastered by leaders of genius-asked at the eleventh hour to save a hopeless conflict, one created by others and frequently unpopular politically and with the public. The savior generals often come from outside the established power structure, employ radical strategies, and flame out quickly. Their careers regularly end in controversy. But their dramatic feats of leadership are vital slices of history-not merely as stirring military narrative, but as lessons on the dynamic nature of consensus, leadership, and destiny.

From Publishers Weekly

Mar 25, 2013 – Hanson (Makers of Ancient Strategy) begins with a deceptively simple question: How are wars won or lost? He cites familiar answers technology, numbers, contingency but he asserts that in desperate situations, human leadership still matters. To make his case, Hanson profiles five savior generals drawn from 2,500 years of conflict. Themistocles s leadership was multifaceted, his career checkered; but his foresight preserved Greek freedom and its concepts of democracy, rationalism, and individual rights. Belisarius served a Byzantium on the edge of collapse, and established a strategic blueprint that for nearly a millennium held Western advances at bay. Sherman s 1864 campaign was a masterpiece of planning and organization in service of a war whose success ensured Lincoln s reelection and preserved the Union. Matthew Ridgway took over an unstable army and in 100 days saved South Korea and left an indelible impression on China regarding the risks of military confrontation with the U.S. Finally, David Petraeus designed and masterminded a surge that saved a war deemed lost by almost everyone around him. Hanson accurately describes these men as a rare breed of mavericks and loners. From Athens to Iraq, they seized their moments and reshaped history.

Customer Reviews


This author's on drugs if he thinks the e-version of this book is worth $23. I read the first chapter as part of the sample and it really wasn't that insightful, which is ironic because the take away from the first chapter was "have foresight".

The Savior Generals
View in iTunes
  • $13.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Military
  • Published: May 14, 2013
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
  • Seller: INscribe Digital
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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