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The Battles that Changed History

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  64 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Time and again, the course of Western civilization has been forever changed by the outcome of a clash of arms. In this thought-provoking volume, the eminent author and historian Fletcher Pratt profiles 16 decisive struggles from ancient and modern times, ranging from Alexander the Great’s defeat of the Persians at the Battle of Arbela to World War II’s Battle of Midway, in ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published March 27th 2000 by Dover Publications (first published 1956)
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3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  64 ratings  ·  8 reviews

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May 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book covered the history of Western Civilization through focusing on the pivotal wars and battles. I don't know when it began happening to me, but as I grow older, I appreciate history more and more. Events and people from the past mean more to me every year as I see their echoes in the modern world. I don't think I could have fully appreciated this book until this decade of my life, but now it left me wanting to study many of these time periods in more detail.

The strength of this book is t
Jan 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A vast range of warfare was well covered by this author - from war elephants to aircraft carriers. Each battle was well introduced with lots of context and then a detailed account given of the movement of units, followed by why it was decisive in history.

This author seems to be a (1956) scholar and writes as such, not easy flowing like a David McCullough. I wonder if any post-WWII battles would have made his list.
May 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A formative book from my youth. Pratt's accounts of battles are never simply military narratives; he has a way of explaining the political and social context of a battle or campaign to make a Gustavus Adolphus or Pyrrhus or Frederick the Great a relevant, living figure. But the best part of Pratt's books are the battle narratives themselves. Pratt's language is fresh and lively and enables the reader to understand the immediate military situation. Although not written specifically for young read ...more
Michael Hicks
Jan 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
This is really filling in the blanks for me in terms of political and military history in the period between the Middle Ages and the Enlightenment. It's also reviving my interest in strategy and tactics.
David Rugge
Jun 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
This book is a good introduction to military history. My main complaint is that the book needed more maps to help the reader visualize the battles. If you read this book, have the internet handy to pull up additional maps as needed.
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Nice pace and nice touches of prose. A good primer on world history as history was changed by these battles.
Jul 08, 2010 marked it as to-read
Dec 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
I usually don't like war-centric histories, but this book makes a really good argument about how the battles highlighted in this book really did change the course of history.
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Murray Fletcher Pratt (1897–1956) was a science fiction and fantasy writer; he was also well-known as a writer on naval history and on the American Civil War.

Pratt attended Hobart College for one year. During the 1920s he worked for the Buffalo Courier-Express and on a Staten Island newspaper. In the late 1920s he began selling stories to pulp magazines. When a fire gutted his apartment in the 193