From bestselling author Max Hastings, a collection of the most extraordinary stories of war, courage, tragedy, strategy and survival. Soldiers is a collection of the very best stories about soldiers, brought together by the award-winning, bestselling historian Max Hastings. In his almost sixty years of military study and his work in the midst of modern conflicts as a foreign correspondent, these are the stories that left a mark.
In these pages you will find heroes and cowards; triumphs, tragedies and comedies. It illustrates, mostly through people’s own words, what it’s been like to fight in wars, to live and die as a warrior, from Greek and Roman times through to today’s Iraq and Afghanistan.
The characters include the Black Prince and Cromwell, Wellington at Waterloo, Siegfried Sassoon at the Somme, George Orwell in the Spanish Civil War and Evelyn Waugh as a commando. But there are also Americans, Frenchmen, Israelis, Russians, not to mention the women warriors of Dahomey, Queen Boudicca and the women who serve today in the US Marines. There are more than 300 stories in all, and an astounding variety of soldiers’ experiences through the ages. Many have been responsible for wonderful achievements but a few, also, for dreadful crimes. Some relate horrors, while others tell terrific jokes. In modern writing, we hear from the titans of historical writing with Ben Macintyre and Anthony Beevor.
This is a book that might make you feel as grateful that whatever the troubles of our own times, we are spared the mud and blood and anguish, if also the moments of glory, that the soldiers in these pages bring so vividly to life.