John Keegan (1934-2012)

Sad news this week, that military historian John Keegan has died.

He wrote much about the Great War, but the book of his that I value most highly is The Face of Battle (1976) which explains clearly and vividly what it was like to be a soldier in three vastly contrasting battles: Agincourt in 1415, Waterloo in 1815 and the Somme in 1916. I doubt that anyone else could have done it better.



  1. Posted August 7, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    This is a great book by a great man.

  2. Posted August 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    The Face of Battle will be read far into the future. Having said that, however, I wonder whether much else from Keegan’s oevre will long survive him. He was a remarkably talented writer at the sentence level, but his arguments were often banal or plain odd (his History of Warfare in particular). His last book on the American Civil War was a particular disappointment, though perhaps in fairness in JK it seems to have been more a collection of essays pasted together in haste than a coherent single volume.

  3. Steven M. Shyrock
    Posted August 11, 2012 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    After retiring, Mr. Keegan helped me find a new occupation and passion. Not a great British historian and writer. A great historian and writer for all the world and all time. I keep a copy of The Second World War next to my desk for quick reference. And, what a great speaking voice. Thank GOD for technology so that voice will not be silenced! Thank-you Mr. Keegan and GOD bless your family. Respectfully; Steven M. Shyrock

  4. Posted August 23, 2012 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    I read The Face of War in my teens. It and The People’s War were the first chinks in my Victor comic view of war. It’s always uncomfortable to have your assumptions but John Keegan played an important role in my then developing and continuing interest in military history.

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