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Beschreibung des Verlags
The Mask of Command is about generals: who they are, what they do and how they affect the world we live in. Through portraits of four generals - archetypal hero Alexander the Great, anti-hero Wellington, the unheroic Ulysses S. Grant and the false heroic of Hitler - John Keegan propounds the view of heroism in warfare as inextricable linked with the political imperative of the age and place. He demonstrates how the role of the general alters with the ethos of the society that creates him and concludes that there is no place for heroism in a nuclear world.
The Mask of Command is a companion volume to John Keegan's classic study of the individual soldier, The Face of Battle: together they form a masterpiece of military and human history.
By the author of The Face of Battle, this is a study of the transformation of military leadership in the context of heroism in its broadest sense. Keegan uses as examples four commanders whose attitudes, styles and military philosophies differed drastically: Alexander the Great, "heroic leader as conquerer''; Wellington as ``anti-heroic leader under constitutional monarchy''; U. S. Grant as ``consciously unheroic''; and Adolf Hitler as ``fake heroic.'' These four long chapters comprise a new way of explaining the political-military policies and actions of four major conductors of war across 2000 years of Western history. Taken as a whole, the sections are building-blocks leading up to Keegan's masterful closing argument warning that in the nuclear age heroic leadership of any style would lead to the destruction of civilization. The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, notes the author, was conducted ``in a strictly post-heroic manner,'' and offers hope that future nuclear crises may be resolved ``as rationally and harmlessly.'' Photos. 40,000 first printing; BOMC and QPBC featured alternates.