"A philosophical and spiritual defense of the premodern world, of the tragic view, of physical courage, and of masculinity and self-sacrifice in an age when those ancient virtues are too often caricatured and dismissed."
—Victor Davis Hanson
Award-winning author Michael Walsh celebrates the masculine attributes of heroism that forged American civilization and Western culture by exploring historical battles in which soldiers chose death over dishonor in Last Stands: Why Men Fight When All Is Lost.
In our contemporary era, men are increasingly denied their heritage as warriors. A survival instinct that’s part of the human condition, the drive to wage war is natural. Without war, the United States would not exist. The technology that has eased manual labor, extended lifespans, and become an integral part of our lives and culture has often evolved from wartime scientific advancements. War is necessary to defend the social and political principles that define the virtues and freedoms of America and other Western nations. We should not be ashamed of the heroes who sacrificed their lives to build a better world. We should be honoring them.
The son of a Korean War veteran of the Inchon landing and the battle of the Chosin Reservoir with the U.S. Marine Corps, Michael Walsh knows all about heroism, valor, and the call of duty that requires men to fight for something greater than themselves to protect their families, fellow countrymen, and most of all their fellow soldiers. In Last Stands, Walsh reveals the causes and outcomes of more than a dozen battles in which a small fighting force refused to surrender to a far larger force, often dying to the last man.
From the Spartans’ defiance at Thermopylae and Roland’s epic defense of Charlemagne’s rear guard at Ronceveaux Pass, through Santa Anna’s siege of the Alamo defended by Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie to the skirmish at Little Big Horn between Crazy Horse’s Sioux nation and George Armstrong Custer’s Seventh Calvary, to the Soviets’ titanic struggle against the German Wehrmacht at Stalingrad, and more, Walsh reminds us all of the debt we owe to heroes willing to risk their lives against overwhelming odds—and how these sacrifices and battles are not only a part of military history but our common civilizational heritage.
Novelist and former National Review columnist Walsh (The Fiery Angel) chronicles 17 battles fought against overwhelming odds in this bellicose account. Declaring war "a masculine engagement, undertaken on behalf of females and children in large measure to win and protect the former and to ensure the survival of the latter," Walsh begins with the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BCE, when vastly outnumbered Greek soldiers fought off Persian invaders for three days, until a traitor sold them out. The fight for the Alamo and Custer's last stand at Little Bighorn are also discussed, as are lesser-known battles, including the clash between Germanic tribes and Roman forces at Teutoburg Forest in 9 CE, and the defeat of Sultan Suleiman's Ottoman army at the siege of Szigetv r in 1566. Walsh interviews his father, a Marine who fought in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in the Korean War, for the book's epilogue. Memorable tidbits get overshadowed by Walsh's strident political views ("Today, as the Christianized West enters its fully secular, post-Christian phase, it may have to revert to its pre-Christian pagan, visceral roots as it battles the religiously animated bloodlust of Islam"), and his use of thesaurus words ("pusillanimity"; "desuetude"; "syncretic") grates. Walsh's fans will savor the hyperbole; others will be put off by the right-wing rhetoric.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Awesome. Philosophy is on point.
It’s about 1300 pages with all the notes. Great read. As a historian, I highly suggest this book.
The book is a compendium of battles throughout the history of western culture, Which distills down D characteristics and similarities of soldiers from Thermopylae to the chosen reservoir. An excellent read.