The Hinges of Battle
How Chance and Incompetence Have Changed the Face of History
By Erik Durschmied
A fascinating look at the turning points of famous conflicts - the moment when a minor incident decides the outcome of a battle (called the hinge of battle).
There is no shortage of stories when it comes to battles. Some were decided by genius, but many more by a quirk of fate, when that thin balance which separates success from disaster lay in a minor decision or a trivial incident that tipped the scales. The thrust of a spear, the blink of an eye, a single phrase or a misinterpreted command is all it takes. A moment of courage or cowardice, energy or weariness, resolution or indecision.
Battles have shaped the course of history and decided the fate of mankind. From a brutal Attila the Hun who went down to defeat on the Catalaunian Fields, to an overbearing French artillery colonel at Dien Bien Phu; from the stout walls of Constantinople to a skimpy mealie-bag wall at Rorke's Drift; from the sun of Austerlitz to the snows of Stalingrad, it was always an incident that decided the outcome of battle.
Erik Durschmied was born in Vienna in 1930. After the Second World War he emigrated to Canada. A television war correspondent for the BBC and CBS, Durschmied covered every major crisis, from Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, Belfast, Beirut, Chile, to Cuba and Afghanistan. Winner of numerous awards, Newsweek wrote 'Durschmied is a supremely gifted reporter who has transformed the media he works in.' And in Le Monde: 'He's survived more battles than any living general.' Erik has just been appointed Professor of Military History at The Military Academy of Austria. He lives in Paris and Provence with his family.
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- Publication date:
07 Nov 2002
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The Hinges of Battle is more or less a sequel to Durschmied's previous book and is just as readable. The Hinges of Battle should have a wide readership — Nicholas Fearn, Independent on Sunday
PRAISE FOR THE HINGE FACTOR:
'His tales of mayhem and confusion can be gripping, informative and genuinely idea-provoking. He reveals again and again, the casual impact of happenstance.'
This entertaining book considers the errors and incidents that have shaped the world as we know it rather than as we planned it might be. — The Times
Gripping, riveting. Fascinating. Even when you're sure you know what happened and whodunit, Erik Durschmeid provides another twist. — Scotsman
Erik Durschmeid's revelations are wholly captivating. — Manchester Evening News