"The Face of Battle.."

Read any good books lately?
nmblum88
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"The Face of Battle.."

Post by nmblum88 » Thu Aug 09, 2012 7:45 pm

John Keegan's terrific analysis of three of Western history's bloodiest and most relevant battles: Agincourt, Waterloo, the Somme..
A wonderful read of significant slaughters...
What does it have to do with religion?
Only that when the confluence of nationalism and the idea of "god is on our side," are present, nothing good can come out of the meeting...
But that was not the author's point..the reader has to draw his own.
Keegan's goal, historical AND literary (gorgeously written book) was to reconstruct three spectacular military events... rather than to speculate on their ultimate (and considerable) affect on history.




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Re: "The Face of Battle.."

Post by fromthehills » Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:46 am

I don't really know, to be honest, of what it takes aside from religion. Thinking about it, it was religion, in a sense. We were all "green", not black, white or whatever, Here's the context, as it is far different than the "green" movement. As spoken by my drill sergeant, and later again by my First Sergeant. Ahemmm: : " They ain't no crackas o' niggas, they ain't no black o' white; we's all green." Referring to our uniform, of course. I liked the idea.

Still, the pressure of religion was there, meaning the god stuff, but the greater "religion" was building the commitment amongst brothers, so to speak. I am again in touch with many of my Army cohorts, and the sense of loyalty to our sigil is still quite strong with many of these guys.

I was quite committed to stake my life with my squad leader, who quite superstitious, but still said something to the effect of:, "if you ain't found God before now[freaking the {!#%@} out under fire] he ain't wanting to be found." The hardest, most just bastard I ever met.

So, I'm not quite sure it takes religion, rather I think it takes boys of that age to commit to one another, in a bond that supersedes many other factors; such as race, religion, and so forth. I would still defend these guys, even if I don't agree with them personally. Not sure why, actually. We did the {!#%@} together, and that seems enough. We were all green.

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Re: "The Face of Battle.."

Post by Bunyip » Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:57 am

What does it have to do with religion?
Religion was has always been used to con the hoi polloi into believing a given war was just and to volunteer as cannon fodder,which they did,in their millions...
Man is not so much a rational animal as a rationalising one.

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Re: "The Face of Battle.."

Post by Major Malfunction » Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:46 am

Whatever conveniently prevalent ideology that galvanises the spirit, and soothes the soul. In other words.
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Re: "The Face of Battle.."

Post by OlegTheBatty » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:09 pm

fromthehills wrote:So, I'm not quite sure it takes religion, rather I think it takes boys of that age to commit to one another, in a bond that supersedes many other factors; such as race, religion, and so forth. I would still defend these guys, even if I don't agree with them personally. Not sure why, actually. We did the {!#%@} together, and that seems enough. We were all green.
The Spartans started with boys who were much younger.
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Re: "The Face of Battle.."

Post by Major Malfunction » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:17 pm

And Catholics!
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Re: "The Face of Battle.."

Post by OlegTheBatty » Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:47 pm

Major Malfunction wrote:And Catholics!
Ahhhh, NOW I know what 'onward christian soldiers' means.
. . . with the satisfied air of a man who thinks he has an idea of his own because he has commented on the idea of another . . . - Alexandre Dumas 'The Count of Monte Cristo"

There is no statement so absurd that it has not been uttered by some philosopher. - Cicero

.......................Doesn't matter how often I'm proved wrong.................... ~ bobbo the pragmatist

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Re: "The Face of Battle.."

Post by nmblum88 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:29 pm

"the Band of Brothers..."
FTH describes the uniquely (until Iraq) male experience of bonding where the threat of death makes one aware of dependence on one's companions in terror as on no one else.. certainly the friends one has left behind, and including the parents whose supposed role is to protect their young from whatever dangers...
If you believe what those who have been tested in battle tell you, there is no experience quite like it: trust, confidence, interdependency.... what better standards or necessities for the best kind of love?
Women, who make emotional connection more easily than do (most) men, do not have anything to compare it with, and are often envious of it in their friends and lovers... and it is powerful enough to have been described from many points of participant views in literature or reportage as far back as the Greeks .... certainly Homer in the Iliad...
And of the existence of that bond there is no doubt... it is so powerful a force as to be mentioned as far back as Euripides.." and certainly by Shakespeare's Henry V, on St. Crispin's day when he invoked the "happy few.." ... "we band of brothers...."
The role of religion (where it is applicable) in stirring us to the animosity needed to make war in the first place is something else again...
Certainly nationalism, and the threat to territory is a major influence in encouraging enlistment, but where those are not sufficient to do the job, calling on loyalty to the god who is surely on our side provides a greater impetus...""Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!' "
Think Iraq.... and think if slightly more history is required where Christian values were at stake against godless atheism in the persons of the Viet Cong...

By the way... on both sides, before, during... and after the American Civil War, religiously influenced battle cries were used to keep the pot boiling.... "the grapes of wrath" lasted a long, long time..
NMB
Skepticism:
" Norma, you poor sad lonely alcoholic. You entire life is devoted to interrupting other people's posts on this forum, regardless of the topic, to tell them what's wrong with them. The irony is, here you are doing it again, with this very post.
Your fanciful card games, movie sojourns and exciting overseas trips, that all take place within the four walls of an aged care retirement home, do not suggest your own children offered you the care, I gave my parents."