John Keegan 's The Face Of Battle

Decent Essays

John Keegan’s The Face of Battle and Sir Charles Oman’s The Art of War in the Middle Ages provide insight into how historians approach the subject of battle. When discussing warfare, historians typically approach the subject from a procedural point of view, but it has also become normal to focus on combatants’ experiences. By cross comparing Keegan and Oman’s descriptions of the Battle of Agincourt, it is apparent that both the procedural method and the method of focusing on individuals have merit. However, Keegan and Oman’s alternate depictions of the battle demonstrate how combining both perspectives give a more complete understanding of the past.
Historical writings have evolved from procedural accounts of events to inquisitive reflections on combatants. Focusing on weapons, strategies and generals’ perspectives the procedural approach quickly provides in-depth information, but often in a distorted way 1. It is important to remember a commander’s actions and the events of their battles are often exaggerated to support current political goals . Alternately, a slightly more encompassing approach to warfare considers the conflict’s decisiveness in addition to the battle’s statistics and facts 1. That is to say, what influence did the battle have on future events and how were people’s lives changed by it. Beyond these procedural approaches, modern historians now use a more inquisitive method that combines personal experiences and facts. This more inclusive method allows

Get Access