Intelligence in War: Knowledge of the Enemy from Napoleon to Al-Qaeda

Version: Abridged
Author: John Keegan
Narrator: Simon Prebble
Genres: History
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Published In: November 2003
# of Units: 8 CDs
Length: 9 hours
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In fiction, the spy is a glamorous figure whose secrets make or break peace, but, historically, has intelligence really been a vital step to military victories? In this breakthrough study, the preeminent war historian John Keegan goes to the heart of a series of important conflicts to develop a powerful argument about military intelligence.

In his characteristically wry and perceptive prose, Keegan offers us nothing short of a new history of war through the prism of intelligence. He brings to life the split-second decisions that went into waging war before the benefit of aerial surveillance and electronic communications. The English admiral Horatio Nelson was hot on the heels of Napoleon's fleet in the Mediterranean and never knew it, while Stonewall Jackson was able to compensate for the Confederacy's disadvantage in firearms and manpower with detailed maps of the Appalachians. In the past century, espionage and decryption have changed the face of battle: the Japanese surprise attack at the Battle of the Midway was thwarted by an early warning. Timely information, however, is only the beginning of the surprising and disturbing aspects of decisions that are made in war, where brute force is often more critical.

Reviews (2)

Wait For The Unabridged Version

Written by Steve Slick on June 12th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 2/5

I'm a big fan of John Keegan's but this recording was a disappointment mostly because it's abridged. The quality of the recording and the material in it is excellent. But it's chopped up such that I had to go to the library and checkout the book to make any sense of it. I believe an unabridged version would probably be terrific.

Intelligence In War

Written by Lou Anne on April 8th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 5/5

John Keegan is masterful in his analysis and presentation -- long, but comprehensive and interesting, and as always, builds a case for a punch line that is indisputable. A+

Author Details

Author Details

Keegan, John

About the Author:
John Keegan is and internationally renowned journalist and historian. His books include The Face of Battle and The Mask of Command.