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The Mask of Command is about generals: who they are, what they do and how they affect the world we live in. Through portraits of four generals - archetypal hero Alexander the Great, anti-hero Wellington, the unheroic Ulysses S. Grant and the false heroic of Hitler - John Keegan propounds the view of heroism in warfare as inextricable linked with the political imperative of the age and place. He demonstrates how the role of the general alters with the ethos of the society that creates him and concludes that there is no place for heroism in a nuclear world.
The Mask of Command is a companion volume to John Keegan's classic study of the individual soldier, The Face of Battle: together they form a masterpiece of military and human history.