Book Review:
Greenhill Dictionary of Military Quotations

Edited by Peter G. Tsouras


'My ambition was to write a book that would not be forgotten in two or three years, and which anyone interested in the subject would certainly take up more than once.'
- (Major-General Carl von Clausewitz, On War, 1832).

This might perhaps be the reason that Peter Tsouras produced this dictionary, in that it is a book that you may dip into for a particular subject, but results in compulsive detailed reading to discover a vast range of words of wisdom/common sense from military characters throughout the ages.

Greenhill markets this volume as the Gift Book of the Year, which I am inclined to agree with, if you like general military history consisting of short sound bites from great generals and historians.

The Greenhill Dictionary of Military Quotations uses the words of over 800 soldiers, commanders, military theorists and commentators on war to describe all aspects of the subject, including Ability, The Bayonet, Courage, Leadership, Panic, Spit and Polish, Volunteers and Women in War - to name but a few.

The quote at the start of this review came from the section on Writing Military History, and is but one of 485 categories.

The quotes come from all the major characters of military history, including Napoleon, Wellington and Clausewitz, and with each quote, Peter Tsouras has attached the reference from which it came for the purpose of this book.

The select bibliography allows the reader to pursue the quotation further, and an Index of Well-Known Quotations follows this.

A Biographical Index allows further cross-referencing to make this a practical reference work to assist the reader in choosing quotations for his own work or to read around a particular subject.

I found that while searching for a specific subject I invariably became sidetracked into reading about other topics; it is that sort of work.

It is very much a gift book for the military historian who likes to read around his main area of interest.

Certainly, anyone writing military history will find a good selection of quotes to include with their own prose.


'Everything on earth is soon forgotten, except the opinion we leave imprinted upon history.' (Napoleon, 27 November 1802, to General Leclerc).

- Paul Chamberlain





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