RIP Sir John Keegan
While, on a personal note, I was deeply saddened to learn of the the death of my dear friend and colleague Sir John Keegan, I hope his passing will provide all of us with the opportunity to reflect on his truly monumental contribution to the study of military history, as well as his more waspish contributions as the Daily Telegraph’s Defence Editor.
As Professor of Military History at Sandhurst, a position he held with distinction for many years before joining the Daily Telegraph in 1986, John, and he liked to be known in the Telegraph office, single-handedly transformed the way in which we approach military history. Before John made his seminal contributions with books such as The Face of Battle and The Mask of Command, military history was mainly confined to the study of strategy, tactics and technological advances in equipment. The human face – and cost – of warfare was largely overlooked, until Sir John opened up a whole new dimension to the discipline by addressing the human element of conflict.
If you have not read any of his works of military history, his are some of the finest written. I am in the middle of rereading his Naval warfare study, The Price of Admiralty. A toast, tonight, to his memory.