This Is War!

History 101

Are your world history classes a faded memory? Here's a brief rundown of the "great captains" and their places in history from The Way of the Warrior (St. Martins Press) by James Dunnigan and Daniel Masterson:

Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) conquered a Persian empire five times the size of his Greek coalition and ruled the world from India to Egypt.

Julius Caesar (100-44 B.C.) became a warrior late in life. His dictatorship ended the 500-year-old Roman Republic.

Charlemagne (742-814 A.D.) founded the Holy Roman Empire, which governed most of Europe during the Dark Ages.

Genghis Khan (1162-1227) turned 800,000 feuding nomads into the rulers of a world that stretched from China to Russia and down to the Middle East.

Edward III (1312-1377) united England and conquered much of France.

Gustavus Adolphus (1594-1632) led Sweden to victories during the Thirty Years' War and was a tactical and technological innovator known as "the father of modern warfare."

Frederick the Great (1712-1786) kept Prussia safe from the much larger hostile powers that constantly attacked it.

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) was not only a military genius but a brilliant civilian leader whose reforms remain in place today.

Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) won the Civil War for the North, then became president of the United States.

Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964) fought in both World Wars, directing the Philippine resistance to Imperial Japan in World War II. Then, at age 70, he commanded United Nations troops repelling North Korea's invasion of South Korea. He died "the century's most respected American military hero," says Dunnigan.

George Patton (1885-1945) was the first American general assigned to the U.S. tank corps with which he stopped the Germans at the Battle of the Bulge to become "the greatest battlefield commander America . . . will ever produce," according to Dunnigan.

Norman Schwarzkopf (1934- ) won the Gulf War with an astonishingly low number of casualties in one of the most decisive victories in history.

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This article was originally published in the February 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: This Is War!.

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