Talk:John Keegan

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Some trimbacks[edit]


I believe that some of the editors who have recently been working on this article are perhaps not fully informed concerning the Wikipedia's policies.

First, we follow the principle of Neutral Point of View: you can report what public participants in a controversy have said, but you can't endorse any particular point of view yourself. I trimmed back some material by what looks like a person who's quite angry/indignant concerning Keegan, because, it's just not acceptable, according to our policies, to attack Keegan on your own. Please note that I left in material that is properly attributed to published sources; this material is legitimate. Any further criticism of Keegan should follow the same mode.

I also removed material that looks to me like it's redundant. I encourage editors to read over the existing article carefully before editing, to make sure that your contribution will not repeat what is already said.

Yours sincerely, Opus33 23:02, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

Fleshed out article, noted some unsourced statements, etc[edit]

The "Life" section fails to mention why Keegan has never served in the military or seen combat. His has congenital deformity (of the foot if memory serves). This kept him from conscription in the Fifties and from volunteering. To leave out this information, imo, could lead some readers to conclude, completely unfairly, that he's deliberately avoided military service. Everything in his writings indicate that he would have served had he been physically able.

I fleshed out the article by adding (in parenthetical insertions), in the section on his books, those which cover some of the topics mentioned in the first paragraph. This will give potential readers of his books cues as to which of his books quote what (not everyone, for example, realizes that a title like The Price of Admiralty is a book on naval warfare).

I added a quote of Michael Howard's which is directly at odds with the criticism he leveled at Sir John.

I also internationalized some of the British spellings (e.g. "defence"; give the much larger number of American readers and readers of the American flavor of English, "defence" is going to be flagged, unfairly it's true, as a misspelling).

Opus33 looks to have done a good job at removing any blatant POV. And the critics of Sir John are properly sourced scholarly works. Not mere personal attacks. Well, the attack by this Paret is a personal attack of the baser sort, but it is sourced and not made by a wikipedia editor.

PainMan 10:08, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

OK, mild pet hate. Americanisation os spelling is not internationalisation. Whilst I appreciate your concern that American readers might flag British spelling as incorrect that doesn't justify american spelling in an article about a British author and former staff member at the Academy.
Notwithstanding that the article is not well structured and the latter part about the Iraq invasion is disproportinate considering the volume of Keegans output, and seems to peter out without getting anywhere.
ALR 08:44, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

My edits[edit]

OK, I've tightened up further and reduced some of the surplus verbage. We need a list of his works, properly with ISBNs etc, and we need to source the NYT book review and the statement by the third historian. I removed the section on Afghanistan, it was disproportionate and really just a huge chunk of outdated editorial. The Op-Ed piece really just conformed to the Torygraph position on the invasion.ALR 13:32, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Quotes in italics?[edit]

Is there a reason why several quotes in this article are formatted as italicized type, rather than between quotation marks? Alki 00:04, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

I think someone just meant to put full (double) quote marks around the quotations and accidentally put sets of two single quote marks, which Wikipedia treats as an ital marker. I've changed them. Winterbadger (talk) 17:15, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Iraq war section[edit]

Interesting that I'm accused of vandalism for removing the Iraq war section previously, however I stand by the comment I made at the time; it doesn't add a great deal of value to the article.

In any case, I've left in the statement of his view on the invasion, and requested verification, I'd prefer a secondary source rather than his Op-Ed pieces. The lengthy quotations neither really supported the assertion or added anything to the content. Contrary to some views the invasion doesn't really dwarf the last 60 years of political history....

ALR 20:24, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

The opinion on Iraq War wouldn't add much to the article if John Keegan was, say, a footballer. But it just so happens that he is a military historian, so his opinion counts. Even if (or perhaps because) others (e.g. Martin van Creveld) disagree on the point of Iraq War. GregorB 23:30, 2 August 2007 (UTC)


The article says Keegan has also been criticized ... for his critical position on Carl von Clausewitz - but the article does not mention that he is critical of Clausewitz. KAM 20:41, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

I added some things about him rejecting Clausewitz in History of Warfare. It was done from memory and may not be that great, so if anyone wants to change it go ahead but I thought I would stick that in so the other parts made more sense. Mandarim —Preceding comment was added at 03:37, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
  • I disagree with the idea that the sample of historians given here are representative of 'most serious modern historians', although I don't question their seriousness or integrity. Haig used to be generally regarded as cruel, callous and/or incompetent, but as the experience of WW1 recedes into the past, more and more historians are willing to defend him, with the result that he is now arguably more controversial than ever. He is still not now generally regarded as a great commander, just as a better commander than he used to be given credit for. And all the historians listed here could be regarded as firm Haig fans; other equally important historians, such as Strachan, Prior and Wilson, are very critical of him. To reflect the controversy I have replaced 'most' with 'many'. Lexo (talk) 14:23, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
    • On re-reading the paragraph I detect weasel wording and personal opinion in the sentence about there being no more controversy about how Haig was a skilled soldier, so I cut it out. It is not up to us to decide the matter either way. Historians still have not formed a consensus about Haig; therefore he is controversial. Lexo (talk) 14:26, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

The Bassford quote appears grossly unfair, not least because he is factually incorrect, but also because Bassford has a vested interest in defaming - he is not issuing an actual critique via hyperbole - Keegan's criticism of Clausewitz. Either the Bassford needs some additional support, or it should be removed. It's a hard case to make that he has never read Clausewitz when Keegan quotes him in German rather a fair amount. Further, the Bassford quote has the appearance of academic infighting, rather than anything resembling well-thought critique, which makes the tone of the section somewhat sensationalistic, perhaps more at home as a comment heard in some alcove at the AHA than as part of an encyclopedia article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Alkibiades231 (talkcontribs) 18:39, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

I find that the section on John Keegan's criticism of Clausewitz is incorrect. In Mask of Command he directly addresses and complements Clausewitz and openly criticizes the poor interpretation of Clausewtiz by the following generations. It must be noted that Keegan is a critic of the misinterpreters of Clausewitz and is instead comlimentary of Clausewitz himself. This is in fact far more in line with much of the modern Clausewitz historical interpretation and the confusions resulting from his dialectical argument.<mb2bm55>

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one article was rated and this bot brought all the other ratings up to at least that level. BetacommandBot 17:46, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Sourcing Keegan's Thoughts On Public School[edit]

Can someone with a copy of Keegan's _The First World War_ help me source the claim in "Published Work" that Keegan believes mandatory public schooling contributed to the carnage of the 20th century? I'll try to get another copy as soon as I can, but it's a fascinating idea and I need to source it as soon as I can. I believe he mentions it in one of the very first chapters, as he is describing the phenomenon in the first year of the war when entire classes of privileged, draft-exempted academics volunteered for combat, partly as an expression of school/collegiate spirit. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:34, 17 July 2013 (UTC)