War

War Historian John Keegan Dead at 78

Wrote more than 20 books, including The Face of Battle.

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He had been on the teaching staff of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, for 25 years in 1986 when Max Hastings announced his recruitment to the paper the day he took over the editor's chair. Keegan proved an unrivalled asset as the Soviet empire crumbled and collapsed, the government demanded a "peace dividend" in the form of cutbacks to the Armed Forces and a series of military actions flared up in the Middle East and the Balkans.

Whatever the subject before him, Keegan wrote with close knowledge of the military arts and a personal acquaintance with many senior serving officers who had been his pupils; above all, he demonstrated a deep awareness of the human aspects of warfare, which was cruel, confusing and frightening, if occasionally glorious.