If you believe that war is likely to be with us as long as this sinful world persists; if you suspect that the nature of war has nevertheless changed over the past two centuries; if you think that battle reveals human character, its strengths and weaknesses, its quirky individuality; if you are convinced that rejecting war altogether is not the only possible Christian choice—then this book is for you.

Portraits from
the Battlefield

by Max Hastings
384 pp.; $27.50

Military historian Max Hastings writes extremely well and commands an encyclopedic knowledge of his subject. In 15 chapters he offers a gallery of portraits, from the Napoleonic Wars to Israel's 1973 Yom Kippur War. With one exception, each chapter focuses on a single individual.

Hastings, a gifted storyteller, has assembled a colorful and richly varied cast (including the hero of Gettysburg, Joshua Chamberlain, a devout Christian who was a professor of modern languages at Bowdoin College when the Civil War began and a most unlikely candidate for leadership in the heat of battle). But he seeks to provoke as well: to make us think about bravery, heroism, and sacrifice, unfashionable notions these days, in a way that is neither sentimental nor unreflectively dismissive.

Related Elsewhere:

Warriors: Portraits from the Battlefield is available from Amazon.com and other book retailers.

More information is available from Knopf.

Christianity Today's full coverage on the war in Iraq is available on our web site. Another page lists are full coverage of Abu Graib.

CT's February cover story discusses the use of torture in the war on terror.

For book lovers, our 2005 CT book awards are available online, along with our book awards for 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, and 1997, as well as our Books of the Twentieth Century. For other coverage or reviews, see our Books archive and the weekly Books & Culture Corner.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.