Why do military commanders, most of them usually quite capable, fail at crucial moments of their careers? Robert Pois and Philip Langer-one a historian, the other an educational psychologist-study seven cases of military command failures, from Frederick the Great at Kunersdorf to Hitler's invasion of Russia. While the authors recognize the value of psychological theorizing, they do t believe that one method can cover all the individuals, battles, or campaigns under examination. Instead, they judiciously take a number of psycho-historical approaches in hope of shedding light on the behaviors of commanders during war. The other battles and commanders studied here are Napoleon in Russia, George B. McClellan's Peninsular Campaign, Robert E. Lee and Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg, John Bell Hood at the Battle of Franklin, Douglas Haig and the British command during World War I, Bomber Harris and the Strategic Bombing of Germany, and Stalingrad.
Robert Pois (1940-2004) was Professor of History at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Among his books are The Great War; National Socialism and the Religion of Nature; and Friedrich Meinecke and German Politics in the Twentieth Century. Philip Langer is Professor of Educational Psychology and Faculty Fellow of the Institute of Cognitive Science at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.