Brendan’s Alternate Tagline: This book should have been titled “Get Off My Lawn!”
Quick synopsis: This is a philosophy book masquerading as a look at famous last stands in history.
Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like: None of those in this book!
Fun Fact for History Nerds: None of these, either!
My Take: This book is one of the reasons I have this site.
As of today, Last Stands has a 4.7 out of 5 stars review on Amazon from 278 ratings. It is listed as a military history book. It is not.
I won’t get into the politics of this book, and let’s be clear, this is a book about our current politics. I hate discussing politics because it inevitably leads to arguments which have no end. I am not naïve enough to think books don’t inherently require a political tilt, but that is why there is a VERY important thing to have in any history book: a bibliography. Guess what this book does not have?
A bibliography is the way an author presents the real work of a book by documenting their research. If they say something you heartily disagree with, you can go back to primary or secondary sources to check where it came from. Maybe it changes your mind, maybe it doesn’t. Many historians think George Custer was a dashing figure undone by outside forces. I think his arrogance lead to the death of him and his soldiers. Both can be right, and both can be supported by primary sources. Custer died at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. This is historical fact. Why it happened is up to an interpretation by the presenter and it is their job to prove their viewpoint as much as is possible.
Walsh does none of that.
Also, the actual “last stands” in this book take up shockingly little page count. Walsh actually expects you to know more about them than he presents.
And now I will do my solemn duty and point you to actual history books about the battles…. mentioned?… in this book. All of them have bibliographies.
Verdict: Uh, if you like QAnon then you’d probably like this.
Here are books on actual last stands:
- Custer’s Last Stand – The Last Stand by Nathaniel Philbrick
- The Battle of Rorke’s Drift – Like Wolves on the Fold by Mike Snook and Rorke’s Drift: A New Perspective by Neil Thornton
- The Battle of Chosin Reservoir – On Desperate Ground by Hampton Sides