Battle Exhortation

Battle Exhortation

The Rhetoric of Combat Leadership

A commanding study of the motivational speech of military leaders across the centuries

In this groundbreaking examination of the symbolic strategies used to prepare troops for imminent combat, Keith Yellin offers an interdisciplinary look into the rhetorical discourse that has played a prominent role in warfare, history, and popular culture from antiquity to the present day. Battle Exhortation focuses on one of the most time-honored forms of motivational communication, the encouraging speech of military commanders, to offer a pragmatic and scholarly evaluation of how persuasion contributes to combat leadership and military morale.

In illustrating his subject's conventions, Yellin draws from the Bible, classical Greece and Rome, Spanish conquistadors, and American military forces. Yellin is also interested in how audiences are socialized to recognize and anticipate this type of communication that precedes difficult team efforts. To account for this dimension he probes examples as diverse as Shakespeare's Henry V, George C. Scott's portrayal of General George S. Patton, and team sports.

  • Cover
  • Title Page
  • Copyright Page
  • Dedication Page
  • Table of Contents
  • Series Editor’s Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • 1. Bracing for Combat
    • Previous Consideration
    • Defining Exemplar: Mantinea, 418 B.C.E.
    • Auditory Dimensions
    • Encouraging Directions
    • Summary
  • 2. Indoctrination
    • Recruits All
    • Fraternal Standing in Plutarch’s Spartan Mother
    • Fraternal Standing in Shakespeare’s Henry V
    • Ethos Matters: George C. Scott’s Patton
    • Bill Murray’s Parody in Stripes
    • Summary
  • 3. Tensions
    • Managing Reputation: George Washington versus Daniel Morgan
    • Managing Distance at Second Manassas and San Juan Heights
    • Managing Violence in the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts
    • Managing Love: Julius Caesar and the Tenth Legion
    • Summary
  • 4. Evolutions
    • Eisenhower on D-Day
    • Ridgway’s Turn
    • Slide into Oblivion
    • Return Transformed: Schwarzkopf and Franks
    • Differences by Combat Arm
    • Summary
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index



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