John Colvin examines the battles throughout the centuries that can be said to be "decisive", in that they affected not just immediate events, but also the final outcome of a war and even beyond. From Salamis in 480 BC, when Themistocles' Athenians defeated the Persians led by Xerxes, through Hastings, Saratoga and Trafalgar to the major conflicts of the 20th century, Colvin assesses the wider implications of each victory or defeat, giving it its proper place in the context of human history. The Battle of Britain, for example, was not only a turning point in World War II, but also prevented the invasion of Britain and German hegemony in Europe.
John Colvin is a former naval officer who later joined the Diplomatic Service and then became a banker with Chase Manhattan and Robert Fraser. His published works include several books as well as articles and reviews.