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Books - History - Asia - Vietnam - War: A How-to (Part 2 of 2)

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    On War (Penguin Classics)
    by Karl Von Clausewitz
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 June, 1982)
    list price: $12.95 -- our price: $10.36
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    Reviews (42)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Caveat Emptor
    "Buyer Beware!" The Penguin edition of On War is abridged and is missing Chapters Five, Six, and Seven (actually Books Five, Six, and Seven). The Princeton edition and the Everyman edition are edited by Peter Paret and Michael Howard and are complete and unexpurgated. For some strange reason, the reviews of the Everyman edition of On War and the Penguin edition are combined giving readers the idea that reviewers are discussing one edition when they are actually talking about another. The only thing the Penguin edition has going for it is that it is cheaper, so it might be useful for college students taking a course during 1 semester. Otherwise, get the Everyman edition.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Diplomacy By Other Means
    Carl Von Clausewitz (1780-1831) was a Prussian aristocrat who served as an officer during the Napoleanic Wars and who began writing this treatise on warfare upon the conclusion of the conflict.Although primarily philosophical, Clausewitz' efforts are to explain the nature and the dynamics of war.Unlike Sun-Tzu's "The Art of War" which is primarily a work of maxims or dictums, Clausewitz tried to put such concepts into a theoretical and empirical framework.

    This edition does a fine job at clarifying the historical context in which Clausewitz was writing his work as well as what issues he was trying to address.Clausewitz never found his works to be ready for publication but his wife had them published shortly after his death.One can see Clausewitz' efforts to categorize his concepts were strongly influenced by Emmanuel Kant's philosophy. This factor,in addition to his work being mostly rough drafts, can make Clausewitz a difficult writer to follow.

    Clausewitz' most important and relevant concepts to the world today would be his "Books" 1-4 and 8 which deal with the theorical and philosophical aspects of war: his most famous phrase being that war is the execution of a state's diplomatic policies by other means (i.e. organized military force.)The objective of war is to make the enemy do your will (ideally with unrestricted force) which is to make him surrender unconditionally.The question then being who has the means and methods to put those principles into effect successfully.Clausewitz then goes into the concepts of leadership and strategy that are important in winning a battle or a war.Clausewitz' remaining works on offense, defense, and military forces are less relevant as they are more products of the Napoleanic War: their tactical and strategic insights are of limited use in the context of modern mechanized warfare.

    This is a great edition as it is accompanied by a very detailed preface and introductory essays that clarify Clausewitz' convoluted manuscripts.The essays bring his work into modern perspective and discuss its important contributions to modern political and military thinking.I strongly recommend this edition and translation over other works as the reader will simply get more bang for their buck compared to publications by Penguin or others.

    1-0 out of 5 stars DO NOT BUY THIS EDITION OF ON WAR!!!
    On War is an incredible work, but the Penguin Classics edition is terrible - the translation was done by an editor who was openly hostile to Clausewitz, something to do with Kissinger (whom our editor detested) being a Clausewitz fan.There are entire sections that are specifically translated in ways that make Clausewitz look bad, and edits to the same effect.

    I highly suggest that you read this book - but read the Everyman's or Princeton version - those editions have the Peter Paret translation and are far superior in every way.The Everyman's edition in particular is fantastic - hardcover, elegant, and only a few dollars more than Penguin's steaming pile of excrement. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0140444270
    Sales Rank: 15976
    Subjects:  1. History - General History    2. Military - General    3. Military Science    4. Military art and science    5. War    6. Warfare & Defence   


    $10.36

    The Civil War: A Narrative (3 Vol. Set)
    by Shelby Foote
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 December, 1986)
    list price: $75.00 -- our price: $47.25
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    Editorial Review

    This beautifully written trilogy of books on the American Civil War is not only a piece of first-rate history, but also a marvelous work of literature. Shelby Foote brings a skilled novelist's narrative power to this great epic. Many know Foote for his prominent role as a commentator on Ken Burns's PBS series about the Civil War. These three books, however, are his legacy. His southern sympathies are apparent: the first volume opens by introducing Confederate President Jefferson Davis, rather than Abraham Lincoln. But they hardly get in the way of the great story Foote tells. This hefty three volume set should be on the bookshelf of any Civil War buff. --John Miller ... Read more

    Reviews (101)

    4-0 out of 5 stars SHELBY FOOTE'S CIVIL WAR TRILOGY REVIEWED BY JOHN CHUCKMAN
    Shelby Foote's trilogy of the American Civil War has been called America's Iliad and Odyssey, and in some ways it is an apt comparison.

    The Trojan War certainly held a comparable place for ancient Greeks as America's Civil War holds for contemporary Americans. I've always wondered why this should be so.

    I think there are several major reasons. First, the anvil of the Civil War is where America's rise to world power is hammered out. Lincoln, in the long-term view, is less the Patriarch who frees slaves than he is the successful Corporate Lawyer who forges the nation into a feared industrial and military power. The Civil War is revolutionary for America's status, just as the Great War marked the beginning of the decline for Great Britain.

    Second, in a country that has never really quite experienced the horrors of war in the modern era (American deaths for example in World War Two were a little more than half of one-percent of the fifty million lives total, and losses in the First War were almost insignificant out of total losses), the Civil War stands as America's time of great sacrifice and bloodshed.

    There is also the myth and color around the nature of the Old South, stuff about gentlemen, honor, and manliness. Southerners certainly accepted this dreamy view, at least the small number with money, while the other dirt-poor farmers were bound to them through dread of Blacks and the feared effects of slavery's end. Northerners, too, came to accept the colorful myths, and many still do. Southern culture of course was based on slavery, and it was a brutal culture in many aspects, but America has never really come to grips with slavery in its history, and the myths are appealing.

    Mr. Foote collected some wonderful, colorful anecdotes aboutthe daring deeds or marvelous escapes of leading characters in his long narrative. The telling of these tales does remind one of Homer's various intense scenes with leading characters preparing for or engaging in combat. These come like delightful arias in a long opera.

    Certainly, Mr. Foote has captured the great panorama of the Civil War, at least in its military aspects. Some might think the three-thousand pages of narrative a bit excessive, but fans of the Civil War and those who like a good yarn that lasts and lasts will greatly enjoy the books.

    Comparisons with Homer may be taken too far. Homer was a poet. Shelby Foote's prose are sturdy and workman-like.

    Mr. Foote does not deal with all political, social, and economic dimensions of the Civil War, but then that isn't his job, just as it wasn't Homer's.

    This raises a possible philosophical criticism of the work. To a certain extent, with the work's color and sweep and bold deeds, Mr. Foote could be charged somewhat with helping to perpetuate the myths of the Old South, but this is not a point I would want to insist on because those who want to fully understand the Civil War must read other books. This one does just what it sets out to do.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone interested in the Civil War
    The author brings in so many details, but puts these details very effectively together to keep the story moving along.The author uses a language which seems natural to the age and writes of the personalities with genuine admiration and affection as if they had been to dinner with him on Sunday.

    Shelby Foote's interesting writing style of an interesting yet tragic event in our history is a remarkable accomplishment.Every American should have these books as part of their home library.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The most complete work ever on the War
    Shelby Foote's classic multi-volume history of the War Between the States will always stand as THE must-read. Foote gives a balanced and fair account of the heroics and failings of both sides and a vivid account of each battle that makes the reader feel part of the action. Sure to stand the test of time, Foote's works are as invaluable to history and students of the war as the Official Records and the many officer's memoirs. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0394749138
    Subjects:  1. 1861-1865, Civil War    2. Civil War, 1861-1865    3. History    4. History - Military / War    5. History: American    6. United States    7. United States - Civil War   


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    Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant
    by Ulyssess S. Grant
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (15 March, 1999)
    list price: $12.98 -- our price: $11.03
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    Reviews (11)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Man among Men
    The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses. S Grant, and General Grant's conduct of his role in the Civil War stand as two of the highest, most nobly Human and Honorable credits to the United States - ever.
    Conducting an effort involving thousands of people on several fronts stretched over a thousand miles would be a huge achievement even today. But do it on horseback and on foot. Do it without cell phones, GPS, decent maps, radar, and with medical support little better than butchery.
    Tradition has always cast Grant's opponent, Gen. Lee, as a "refined and gracious Gentleman officer", and he was those things. But Grant's simplicity and humility, his intelligence and heart, made him every bit as gracious and elegant as his southern foe.
    Grant's memoirs show, all of us, what the Civil War was really like for, and did to, an ordinary, decent, affable human who could have just as easily been our neighbor, or uncle or fishing partner. It illustrates one ordinary American who achieved the Extraordinary with mostly just his determination and belief in Purpose. Of a hundred or more incidents that prove Grant's goodness and humanity I doubt any could outshine his deep concern for reconciiation at the war's end and his insistance upon immediate respect for the vanquished at Appomattox.He shepherded a nation divided through it's darkest, most desperate days and then gave that wounded nation it's finest hour. This IS Ulysses S. Grant, a Man among Men.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Well Written Work
    An unlikely hero, Ulysses Grant, tells of his experiences during the Civil War in a very contemporary style.It is clear and concise; easy to read and provides some insight into his strategy both in the West and in the East.Definitely a basic volume in any Civil War library.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best Book
    I had to write an anlysis essay for college, and found this book to be the best for helping to understand (Hiram)Ulysses Simpson Grant. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0914427679
    Sales Rank: 4840
    Subjects:  1. Biography    2. Biography & Autobiography / Military    3. Biography / Autobiography    4. Biography/Autobiography    5. General    6. Generals    7. History / United States / Civil War Period (1850-1877)    8. Presidents    9. United States    10. (Ulysses Simpson),    11. 1822-1885    12. Biography & Autobiography    13. Grant, Ulysses S    14. History    15. Military History - U.S. Civil War    16. Military Personal Narratives    17. United States - Civil War Period (1850-1877)   


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    Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman (Library of America)
    by William Tecumseh Sherman
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 September, 1990)
    list price: $35.00 -- our price: $23.10
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    Reviews (18)

    5-0 out of 5 stars "The Most Magnificent Army in Existence"
    "What Dercyllidas said of the court of Persia may be applied to that of several European princes, that he saw there much splendor but little strength, and many servants but few soldiers." So Adam Smith (although it was not Dercyllidas but Antiochus). In an anecdote, he thereby captures the essence of classic small-r Republicanism: a society of individuals who are fit, self-sufficient -- and armed. It is the model that gives such sentimental appeal to the campaign for the right to bear arms.

    Was there ever such a society? Doubtful. But if you wanted to find one, you would have done well to show up on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. a little after 9 a.m. on the morning of the 23d of April, 1865, to review the Army of the West in review formation behind its commander, William Tecumseh Sherman. Here, from his memoirs, is Sherman's own account.

    "When I reached the Treasury-building, and looked back, the sight was simply magnificent: The column was compact, and the glittering muskets looked like a solid mass of steel, moving with the regularity of a pendulum. . . . It was, in my judgment, the most magnificent army in existence - sixty-five thousand men, in splendid physique, who had just completed a march of nearly two thousand miles in a hostile country, in good drill, and who realized that they were being closely scrutinized by thousands of their fellow-countrymen and by foreigners. . . . The steadiness and firmness of the tread, the careful dress on the guides, the uniform intervals between the companies, all eyes directly to the front, and the tattered and bullet-riven flags, festooned with flowers, all attracted universal notice. Many good people, up to that time, had looked upon our Western Army as a sort of mob; but the world then saw, and recognized the fact, that it was an army kin the proper sense, well organized, well commanded and disciplined, and there was no wonder that it had swept through the South like a tornado."

    Sherman had reason to be proud. One assumes that his name still evokes bitter memories around Atlanta where he tore up and twisted so many miles of rail track. But Sherman was, ironically, the kind of general who is good for victor and vanquished alike. He had the temperament of a fighter, but he knew that the goal of fighting was not to shed blood, but only to win. His campaigns inflicted legendary damage but most of it was swift and highly focused. There was some pillage, but even the pillage seems to have been planned and organized and permitted only to the extent necessary for the campaign. In all the accounts that I have seen, there is little or no talk of rape.

    It is a commonplace that good soldiers make bad writers, but the evidence is not so clear. There is a reason why Caesar and Xenophon persist as staples of the classical curriculum. Ulysses Grant, who was said to write military orders so clear that they could not be misunderstood, himself produced a military memoir of great vigor and force. But it is hard to think of anything that will compare with Sherman's own account - particularly his narrative of the long march from Lookout Mountain across George and then up through the Carolinas to the Capital and the end of the war. If there ever was a time to be optimistic about the future of a free citizenry, surely the day of that great parade was the day.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Sherman's own perspective: surprisingly riveting
    William T. Sherman was one of the most fascinating, unique characters of the American Civil War. Explosive, profane and brilliant, he was surprisingly cautious on the battlefield and never incured the casualities of either Lee or Grant. Sherman's strength was in manouvering to avoid combat and he generally succeeded.

    So, how does Sherman hold up as a writer? Surprisingly well. Though the book is not as well-written as Ulysses S. Grant's Personal Memoirs, it is still a solid, riveting piece of work. A small criticism is that Sherman included copious amounts of correspondence which are printed in small letters at the bottom of many pages. The correspondence is frquently difficult to decipher and not especially edifying. The acual text, however, is stellar. Highly recommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the most interesting characters of the Civil War
    After the Civil War, there were many public misunderstandings and misrepresentations about General William T. Sherman.Secretary of War Stanton had caused to be published certain opinions of his that Sherman had messed things up, and many supporters of General Grant gave him all the credit for Sherman's famous march to the sea and Atlanta campaign (which was entirely Sherman's idea).Partly to dispel popular misconceptions about him, and partly to provide future historians with a great primary resource (which intention he states in the opening pages of this work), General Sherman decided to undertake the writing of his memoirs, and this is the result.

    The historical value of these memoirs is enormous.Sherman contributed a great deal to the war, and was partially responsible for the war ending when it did.He conducted one of the most brilliant military campaigns in modern history (actually, they were three campaigns--Atlanta, Savannah, and the Carolinas) and accomplished what many considered to be the impossible.His policy of total war, applied in the South, was utilized by Sheridan in the Shenandoah, and was later slightly modified to be used against the Indians.Thanks to his memoirs, we have a step-by-step account of how this policy developed.

    Sherman's work is engaging and very to the point.He is meticulous almost to a fault in his quest for accuracy and detail.His writing is very, very good, and easy to read.Also, Sherman truly (I believe) endeavored to be completely objective in his evaluations, and accomplished this end better even than most modern historians.He is quick to give praise and slow to censure, but is not afraid to record the failures of his subordinates when necessary.He sometimes points out things they could have done better, but is never overly critical of them.He even admits that he made mistakes sometimes.In fact, I believe this is one of the most objective and fair autobiographies I have ever read.Sherman had much reason to dislike many people, but never, in reading this work, did I find a single instance of him trying to debunk the character of any man.Even Stanton, the man who falsely represented Sherman's actions, receives fair treatment at the general's hands.

    William T. Sherman is a very colorful figure in Civil War history.He may well be one of the most complex and intriguing individuals of the war.To some, he is a barbarian; to others, a deliverer.He is immensely quotable, and was very opinionated and outspoken. If you're contemplating studying the Civil War, do not be put off by this book's length.Far from being a dry account of a man's recollections, this is a very engaging and very worthwhile autobiography, and any student of the war will profit by reading it. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0940450658
    Sales Rank: 8620
    Subjects:  1. (William Tecumseh),    2. 1820-1891    3. Biography    4. Biography/Autobiography    5. General    6. Generals    7. History    8. Literature - Classics / Criticism    9. Military History - U.S. Civil War    10. Sherman, William T    11. Sherman, William T.    12. United States   


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    Davis and Lee at War (Modern War Studies)
    by Steven E. Woodworth
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 November, 1995)
    list price: $29.95 -- our price: $29.95
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    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars was easy to find and was a great thing to read!
    It was ok but if your doing a report then it could get a little boring but it is great information!

    4-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books on war time leadership
    I found this book to be one of the best books about command decisions and relationships between Politicians and generals during the Civil War I have ever read. It covers the battles and the leaders of the Confederacy, both great and flawed. I found it hard to believe that some Southern leaders/generals fought harder against their own side in stupid little infights and disputes. The book goes a long way in explaining Lee's strategy and that of Davis and how they were different and the results of that difference. This book concentrates on the Eastern Theatre, the author's other book 'Jefferson Davis and his Generals' covers the Western Theatre of operations and is brillant in its examination of this area. Both books are well worth reading. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0700607188
    Sales Rank: 942455
    Subjects:  1. (Robert Edward),    2. 1807-1870    3. 1808-1889    4. Army    5. Confederate States of America.    6. Davis, Jefferson,    7. History    8. History - Military / War    9. Lee, Robert E    10. Lee, Robert E.    11. Military    12. Military - General    13. Military History - U.S. Civil War    14. Military leadership    15. United States - Civil War    16. Davis, Jefferson   


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    America and the Great War, 1914-1920 (American History Series)
    by D. Clayton James, Anne Sharp Wells
    Paperback (01 January, 1998)
    list price: $12.95 -- our price: $12.95
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    Isbn: 0882959441
    Sales Rank: 793487
    Subjects:  1. 1913-1921    2. History    3. History - Military / War    4. History: American    5. Military - World War I    6. Politics and government    7. Social aspects    8. U.S. History - World War I (Domestic Aspects)    9. United States    10. United States - 20th Century    11. World War, 1914-1918   


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    Moltke on the Art of War : Selected Writings
    by DANIEL HUGHES
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 June, 1995)
    list price: $19.00 -- our price: $19.00
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    Reviews (4)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good But Needs Maps
    This is an excellent review of Moltke's work. It's clear and lucid and strikes upon those areas where Moltke's thinking influenced later strategic minds. It's one weakness is its lack of period maps. The book has a strategic section followed by Moltke's field account of some actual action that serves as an example of the theory just discussed. But unless you are familiar with the detail of 19th century geography for Austria, Prussia, France, and Denmark then much of the description is far from helpful. You'll get far more out of this book if you have already read "Koniggratz" by Craig and a history of the Franco-Prussian War.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Strategy and Tactics
    Prussia gained ascendancy over Austria and thus dominion of Germany through the art of war by one of its ablest commanders, Moltke the Elder.With Austria defeated at the decisive battle of Koniggratz (1866), Prussia stood alone for the coveted leadership of Germany; therefore, when France declared war on Prussia (1870) to prevent German unification, ironically this afforded Prussia the opportunity to fulfill its destiny.Napoleon III intended to cut Prussia off from the southern German republics; however, Prussia called the other German republics to arms, not for defense, but for a joint attack against the French vanguard, in French territory.The French seriously underestimated Prussia's capacity to rapidly deploy its seemingly disparate forces into one cohesive whole.How did Prussia accomplish this epic task?At the strategic level Prussia was able to marshal all of its forces under one central command, but at the tactical level the subordinate commanders were permitted the greatest independence possible to take the initiative (Selbstatigkeit).

    Moltke states that if one makes a mistake during the initial deployment, one cannot compensate for it later.As the forces evolve, the error propagates concentrically outward like a chain reaction, jeopardizing the outcome of the entire campaign.The French deployment during the Franco-Prussian war suffered from such deficiencies.

    According to Moltke, during the decision phase the commander must champion only one perspective to the green table.Once he has arrived at a decision, although it may not be the best, his subordinates should execute it resolutely.The consistent execution of even a mediocre plan will more often lead to victory (in the long-run) than an inconsistent execution of a great plan; hence, Molke's maxim that `strategy grows silent in the face of the need for a tactical victory'.Moltke states that only a layman believes that it is possible to foresee and predict causal events deterministically in war.

    Moltke counsels commanders with one force just how vulnerable they are to envelopment when they maneuver their force between two opposing formations with 'interior lines' and `central position'.This appears to be a trivial statement; however, one must realize that `interior lines' was Napoleon's favorite attack maneuver, which he implemented so successfully against numerically superior but divided forces (See The Campaigns of Napoleon by David G. Chandler).Napoleon I succeeded because he adroitly maneuvered his one force directly, halfway between the two opposing forces, which effectively neutralized his opponents from acting in concert and from supporting one another.Then he would march to attack one of the two, but the other opponent had to march twice as far (to support), hence, Napoleon I could concentrate on defeating the first opponent and then countermarch to defeat the second opponent that arrived too late, thus, his single force fought as well as two.During the Franco-Prussian war, Napoleon III intended to implement a similar maneuver to cut Prussia off from south Germany.First, he hoped to defeat Prussia, alone, which would entice Austria and Italy into forming a triumvirate with him.Then he hoped the triumvirate would attack the south German Confederation.

    During the Franco-Prussian war, Prussia was victorious in battle, but as Moltke says, `at what a cost'.It seems to me that Prussia's losses were rather high, primarily because of their reluctance to change plans and to break off any engagement once it began.Then the `peoples army' arose like a phoenix in the midst of the vanquished French field armies, which made the consummation of Moltke's final victory elusive.He could not pursue all the remaining military targets; therefore, he just focused on one-Paris.He surrounded the French capital with the preponderance of his remaining forces (150,000) because it was the only strategic option left open to him.

    The commander should position himself with his uncommitted reserves to ensure that they are committed where and when they may be of greatest service; he should not be at the front with units already committed.He should send reserves to those areas where the forward units are already nearly winning, thereby, overcoming these areas of resistance faster, with fewer losses by their timely intervention.Secondly, he should endeavor to bolster tenuous positions or those that are in danger of being lost.

    The attack has the advantage of dictating the course of events to the defender who must conform to them.The advantages are greater morale and confidence gained through the knowledge of the time and place of the attack.The best method of attack is to envelope the opponent with two forces.First, one must attack the opponent frontally with one force to pin down as much of their main force as possible.Then the second force must attack the opponent's flank.Moltke believed that both the frontal and flank attacks should be performed simultaneously, however, if I were attacking the flank, I would wait until it has been sufficiently denuded, since the opponent will be drawing forces from it to counter the frontal attack (i.e., feint).The flank attack is usually the center of gravity (Schwerpunkt), but the frontal attack may be the center of gravity as well.There should be a reserve element to cover the force attacking the opponent's flank.An example of precisely this method took place during the battle of Koniginhof (Austria, 1866).

    This book is a compendium of essays written by v. Moltke that covers many practical aspects of the art of war with historical examples.Many of these methods are just as valid today as they were in 1860.Moltke writes very lucidly with great candor, which is precisely what one would expect of a Prussian Officer.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Moltke vs Clausewitz
    Count Helmut von Moltke was perhaps the greatest military leader during the period between Napoleon and the First World War.Moltke shaped the way that the German Army looked at war up until 1945.What was important to Moltke was not a set of rules or principles, but rather a way of thinking.Initiative and control were stressed, "when in doubt advance toward the sound of the guns". . . While he had great respect for the Prussian philosopher of war, Carl von Clausewitz, whom he had limited contact with as a young staff officer, Moltke rejected several of Clausewitz's most important concepts, perhaps the most eventful being the place of the military in strategic decisions made during time of war.For Moltke the military should simply be allowed to fight the war to the finish at which time the political leadership would be allowed to negotiate the peace.Clausewitz saw war as the continuation of politics by other means, meaning that political decisions did not end with the commencement of hostilities but continued.The editor of this book mentions several similarities including one that upon closer study is in reality another break between the two outlooks.Referring to Book 6, Chapter 8 of On War, he mentions that Clausewitz wrote, "that all strategic planning rested on tactical success alone, because only tactical successes could produce a favorable outcome."Moltke obviously agreed since he thought, "strategy grows silent in the face of the need for a tactical victory."However if one actually reads that chapter in On War one comes away with a different impression since Clausewitz's view is far more nuanced than that of Moltke.Clausewitz had experienced terrible defeat and great hardship during the struggle against Napoleon, having served with the Russians during the fateful campaign of 1812.It was the experience of that campaign which showed Clausewitz the importance of a Fabian strategy (denying battle, allowing an enemy to exhaust himself through exertion).Thus Clausewitz writes, "One may admit that even where the decision has been bloodless, it was determined in the last analysis by engagements that did not take place, but had merely been offered.In that case, it will be argued, the strategic planning of these engagements, rather that the tactical decision should be considered the operative principle. . . That is why we think it is useful to emphasize that all strategic planning rests on tactical success alone, and that-whether the solution is arrived at in battle or not - this is in all cases the fundamental basis for the decision."

    Moltke, during his most successful period, could only see the winning of offensive battles as assuring strategic success.For this reason he developed his strategic sequence which combined mobilization, transportation, deployment, movement and combat into one continuous chain of events.Widely deployed forces would converge at the proper moment and destroy the enemy in a complete or partial envelopment.This worked well in 1866 against the Austrians and in 1870 against the French.His system seemed to promise victory in any war.He had taken the gift of fire from Prometheus and changed its very nature, or so his followers thought.Moltke himself grew more cautious in his later years, suggesting that only a partial success could be achieved in a war against both France and Russia, a political solution would have to be found for the strategic dilemma instead.During the period up to and following the First World War, most German military thinkers followed Moltke's earlier views while giving lip service to Clausewitz.Moltke was the more modern man, the technician of war for the machine age, while Clausewitz was a philosopher, belonging to another time and mode of thinking, or so it seemed.

    Professor Hughes' book provides translations of various examples of Moltke's writings.I found Moltke's views on the training and duties of General Staff officers particularly interesting.The editor includes excellent commentary on various German military terms and the ways that they have been translated into English in the past, some rather confusing.

    In all I find this book well worth the money and would recommend it to those interested in German military history, 19th Century military history, and military strategy and tactics in general, particularly the evolution of military thought.What seems to be missing is an edition of the works of Sigismund von Schlichting, who as Hughes points out provides the key link between Moltke's theories and modern theory. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0891415750
    Sales Rank: 482350
    Subjects:  1. History - Military / War    2. History: World    3. Military - Strategy    4. History / Military / General   


    $19.00

    Armament and History: The Influence of Armament on History from the Dawn of Classical Warfare to the End of the Second World War
    by J. F. C. Fuller
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 September, 1998)
    list price: $14.95
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    Editorial Review

    Major General J.F.C. Fuller argues provocatively that technology matters far more than brainpower in war:

    Tools, or weapons, if only the right ones can be discovered, form 99 percent of victory.... Strategy, command, leadership, courage, discipline, supply, organization, and all the moral and physical paraphernalia of war are nothing to a high superiority of weapons--at most they go to form the one per cent which makes the whole possible.
    If that sounds outlandish--how much, one might ask, of an effect did technology have at Chancellorsville?--consider this more plausible formulation: In modern wars, "no army of 50 years before any date selected would stand 'a dog's chance' against the army existing at that date." Sounds about right.

    Armament and History is a broad survey spanning the ancient world to the atomic age, showing how military innovation has changed the course of history time and again. Fuller never gets mired in dense detail, and has a knack for finding apt (and sometimes humorous) anecdotes. Mounted war elephants, for example, traditionally have had a dramatic impact on troops who had never seen them before. When one general employed them against the Gauls, he confessed, "I am ashamed to think that we owe our safety to these sixteen animals." Yet as Fuller shows, successful weapons always meet even more successful ones (an army once attacked war elephants by covering pigs with pitch, lighting them on fire, and driving them toward the burly beasts). This is a fine introduction to the development of weaponry over the last 3,000 years. --John J. Miller ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Good 2nd or 3rd Book on the Subject
    There are a lot of good books on the relationship between technology and warfare, and if you're interested enough in the subject to read several of them, Fuller is a good choice for #2 or #3.It misses being a good choicefor #1 for several reasons:

    1) Time Frame.Fuller wrote in 1945, and sohis treatment of the nuclear age is speculative rather than retrospective. The speculations are nearly all interesting, but they focus on nuclearweapons to the exclusion of conventional arms with which post-1945 warswere actually fought.

    2) Depth.Fuller is exhaustive on land warfare inthe 1800-1945 era, but often sketchy on the pre-industrial era(s) and onanything connected with the sea.The things he does have to say areinteresting and well supported, but the background to make sense of them isoften lacking.

    3) Perspective.Fuller was a career military officer andone of the people who developed the tactics (in 1917-1919) for what became(in 1939-45) modern, highly mobile land warfare.His view of history is(reasonably and properly) shaped by that experience, and it helps to havesome sense of Fuller the military thinker *before* you approach Fuller thehistorian.

    None of these faults keeps _Armarments and History_ fromsucceeding on its own terms.It's a thoughtful and well-documentedargument.Readers interested in military history and military technologywill find a lot of valuable insights and ideas in it. BUT if you're lookingfor a first (or only) book to read on the subject, try Martin Van Creveld's_Technology and War_ or Robert O'Connell's _Arms and Men_ or Bernard andFawn Brodie's _From Crossbow to H-Bomb_ (roughly in that order ofpreference). ... Read more

    Isbn: 0306808595
    Subjects:  1. History    2. History - Military / War    3. Military    4. Military - Weapons    5. Military - World War II    6. Military Science    7. Military art and science    8. Military weapons    9. Personal Weapons (Military Science)   


    The Second World War (Six Volume Boxed Set)
    by Winston S. Churchill, John Keegan
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (09 May, 1986)
    list price: $110.00 -- our price: $69.30
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Editorial Review

    "After the end of the World War of 1914 there was a deep conviction and almost universal hope that peace would reign in the world. This heart's desire of all the peoples could easily have been gained by steadfastness in righteous convictions, and by reasonable common sense and prudence."
    But we all know that's not what happened. As Britain's prime minister for most of the Second World War, Winston Churchill--whose career had to that point already encompassed the roles of military historian and civil servant with a proficiency in both that few others could claim--had a unique perspective on the conflict, and as soon as he left office in 1945, he began to set that perspective down on paper. To measure the importance of The Second World War, it is worth remembering that there are no parallel accounts from either of the other Allied leaders, Roosevelt and Stalin. We have in this multivolume work an account that contains both comprehensive sweep and intimate detail. Almost anybody who compiles a list of such works ranks it highly among the nonfiction books of the 20th century.

    In the opening volume, The Gathering Storm, Churchill tracks the erosion of the shaky peace brokered at the end of the First World War, followed by the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis and their gradual spread from beyond Germany's borders to most of the European continent. Churchill foresaw the coming crisis and made his opinion known quite clearly throughout the latter '30s, and this book concludes on a vindicating note, with his appointment in May 1940 as prime minister, after which he recalls that "I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial."

    Their Finest Hour concerns itself with 1940. France falls, and England is left to face the German menace alone. Soon London is under siege from the air--and Churchill has a few stories of his own experiences during the Blitz to share--but they persevere to the end of what Churchill calls "the most splendid, as it was the most deadly, year in our long English and British history." They press on in The Grand Alliance, liberating Ethiopia from the Italians and lending support to Greece. Then, when Hitler reneges on his non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union (the very signing of which had proved Stalin and his commissars "the most completely outwitted bunglers of the Second World War"), the Allied team begins to coalesce. The bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese makes the participation of the United States in the war official, and this is of "the greatest joy" to Churchill: "How long the war would last or in what fashion it would end no man could tell, nor did I at that moment care. Once again in our long island history we should emerge, however mauled or mutilated, safe and victorious."

    But as the fourth volume, The Hinge of Fate, reveals, success would not happen overnight. The Japanese military still held strong positions in the Pacific theater, and Rommel's tank corps were on the offensive in Africa. After a string of military defeats, Churchill's opponents in Parliament introduced a motion for a censure vote; this was handily defeated, and victory secured in Africa, then Italy. By this time, Churchill had met separately with both Roosevelt and Stalin; the second half of volume 5, Closing the Ring, brings the three of them together for the first time at the November 1943 conference in Teheran. This book closes on the eve of D-day: "All the ships were at sea. We had the mastery of the oceans and of the air. The Hitler tyranny was doomed."

    And so, in the concluding volume, Triumph and Tragedy, the Allies push across Europe and take the fight to Berlin. President Roosevelt's death shortly before final victory against Germany affected Churchill deeply, "as if I had been struck a physical blow," and he would later regret not attending the funeral and meeting Harry Truman then, instead of at the Potsdam conference after Germany's defeat. Churchill himself would not be there for the conclusion to the war against Japan; in July of 1945, a general election in Britain brought in a Labor government (or, as he refers to them, "Socialists"), and he resigned immediately, for "the verdict of the electors had been so overwhelmingly expressed that I did not wish to remain even for an hour responsible for their affairs." ... Read more

    Reviews (24)

    4-0 out of 5 stars not so great
    This is a gigantic, costly boxed set of six books (each of them thick, oversized, and closely-printed paperbacks).The binding on them is not superior.

    The text itself is certainly not awful, but I will make four points:

    1.Churchill is rightly regarded as being one of the finest prose stylists in the English language, and I do not think this judgment to be far off the mark.However, you likely won't get the same impression from these books, which are written in -- how can I put it? -- a kind of newspapery and insidery style that people who haven't lived through the war will have immense difficulty following.

    There are references to public figures, places, and long-dead political arrangements that might have been common knowledge in the 40s and 50s, but which you are now likely to find quite abstruse and off-putting.Churchill, writing in a kind of shorthand which glibly and copiously refers to all these things, was essentially, it seems to me, writing to his contemporaries.There are no footnotes to explain such references, either.

    2.If you have a hankering to see what people are talking about when they claim Churchill is a master of expository prose, check out "The River War."His power and peerless grace is much more evident there.

    3.Throughout his narrative Churchill heavily emphasizes the role of Britain in the war -- especially during the time when he was in charge.Guess this is no surprise, though.

    4.If you really want a superb and exhaustive narrative history of WWII, Liddell Hart's efforts have yet to be surpassed.They're a little heavy on the military side of things, though.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, 1874-1965

    I started reading these six volumes during my military service in the 1960s, and have not been without them since. I have not only the hardcover edition, but picked up this paperback set also.

    I've always felt the good side of Britain turning their collective backs to this great man after World War II, not returning him to office, was the greatest blessing of all. For to us that action directed him to write these volumes of war memories, and in my mind's eye can see him standing, for he always stood to do his later writings, with both cigar and whisky and soda firmly in hand. Revisiting his firm convicitions that right would eventually triumph over wrong, good over evil. Taking comfort that he almost alone, gave both voice and backbone to England during their darkest hour.

    He always believed too in the myth that King Arthur would return during England's hour of greatest need, and his romantic side must have seen himself somewhat filling that role. He always said if Arthur did not exist, he should have.

    From his earliest, youthful days in office at the turn of the 20th century, he always had a gift for both good writing and good speech. His weak speaking voice, sometimes with lisp, may not have always equalled these abilities, but many of his speeches and writings yet give evidence of this talent.

    I still recall one older gent telling me in a book store years ago that to read these six volumes he needed continuously both a dictionary and Bible by his side. He was happy to share his enjoyment in these books with me, as many thousands of other down through the years have also shared in that enjoyment.

    I'm so prejudiced that it would seem remiss for any World War II library to be without these volumes. No matter what else one reads, I feel this set of books to be requisite to anyone's study and enjoyment of those war years.

    I would recommend these six volumes without any hesitation to one and all. Only the most hard at heart could be against this monumental work. And the farther World War II recedes into the past, the more monumental they become.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Sir Winston spins history & covers his derriere
    It amazes me that this collection of wartime memoirs continues to be held up as an example of Great History & Great Literature.I hope the tendency to do so becomes less & less commonplace as a new generation that never knew Churchill comes to the fore.It seems as though two or three generations, both British and American, becames members of the First Church of Saint Winston, and Saint Winston casts a long shadow.To question his competence or motives was simply taboo for years & years.Only recently have scholars dared to impugn Churchill's memory.

    As to the veracity of the history, I can only say that it is as good as most memoirs.Of course, memoirs by their very nature are suspect & unreliable as historical source material, and Churchill is no more guilty of spinning history than have been countless other writers of memoirs.Churchill made an entire career out promoting himself through writing in the years leading up to his stint with the Admirality.Later, he would devote his energies to dressing up his late father's reputation for posterity in a wholly unobjective biography/hagiography, and then put his own unique spin on Britain's role in winning World War II (which was of course, Churchill tells us, due to his own great leadership).

    Suffice it to say, reading these books is essential to any serious study of World War II, but only in concert with other, more objective works.However, anyone who thinks this is great writing has to be out of his mind!For those who don't know, Churchill wrote exactly like he delivered speeches in Parliament as a young man.Parliamentary speaking during the late Victorian & Edwardian eras was something of an art form, which very much emphasized style over substance.The ability to expound at length, displaying mastery over the language, could make or break the oratorical career of a young MP.Whether or not you were actually saying anything substantial was truly beside the point; Churchill embraced this approach and adhered to it for the rest of his days, both in his speeches and his writings.Why describe an event in one page when you can just as easily do it in ten pages, asks Sir Winston.His prose flows effortlessly, page after page after page, not a grammatical error to be found.It is written beautifully, but it is not beautiful writing --- it is simply self-indulgence.Personally, I find his rather prolix stylings to be hard to endure, but I guess (for the time being) I am in the minority.I guess we will see how things change in the next twenty years or so. ... Read more

    Isbn: 039541685X
    Subjects:  1. History    2. History - Military / War    3. History: American    4. Military - General    5. Military - World War II    6. World War, 1939-1945    7. History / Military / World War II   


    $69.30

    Supplying War : Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton
    by Martin van Creveld
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (12 December, 1979)
    list price: $30.00
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    Reviews (15)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Accountants, Gamblers and Thieves
    Studying this book one gets the distinct impression that some of the most acclaimed military men in history were gamblers with a lucky streak or in other words very successful thieves, who solved their own supply problems by stealing it.

    That is how Napoleon did it while he was winning, but when he organized his own supply for the Russian campaign he lost. Likewise the Prussian general staff got a reputation for perfect planning while in the field the army operated by chaotic requisition. The Schlieffen plan was unworkable from the start, Patton won by stealing from his neighbor units and ignoring the supply bureaucrats and Rommel overextended himself without a chance of winning ...

    Interesting perspectives that give lot of food for thought - even if they may be somewhat biased. For example when Creveldt blames the German general stuff for not preparing the Russian campaign properly he claims that Hitler 's decisions made sense ....

    It is a pity that the book stops in 1944; Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf war would be very interesting by comparison.

    5-0 out of 5 stars the best book about the history of logistics
    Martin Van Creveld provides an interesting overview of how logistics influenced the outcome of miltitary operations. The first part of the book deatils warfare during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the armies had to keep advancing in order in replemish their supplies. If the army stayed in the same area over a large amount of time such as Napoleon's army in Moscow, than the army would run out of supplies. This situation did not change during the Franco-Prussian War in which the Prussian army had to scrounge for food at the outskirts of Paris. All though food remained a problem for the armies there was always a plentiful supply of ammunition since armies of the 18th and 19th centuries expended very little of it. Martin Van Creveld makes some surprising claims in the later part of the book describing twentieth century warfare. Martin Van Creveld believes that the Schlieffen Plan was doomed to failure because of the logistical constraints of the German army. Because most of supplies delivered to the German army were by rail, the desturuction of the railways impeded their advance. Also German planners made no plans to deal with the massive traffic jams in Belgum. The next chapter Van Creveld has an revisionist appraisal of the Germany invasion of Russia in 1941. Van Creveld believes that Germany had the supplies to deal with winter warfare but the inability to transport them across Russia. Due to the difference between German and Russian rail tracks and maintance problems of German engines the supplies never reached the front. Van Creveld strongly criticizes Rommel's handling of the North Africam campaign. Rommel advance to far for his supplies to be replenished. The problem of supply duirng the North African War was that the supplies had to be delivered by trucks that were highly vulnerable to air attack. When Rommel tried to solve the problem by taking Tobruk, he only made matters worse. The ships that arrived at Tobruk were in range of Allied aircraft and as a result sunk. The final Chapter, Van Creveld evaluates Allied operations in Western Europe. Van Creveld believes that Patton's success had to due with the fact that Patton ignored logistic officer's plan for a slow a orderly pace but instead took advantage of the situation to advance quickly. Van Creveld theorizes that Montgomery's narrow front approach could have logistically reached Northwest Germany but were have not captured Berlin. I would highly reccomend this book for anyone who wants a new and interesting perspective about operations during the First and Second World Wars.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
    This is really a number of books in one. It is not very long some 240 pages but it is easy to read and challenging. It is the first book that I have ever seen published on logistics and it is fascinating.

    First and foremost it is a picture of the changing pattern of war. It describes in the first chapter the sorts of campaigns which were run until the time of Napoleon. In those days ammunition would be the most minor problem for an army. Most soldiers could carry enough ammunition in their back pack for a campaign and in a major battle they would fire perhaps twenty or thirty times. In a siege a cannon might fire four or five times a day. The major problem was the provision of food for men and horses. Generally an army could take from the country enough to feed itself. Problems arose if an army stayed in place for any time. A siege would have the power to destroy an area of country by stripping it of everything edible. For these reason there developed a system of magazine storage for siege campaigns.

    The next chapter discusses the Napoleonic period and the failure to set up a logistics system in Russia despite careful planning. This led to enormous French casualties and the collapse of the campaign.

    The rest of the book looks at the Franco-Prussian War, the Schlieffen Plan , the German operations on the Eastern Front in the Second World War, the African Campaign and the operations in France following the break out from the initial beach heads. In discussing these campaigns the author charts the gradual change in logistics. The development of railway systems and integrating them into providing supplies. The development of modern weapons and the increase in the demand for ammunition and for fuel. The importance of motorised transport and the problems created in providing oil and spare parts.

    Each of the campaigns discussed is done so in a way that brings new light onto the mechanics of the campaign and in our ability to understand what happened. The Russian campaign is fascinating as it shows how tough was the problem faced by the Germans. They were able to cobble together large numbers of trucks to supply their troops but were never in the position to replace them once they began to wear out. The amount of ammunition stockpiled was also barely enough for a campaign of four weeks. The German effort in doing as well as they did was incredible but once the Soviets were able to hang on through the initial period then the odds started to swing their way. Germany's supply problems were shown by their in ability to supply winter uniforms and this led to massive casualties from frost bite.

    One of the most fascinating chapters is on Rommel and his campaigns. The material in the book has been quoted elsewhere. In previous times it has been thought that Rommel failed in Africa because of the allies intercepted supply conveys and sunk material on route. The book shows that supplies to Africa were not the problem. The problem in supplying Rommel related moving those supplies the enormous distances to the front. The book suggests that the German High Command knew that this would be a problem and they ordered Rommel to restrict any advances. As we know he disobeyed these orders and won a number of significant victories against the British. What the book shows is that although a tactical genius he had little grasp of strategy.

    The book is fascinating and everyone who is interested in the subject of military history should read it. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0521297931
    Sales Rank: 145257
    Subjects:  1. Europe - General    2. History    3. History - General History    4. Logistics    5. Military - Strategy    6. Military art and science    7. Military history, Modern    8. Reference    9. Europe    10. European history (ie other than Britain & Ireland)    11. History / Europe / General    12. War & defence operations   


    The Patton Papers 1940-1945
    by Martin Blumenson
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 October, 1996)
    list price: $30.00 -- our price: $19.80
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    Reviews (7)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Exciting Fast Paced Biography That Reads Like A Novel
    Martin Blumenson's has created a fascinating and surprisingly readable biography of the World War II hero, General George Patton. Blumenson has taken the General's diaries, personal and official letters and combined them with letters written to him and newspaper articles written about him. These are arranged in chronological order.

    The period covered by this book was the most active of Patton's lifetime. In the last three years of his life, Patton had adventures enough for several lifetimes. After playing a major part in the conquest of North Africa, then Sicily, Patton was sidelined for nearly a year after the slapping incidents. During this time a disinformation campaign was put forth to convince the Nazis that Patton would command a non-existent army group that was to invade the south of France. A month after D Day Patton took command of the recently formed Third Army and drove across Europe, playing a pivotal role in the Battle of the Bulge.

    In this book, Blumenson splices together the actual documents written by and about Patton as the actual events unfolded. Despite being an amalgamation of material from so many different sources, the book reads like a novel. Blumenson very rarely adds his own editorial commentary. This is done in a way that enhances the flow of the narrrative. My only complaint is that it frequently is difficult to determine where these asides begin and end. This readability is what makes the book great and unique. Having read many other biographies that over-analyze and inject the authors' personal opinion into the narrative it is refreshing to simply have the facts laid out in front of you.

    Patton had an amusing tendency to give sarcastic nicknames to his rivals and adversaries. Omar Bradley is "the tentmaker," both for his Arab name and his tendency towards caution, Eisenhower is "divine destiny" for his political ambitions. General W. Bedell Smith, Eisenhower's hated chief of staff, is variously referred to as Beadle and Beetle. At the same time he is privately mocking these people, Patton takes great pains to praise and flatter them publicly. He even admits to himself in his diary that he is a shameless bootlicker and rear-end kisser when necessary. Patton justifies his actionsbecause he feels he must be a sycophant to fulfill his destiny of leading men in battle. Patton even advises his son (who was a West Point Cadet at the time) that the way to advancement at the Academy is to seek out the Commandant and Superintendent and suck-up to them and their wives as much as possible.

    I had low expectations for this book. Every other collection of the letters of famous menI have read has been interesting in spots but unreadable as a whole.Even the famous collected letters of Pliny the Younger are mostly dreary reports to the emperor and uninteresting notes to friends. For Blumenson to have created such an entertaining and informative document from similar material is a remarkable achievement.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A highly effective intellectual reference instrument.
    I used this book while writing a paper for my Graduate level International Relations class.Although it is not considered a classic, it possess and delivers enormously relevant information regarding one of the greatest and most controversial master of war acknowledged in modern history.I commend this book as an pleasurable read, as well as an highly effective intellectual reference instrument.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly readable and insighful
    Although a fan of General Patton, I hesitated to purchase this book.The title indicated a daunting book for reference only, rather than one for reading.But one shouldn't judge a book by its cover; I was wrong."The Patton Papers" is surprisingly readable, and a must for anyone who would seek to understand this American hero.From diary entries to personal letters, Martin Blumenson weaves a fascinating story that makes one feel one is a part of the Seventh and Third Army staff!I recommend that you read a biography first ("Patton: A Genius for War" is excellent) so that you have an overview of Patton's life.A word of caution: reading this book will dampen your enthusiasm for the movie "Patton," as it makes clear the multitude of historical inaccuracies.A really great book! ... Read more

    Isbn: 0306807173
    Sales Rank: 101452
    Subjects:  1. (George Smith),    2. 1885-1945    3. Biography    4. Generals    5. History - Military / War    6. History: American    7. Military - World War II    8. Patton, George S    9. Patton, George S.    10. United States    11. World War, 1939-1945   


    $19.80

    From Pearl Harbor to V-J Day : The American Armed Forces in World War II (The American Ways Series)
    by D. James
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (25 March, 1995)
    list price: $15.90 -- our price: $15.90
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Reviews (2)

    2-0 out of 5 stars The Ups and Downs
    While the authors gave plentiful information on the battles and campaigns of World War II, it lacked a certain flare to bring life to the book and keep the reader on the edge of their seat.At times the book became repetitive to me and I had to push myself to keep on reading.If the plain and lacking style of writing doesn't bother you the information the book possessed it phenomenal.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Pearl Harbor
    This book did an amazing job portraying thoughts of Allied leaders and their struggle against the Nazis.Including their key missions that made a horrendous difference in the out in the out come of the war.The authors did a fantastic job presenting the information while not taking a side to any of the issues it contains. ... Read more

    Isbn: 1566630738
    Sales Rank: 1454756
    Subjects:  1. Armed Forces    2. History    3. History - General History    4. History: American    5. Military - World War II    6. United States    7. World War, 1939-1945    8. History / General   


    $15.90

    Inside the Soviet Army
    by Viktor Suvorov
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Unknown Binding (1982)

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    Reviews (7)

    1-0 out of 5 stars Well, folks...
    There are maybe 1-2% truth, wrapped up in 98-99% lies...
    The problem with the author - he is just a small-time rat cheating on his previous masters, a convincing tale-teller, though...
    If you wish to be misinformed, then this book is just what you need.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Military manual for a force gone by
    It's inviting to ponder "Inside the Soviet Army" today as an artifact of neo-conservative conspiracy:breathlessly invoking the symmetrical waves of motor-rifle divisions and tank armies that would descend upon the West, Suvorov only occasionally halted himself long enough to admit that many of these innumerable divisions were woefully underequipped, and with a perhaps unrecognized pride he terribly miscalculated the fieldworthiness of even the best pieces of Soviet equipment.Perhaps this is understandable, considering how the scrappy weapons of World War II vanquished the Nazis' technologically advanced but underproduced Tigers and Panthers.Still, in hindsight we can see that the Soviet juggernaut was a floundering, rusting mess, technologically disadvantaged not only in regards to ballistic missiles (one issue on which he debunks the myth of Soviet prowess) but more damningly in regards to armour, helicopters, and the infrastructure of modern high-tech warfare.
    But Suvorov is indeed a provocative, and occasionally heartbreaking, analyst of the treacherous political ladder of the Soviet military, its revolting barracks life (more corrupt and sadistic than the worst excesses of late Austro-Hungarian decadence) and its lack of faith in its own mission.He admits his pride in his nation's weapons (tellingly though, he says he only wants to collect those which have fallen into the use of Americans and freedom-fighters, as with AK-47s favored by the Marines in Vietnam for their simplicity and reliability) but his is one of the great voices of testimony against the Soviet system.It is the voice of a gruff man, whose feelings have long held the habit of concealment, writing with simple prophetic urgency against the great danger he perceives to his hosts in the West and their treasured way of life. While his summaries of Napoleonic or WWII history sometimes raise a skeptical eyebrow, the broad outlines at least of his portrait of cynicism, violence, and conspiracy inside the USSR are clear and true.Also, he urges points of military doctrine that remain valid and necessary.Finally, one cannot deny the guilty-pleasure aspect of this book for Risk amateurs and military gameplayers:his tables of military organization, and those vast numbers of motorized battalions, have an uncanny fascination that must appeal to every world-conqueror fantasist.Use in moderation.

    4-0 out of 5 stars "If you don't want to, we'll make you."
    The most obvious question posed by this book in 2003 is "Why would I want it? It's about an army that doesn't exist anymore."
    And indeed, much of "Inside the Soviet Army" is a discussion of military organization and is loaded with outdated facts, figures, and other bumf which are of no interest to anyone 12 years after the fall of Communism.

    My answer is simple. In addition to all of that junk, which is of little intrerest except to historians, Suvorov writes with wonderful black humor and irony about not only the mentality of the Soviet/Russian military (which is timeless) but also takes the reader through the daily life of the Soviet soldier. The last two chapters "The Soldier's Lot" and "The Officer's Path" are worth buying the book for alone. The cruelty, stupidity, waste, corruption, and cynicism of this extinct regime are both terrifying and awe-inspiring, and the lot of the Soviet private could scarcely have been worse if he had been in prison. Indeed, an American prison would be a better place than a Soviet army barracks. Starvation, humiliation, physical beatings, Draconian discipline, drunkenness and even mutiny were almost everyday features of life; soldiers routinely killed themselves, sank into stupors of alcoholism, or became vicious predators themselves, devoid of mercy or human feeling. And yet Suvorov wisely concludes that no other type of army was possible for the Soviet Union, or even desirable: one of the central ironies of history is that had Russia been a democracy in 1941, it certainly would have been crushed by the Germans. Only by the most ruthless use of millions of its own citizens in 'penal battalions' and human wave assaults were the Reds able to stem the German advance, not through strategy but simply by choking the Nazis with blood and eventually, washing them away with it. This lesson was not lost on the postwar Communist leadership, and it is a damn good job we never went to war with Soviet Russia. People who view tens of millions of military and civilian deaths as a necessary part of any wartime equation would not have been hesitant to let the nuclear missles fly.

    I also found his views on the true nature of Communism and Socialism to be original and fascinating. He dismisses the "Evil Empire" myth and explains why Communist countries, not excluding China, must always conquer their neighobors or die, and why no real, permenent peace is possible between free and repressive nations. In hindsight, his analysis was dead on: if you give oppressed people a choice between their current condition and something else, they will always choose something else. Therefore you must seal your borders with guns, walls, towers, mines, dogs, institute a terror, forbid foreign travel, disseminate lying anti-foreign propiganda, and work tirelessly to bring down any country that offers a better life. This last function was the purpose of the postwar Soviet army, and is also why Suvorov ended up defecting from it.

    Suvorov, when he doesn't get bogged down in boring technical detail, is a terrifically funny and cynical writer, a Russian patriot with a searing hatred of Communism. I strongly recommend this book to anyone looking for a non-Western view on war, strategy, and the human condition. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0241108896
    Sales Rank: 1807716


    Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations.
    by Samuel P Huntington
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 September, 1981)
    list price: $24.95 -- our price: $24.95
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    Reviews (4)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Now that we are this book, here's what I say:
    Everything is bad news if it comes with a deadline that isn't met.This book, THE SOLDIER AND THE STATE:THE THEORY AND POLITICS OF CIVIL-MILITARY RELATIONS by Samuel P. Huntington, a young Harvard professor in 1957, when the book first appeared, attempted to establish assumptions that would allow respectable consideration of policies that, in our world, might be used to define who we have become.My differences with this book might be ascribed to a theological framework in which this book is seen as having assumed the existence of hell on earth as the situation which people who voiced political aspirations that did not coincide with the prevailing superpower mentality would have to put up with.The famous Winston Churchill once said something about assumptions up with which he would not put, and the success of this book might be measured by how its views are assumed to be the American views in those parts of the world where America as a superpower is most unpopular.

    This review is being written in a short window of time in which the rulers of Saudi Arabia, whose success, so far, has been contingent on the opposite of liberal policies (they previously granted religious authorities who were considered the most conservative element within Arabian society a veto power over anything the government might do) are hoping that an American victory in Iraq might allow all American troops to be removed from Saudi Arabia, so that democracy might be granted to the people of Saudi Arabia (at a time when the average age is 15 years old) without fear that the anti-American views of Arabian young people will be the dominating political force determining the shape of the parties who will soon be able to demand more control than their government has ever been able to apply to society.As the situation in Venezuela at the moment illustrates, fights over how much oil is being pumped, and who ought to benefit from the economic miracle that oil provides, can do strange things in a nation with a democracy that attempts to let a majority of the people rule.

    Huntington considers America an exception to such class considerations.Though not specifically concerned with the role of Blacks in American society, he assumes that their politics has been entirely liberal in nature."No nascent group ever developed a radical ideology challenging the established order:it was always too quickly assimilated into that order. . . . Radicalism and conservatism were equally superfluous.Incipient and established groups both adhered to liberalism."(p. 145).The few attempts to establish conservative values in American history were mainly ignored by a society that was exuberantly growing in spite of any ideology which might attempt to exercise some form of control.The early part of the twentieth century had produced few instances in which policy had needed an exit strategy, and any attempt to find one in the index of THE SOLDIER AND THE STATE leads to the following entries:

    Expertise, a characteristic of a profession, 8-9; of officership, 11-14

    Extirpation, U.S. policy of, 155-156

    Even page 154 has a bit on professionalism.As Woodrow Wilson said during World War I, "America has always boasted that she could find men to do anything.She is the prize amateur nation in the world.Germany is the prize professional nation in the world.Now, when it comes to doing new things and doing them well, I will back the amateur against the professional every time."The lure of popularity in a liberal society can easily produce this result."In domestic politics each liberal group tends to identify the military with its own particular enemies.Without any recognized function in a liberal society and standing outside the ideological consensus, the military have been a universal target group."(p. 154).Extirpation is the name given to such a policy in this book."Liberalism's injunction to the military has in effect been:conform or die.On the one hand, American liberalism has supported the virtual elimination of all institutions of violence and thus has attempted to do away with the problem of civil-military relations entirely.This is a policy of extirpation.On the other hand, when it has been necessary to maintain armed force, American liberalism has insisted upon a rigorous subjective civilian control, the refashioning of the military institutions along liberal lines so that they lose their peculiarly military characteristics.This is a policy of transmutation."(p. 155).There are no entries in the index for hyperbolic topics like sex, soldiers, or swearing, so there is little opportunity in this book for the ideas which strike me most, considering the unique psychic characteristics of the transmutation of the typical swinging Richard into a short-term ...assassin at Waco, Texas on April 19, 1993, or less notoriously, of any Naval doctor who kept a copy of the Kennedy autopsy photographs at Bethesda Naval Hospital in the ten years after this book first appeared, but I'm convinced that such ideas are within the realm of what is considered conservative in this book.Some people are sick of this kind of thing, and keep projecting its insanity on me, of all people, who tries to keep tying everything to the new direction of American society.I wonder if this makes us the entertainment capital of the world, or what?

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best book ever written on civil-military relations
    At the time of its original publication in 1957, Samuel Huntington's The Soldier and the State reflected a new age in American history--the Cold War era.Huntington, a young Harvard professor of government, focused on policy problems concerning civilian direction of the military under the terms of the Cold War.Basically, he contended that traditional American liberalism was outdated and in fact had begun to pose a national security danger.Until this era, the absence of an overt military threat to American security allowed for a policy of civilian control of the military compatible with liberal democratic values.Traditionally, liberal solutions to domestic problems had likewise been applied to military problems, frequently resulting in failure.

    Huntington offered a theoretical framework for modern civil-military relations.He insisted that liberalism was fundamentally opposed to the proper military ethic; the application of subjective civilian control over the military actually aimed at weakening military professionalism, which was viewed as a threat to democracy, liberalism, and American values.The Cold War, though, required America to keep a large national army during peace time; the army could not return to its traditionally subordinate role.There was perpetual tension between the demands of national security and the values of American liberalism: either American security must be compromised or the influence of liberalism weakened.Only a conservative environment allowed for equilibrium between political influence and the military professionalism that ensured national security.This balance could only be achieved, Huntington argued, by objective civilian control of the military.By maintaining independent spheres of power, with no fusion of civil and military control, national security goals could be maximized with a minimum sacrifice of social values.Objective civilian control allowed for the proper growth of military professionalism while keeping the military a subordinate tool of state policy.The fulcrum of civil-military relations was the relation of the officer corps to the state.

    Huntington was successful in presenting the military as inherently conservative and unwarlike.The military prepared for war but never sought such engagement.Huntington encapsulated the premise of the military mindset as conservative realism.This mindset "holds that war is the instrument of politics, that the military are the servants of the statesman, and that civilian control is essential to military professionalism."This military ethic contrasted with the stereotype of the military as dangerously warlike.A weakness of the book is Huntington's description of military trends between the Civil War and the Great War.Huntington argued that the officer corps remained isolated during this period, allowing it to develop a professionalism free of civilian interference.This isolation theory has been largely disproved by pointing to the military's involvement in putting down labor strikes, relations between officers and the business community, etc.This defect should not detract from the importance of this book as a virgin exploration into a comprehensive history of the American military tradition.With its conservative thesis, it remains in my mind the seminal work on civil-military relations.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Seminal Treatise on the role of the Military in society
    Incisive and remarkably relevant.Huntington delves into the role of the military in shaping and protecting a society.A MUST read for anyone who is in, or deals with the military. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0674817362
    Sales Rank: 52104
    Subjects:  1. Civil supremacy over the milit    2. Constitutional    3. General    4. Militarism    5. Military-Political Relationships    6. Politics - Current Events    7. United States   


    $24.95

    Makers of Modern Strategy : Military Thought from Machiavelli to Hitler
    by Edward M. Earle
    Hardcover (01 June, 1943)
    list price: $58.00
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    Isbn: 0691069077
    Sales Rank: 529219
    Subjects:  1. History: World   


    Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age
    by Peter Paret, Gordon A. Craig
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 March, 1986)
    list price: $35.00 -- our price: $35.00
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    Reviews (5)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Mandatory Reading for Army Staff Majors
    As the title indicates, the Army's Command & General Staff College requires students to read Makers of Modern Strategy in the core history class.Professors can make best use of this book as a supplement.As other reviewers have noted, the chapters are disjointed with each other.Taken separately, however, many of the chapters help the history student or enthusiast to develop a depth of understanding on a particular subject.Authors such as John Shy, Douglas Porch, Michael Howard, and Condoleeza Rice, just to name a few, explore many of the strategic issues involved with the evolution of military thought.

    From Machiavelli and Clausewitz to strategies of world wars and colonial wars, Makers of Modern Strategy adds value to any serious study of warfare.The high quality academic research and thought that underlies many of the articles is worth the price of the book.Highly recommended.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good general military history overview.
    One of the essentials, a good starting point for the study of military history and strategy.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Still, this is a good book.....
    Although I agree with the reviewer preceeding me that this might not be as strong of a book as was the masterpiece which preceeded it (by Earle), itis still a strong book and does (generally) what it sets out to do: toprovide an accounting of major developments in military thought (i.e.western military thought) from the Renassance to the modern age.

    As atext or as a reference, this is still a powerful and useful book. Each ofthe chapters discusses a major figure's thought in a fashion that can bedealt with easily in a sitting: for those people who don't want to sit andsort through Jomini (though everyone reading this should sit down withClausewitz! ) or Douhet, to see their rights and wrongs....

    I like thisbook. I bought my copy for $8.00 in NYC and have had it with me through anumber of moves since.... ... Read more

    Isbn: 0691027641
    Sales Rank: 25548
    Subjects:  1. History    2. History - General History    3. Military    4. Military - Strategy    5. Military Science    6. Military art and science    7. Military history    8. Military history, Modern    9. Strategy    10. World - General    11. European History    12. History / Military / Strategy    13. Political Science and International Relations    14. World History/Comparative History   


    $35.00

    The Best and the Brightest
    by John McCain, David Halberstam
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (04 September, 2001)
    list price: $24.95
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    Reviews (37)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Were they really so bright?
    The Best and the Brightest is an incredible read about a politically and ideologically confused America.Halberstam makes an outstanding attempt at uncluttering the mess that was the U.S. government during the 60s.He also demythifizes the Kennedy team; a team that was comprised of the best and the brightest our country had to offer.Or were they?As described by Halberstam, though many were bright, they obviously weren't the best for the job.Even McNamara, who Halberstam glorifies for his ability to put together a sound system, seems to not be the right man for the job.The generals, particularly Westmoreland, were caught up in their own political/career minded shenaningans, that ultimately brought them down.

    Halberstam's description of the Johnson administration is just down right scary.How any man could lead a nation such as the United States in such a foolhearty way, is unbelievable.According to Halberstam, Johnson didn't know which way was up, and like a fool, he could only fall down.And fall he did, like a drunk to a bar room floor.

    The best part of the book is the in depth analysis of all the character's involved, and Halberstam pulls no punches.According to the generals, the South Vietnamese were cowards.Is that true?Or is it more likely that they were no more eager to kill their own country men than Union/Confederate soldiers were eager to kill their own countrymen?According to Halberstam Kennedy knew practically nothing about what was going on in South Vietnam, and worried continuously about what he was hearing.Is that true?All evidence as presented in the book, says it is.According to Halberstam, the entire war effort was no more than a sham put on by virtually everybody involved.Is that true?I am afraid that I believe that it is.

    I highly recommend this book.I read the 20th Anniversary Edition, and I found it to be compelling and irressistable reading.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Book about America more than it is about Vietnam
    The title of Halberstam's book should clue the reader in to his focus. The Best and the Brightest's focus is on the the American Political and Military Leadership in the 1960's. The backdrop of the book is the Vietnam war and it is against this particularly tumultous backdrop that Halberstam weaves his story about the men of the American political establishment. This book should not really be counted as a history book, for the focus is less on the events than on the people who made the decisions which led to these events. Perhaps better classified as political science, the book is most valuable in providing an insight to the personalities, aspirations, fears and humanity of the leaders who are often presented in cardboard fashion by the news media.

    In fact I would recommend against reading this book as a first primer on Vietnam. Halberstam leaps from place to place and he casually mentions events and names that the reader must be familiar with as to not be lost. However, once a solid understanding of the history is in place, Halberstam's book provides a deeper analysis of the decisions that led to the war. Often times, history describes what has happened, but rarely is the answer of why something happened answered or even approached. We all know that America became involved in Vietnam, but why? What were the policy makers thinking when they decided to escalate the war?

    Halberstam's book is a insicive look at the operation and function of the government beauracracy that runs our nation. Behind the idealism, the proclaimations, the showy patriotism, lies men with the failings of frailties of each and everyone of us. The fear of rejection, the need to please a superior drove the decisions that led to Vietnam more than policy or strategy. It is scary to know and realize that in our day of computers, technology and trillion dollar defense budgets, that the decisions made on war and peace are still up to only a few men controled by the same human tendencies as the rest of us. Even the most rational man of the Kennedy era were not beyond human fears and hopes.

    In summary, read this book not to understand the history of the Vietnam war, but to understand the America political system.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An angry book about men with good intentions
    David Halberstam's "The Best and the Brightest" is a mostly angry, but occasionally sympathetic book about the can-do activists of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.I think this is one of the best books written about the Vietnam War.If you read it today, you will think about Iraq and feel very sad.

    In a way, this is a book in search of a hero and there was perhaps no one in the country with more power than Kennedy to influence the way Americans saw Vietnam and Communism.He had made a speech at American University where he asked Americans and Soviets alike to reexamine their attitude towards each other, but that kind of talk was rare, and it was a speech, Halberstam suggests, that would not have happened had Kennedy not proven his toughness during the Cuban Missile Crisis.Kennedy, of course had enormous doubts about Vietnam; they were based in large part on his reading of history and his own experiences.But those doubts existed during a time of unreal pressures.The culprit is the Korean War and the fall of China to Communism.The fall of China, in particular, would have a profound effect on the American people.It would spark a great debate about who had lost China, and while there was no consensus (some believed that China was never ours to lose and that those events were beyond our control), the State Department and the Democratic Party would take most of the blame.According to Halberstam, the result of all of this was devastating.From then on, U.S. Presidents would find themselves under enormous pressure to not lose any more countries.

    "If there were problems", writes Halberstam "the Administration would somehow glide around them, letting time rather than political candor or courage do the healing.It was a belief that if there were scars from the period (and both the Democratic party and the Department of State were deeply scarred), they were by now secret scars, and if there were victims, they were invisible victims.If one looked away and did not talk about them, somehow they would go away.Yet the truth was altogether different: the scars and victims were real and the McCarthy period had frozen American policies on China and Asia.The Kennedy administration would in no way come to terms with the aberrations of those policies; it had not created them, as its advocates pointed out, but it did not undo them, either."
    ... Read more

    Isbn: 0679640991
    Sales Rank: 309754
    Subjects:  1. 1961-1963    2. 1963-1969    3. History    4. History - General History    5. Military    6. Military - Vietnam War    7. Politics and government    8. U.S. History - Vietnam Conflict (1965-1973)    9. United States    10. United States - 20th Century    11. Vietnam War, 1961-1975    12. Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975    13. History / Military / Vietnam War   


    Ho Chi Minh : A Life
    by William J Duiker
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (28 November, 2001)
    list price: $16.95 -- our price: $11.53
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    Editorial Review

    Ho Chi Minh (1890-1969) fought for half a century to free Vietnam from foreign domination, and the story of his life illuminates the ongoing struggle between colonialism and nationalism that still shapes world history. William J. Duiker, who served in Saigon's U.S. embassy during the Vietnam War, spent 30 years delving into Vietnamese and European archives, as well as interviewing Minh's surviving colleagues, in order to write this definitive biography. The son of a civil servant from a traditionally rebellious province, the future president of North Vietnam was known for more than 20 years as Nguyen That Thanh. It was under this name that he founded the Vietnamese Communist Party, having concluded after reading Lenin's analysis of imperialism that revolutionary Marxism was the most effective tool to achieve Vietnam's independence. He spent 30 years in exile, cementing his communist ties in Moscow and working with Vietnamese rebels from a base in China, before assuming the name Ho Chi Minh in 1942, when the forces unleashed by World War II seemed to be clearing the way for Vietnamese liberation. French intransigence and American anti-communism would delay the emergence of an independent, united Vietnam for another 30 years, but Ho became an icon who inspired the communist North and the Southern Vietcong to keep fighting. Focusing almost exclusively on political events and ideological debates, Duiker depicts Ho as a nationalist first and foremost, but also as a convinced (though pragmatic) Marxist who believed socialism would help his country modernize and correct ancient inequities. This long, very detailed biography is not for the casual reader, but anyone with a serious interest in modern history will relish a dense narrative that fully conveys the complexities of the man and the issues with which he grappled. --Wendy Smith ... Read more

    Reviews (23)

    2-0 out of 5 stars Details, Details, Where's the Story?
    I came to this book very interested in knowing more about Ho and to see this period of history told from the perspective of a figure not normally viewed as a major player.Having previously read Paul Preston's biography of Franco (a long book), I was hoping this would be of similar quality (see my review of Preston's book).It's not.

    This book is very detailed.As one of the other reviewers notes, there are specifics about all sorts of travels and meetings with all sorts of names, places, and times.But, nothing really ties these things together to make a story.It's so bad that I haven't finished the book and probably never will.So, why 2 stars instead of a total blast of 0 or 1 star?Because I do believe the author has been thorough and so this deserves some respect.I just wish there had been an editor or someone to help turn this into a story.

    And the final plug:Preston's book about Franco is really good.

    5-0 out of 5 stars We Needed This Book
    William Duiker has performed a great service to those of us who study and teach the Vietnam War.Prior to the publication of"Ho Chi Minh: A Life," there was no biography of Ho that I felt comfortable recommending to my students.The problem with Ho-biography has always been the seemingly infinite maleability of its subject:Ho was perfectly happy to reinvent himself--and his public face--to serve his tactical ends.He actively participated in the creation of a mythology of "Uncle Ho," the selfless leader of a his nation.As a result, it has always been a challenge to disentangle the reality from the story that best suited his ends at any given time.Was he the monastic patriot who sacrificed family and home for his only love, the Vietnamese nation? Or did he actually have a wife hidden away somewhere?Did his visit to New York as a young man cause him to admire America, or was this a convenient story to tell the OSS's "Deer Team" during the fight against Japanese occupation?And just which of those names that appeared on Vietnamese nationalist pamphlets in the inter-war years were penned by "Nguyen the Patriot" (Ho Chi Minh)?

    I used to tell my classes that Ho was the leading figure of the 20th Century about whom we knew the least.Duiker has admirably taken on these issues, filled in many gaps, and provided credible "guesstimates" where we are unlikely to ever have rock-solid proof.Ho--as Nguyen--spent so much time in the shadow world of Indochinese nationalist expats in Paris, Moscow, and South China that some things must be given up as lost.

    Even more admirable than his painstaking piecing together of Ho's wherabouts and activities prior to World War II is Duiker's attempt to answer the trickiest interpretive questions presented by this very mysterious and contradictory man.This is, after all, the kindly old "Uncle Ho" who set his trrops on the unarmed protesters at Vinh, protesters who came from the same region and same background as Ho himself.Hardly an act of great sympathy for suffering peasants.

    Duiker's conclusion that Ho was both deeply nationalist AND deeply communist provides the only satisfactory answer that I can find to the contradictions of his actions. This serves as a useful corrective, as well, to those who would overdo the "Lost Opportunity" thesis.America might have been able to deal on some level with Ho's Vietnam from the 1940's.But those who would argue this case will need to do so with more nuance and less stridency in the future.On this matter--as on everything else, it appears-- Ho would have made his decisions tactically, while continuing to pursue his long-term strategic goals for Vietnam.Goals determined by BOTH nationalist and communist ideologies.

    I agree with a previous reviewer that the amount of detail in this book is formidable.This was necessary to achieve what Duiker has sought to do.But his publisher may want to consider a scaled-down paperback version of this book for classroom use and the general reader.Most people will not be very interested in the details of Ho's father's professional frustrations or the workings of the French Communist Party after WWI.But I would gladly assign a "classroom version" of this book to my students in the future.

    This is how history should be done.

    5-0 out of 5 stars well reserched
    I would recomend this book to anyone who wants to learn about Ho.This book was not biased as many other books written by american war veterans.This author was unbiased which I belive is important in writing a biography.The only thing I disagreed with the author on is at the end he equates capitalisum with progress which is not always true, some of the poorist countries on earth have been capitalist for generations.This books demonstrates why Ho is one of the great revolutionaries of the 20th century, along with Che Gruvara and Nelson Mandella.Like these great men, Ho's family life suffered bc he was so deticated to his cause.He traveled around the world like these men and his country became a great military power, shatering the inviciblity of the so called honest, heroic american fighting man.Many american GI's still are unable to come to terms with this fact.This book also shows how truely moderate Ho was, unlike those leaders who came after him.If he was still alive the war with communist China may not have taken place.And he cared for the people who had nothing and always lead a modest, meager life, unlike these so called great american presidents like Bush and the Bush clone, John Kerry ... Read more

    Isbn: 078688701X
    Subjects:  1. 1890-1969    2. Asia - Southeast Asia    3. Biography    4. Biography & Autobiography    5. Biography / Autobiography    6. Biography/Autobiography    7. Historical - General    8. Háão, Châi Minh,    9. Political    10. Presidents    11. Presidents & Heads of State    12. Vietnam (Democratic Republic)    13. Biography & Autobiography / Political   


    $11.53

    The Encyclopedia of Guerrilla Warfare
    by I. F. W. Beckett, Ian F. W. Beckett
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 September, 2001)
    list price: $18.95
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    Reviews (2)

    2-0 out of 5 stars Needs less Union Jack worship, and more guerrilla info
    While the book's title would lead one to believe that the primary focus would be on guerrilla warfare, the bulk of th book has little to no info on the tactics (even if only a brief listing) , the politics, nor any real info on various guerrilla strategists (che guevara info less than a paragraph, information on Field Marshall Tito and his tying up more Nazi resources than allied actions in North Africa, paltry info on Chechen guerrilla leaders and tactics, zip on Bosnian leaders/tactics etc). What the book does have is quite a bit of fawning over large (sometime page size) photos of British soldiers staring at the camera (presumably winking at the author) and useless, drawn out (sometime three pages or more which is rather long given the sentences given to just about everything else) explanations of various counter-insurgency terms (but not comprehensive doctrine). Worst of all, the book hardly has any photos (which would make up for its lack of information). Purchase the following books: WAR OF THE FLEA, and the two volume set of Robert Asprey's WAR IN THE SHADOWS!!!!!!!! They provide indepth info on not only the guerrilla groups, but the economic conditions etc that gave birth to them, the demographic compositions (how they affected tactics) as well as counter-insurgency methods used against etc and they both cover from antiquity to the modern era.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Encyclopedia of Guerrilla Warfare
    This is one reference book that anyone who considers themselves interested in any of the following topics - history, military studies, international relations, or regional studies - cannot be without. It is a work of genius by one of the leading experts in this field of study.

    British militaryhistorian Ian F. W. Beckett does a masterful job in examining the issue ofguerrilla warfare in both a "readable" as well as comprehensivefashion. This book can be opened up anywhere and the reader will find himor herself enthralled in this fascinating topic.

    The professional aswell as the simply curious will truly enjoy this book, and it is somethingthat one will just enjoy browsing through. This book will complete anypersonal or professional reference collection, and will provide hours offascinating and educational reading enjoyment. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0816046018
    Sales Rank: 269881
    Subjects:  1. Encyclopedias    2. Guerrilla warfare    3. History    4. Military    5. Military - General    6. Military Science    7. Reference    8. Technology & Industrial Arts   


    Command in War
    by Martin van Creveld
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 March, 1987)
    list price: $22.50 -- our price: $15.30
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Reviews (6)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best book (I've read) on Command and Control
    Much has happened (e.g. Boyd's OODA methodology, etc) since this book was written, but I still think it's the best single book I'ved read on Command and Control.Much of what van Creveld talks about historically is supported by Boyd's OODA theory and similar models of decision-making.

    Highly recommended, and one of those books I've bought and given to others...

    dave

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Commanding Read!
    I first heard about this book during lectures on military leadership. When I finally got around to buying it and started reading it, I could not put this book down. It thoroughly engrossed me in the subject of command under wartime conditions. Although the book uses examples from purely the land warfare aspect, it is easy to see how the concept of command can and ultimately does encompass all three services. The author has researched this subject extremely well (the endnotes are endless)and the bibliography exhaustive. I highly recommend this book to all military enthusiasts as well as the military professional.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and Lucid Book on Command
    This is the first book by Martin Van Crevold I have read, but it is a fine one.In this wonderful tome, Van Crevold analyzes the problem of military command in detail, looking at the evolution of Command systems, paying close attention to Napoleon, Van Moltke, Israel during 1967 and 1973, and the United States in Vietnam.A must buy for any military history buff. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0674144414
    Sales Rank: 179992
    Subjects:  1. General    2. History    3. History - Military / War    4. History: World    5. Military - General    6. Military Science   


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