Book Review: Decision Points by George W. Bush

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Decision Points is a book I have put off reading for several years but finally got around to. I mainly put it off because I have essentially avoided reading any histories of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars as they hit a little close to home for me. I finally changed my mind because I decided enough time has passed. Don’t get me wrong, I was not angry about the wars, I fought in Iraq in 2003-2004 with the Big Red One, at best I am ambivalent. That is a combination of the military historian and the veteran in me. I decided to read Bush’s memoir because I was curious to … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War by P.W. Singer & August Cole

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If have read some of the old-school thrillers of the 80’s and 90’s like Red Storm Rising, Flight of the Old Dog, or Red Phoenix then you will love Ghost Fleet. This is essentially an update of the Cold War military thrillers and you will love it. The main plot is that at some unspecified time in the near future (it is never explicitly stated) China pulls a Pearl Harbor in an attempt to create a 21st century Chinese version of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity sphere. The Chinese invade and take Hawaii and decimate the US Pacific Fleet through a combination of combat and cyber attacks on defense infrastructure … More after the Jump…

The Battlefield of Cannae: a Site Visit

The Battlefield of Cannae: a Site Visit The Battle of Cannae in 212 B.C. is perhaps the platonic ideal of what a decisive victory should look like.  Western commanders have been trying to replicate it since it happened over two millennia ago.  It was the final in a series of crushing defeats suffered by the Romans in the second Punic War to Hannibal Barca the other two being the Battles of Trebia and Lake Trasimene; one day I will visit these sights as well.  I covered the battle in a post almost exactly five years ago here: http://www.military-history.us/2010/10/rome-and-cannae/.  This past summer while on vacation in Italy I finally got around … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Killing Titan by Greg Bear

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I should have kept complaining. I recently wrote a glowing review of the first book in the War Gods trilogyWar Dogs, unfortunately the second book Killing Titan is not as fast paced or interesting. In fact, I barely struggled through the final chapters. After the fast paced, engaging action of War Dogs I expected this to be a pretty good follow up to lead into what I already knew was going to be a trilogy. War Dogs ends with the protagonist Michael Venn being taken into custody. This book starts with Venn in custody at Ft Lewis being held incommunicado and periodically interrogated by various people as well as talking … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Storming the City: U.S. Military Performance in Urban Warfare from World War II to Vietnam by Alec Wahlman

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Storming the City: U.S. Military Performance in Urban Warfare from World War II to Vietnam by Alec Wahlman is a study of the 20th Century United States experience in urban warfare. It examines four urban battles fought by US forces from World War II to Vietnam. The focus of the study are the operational effectiveness of US forces and how well US troops faced urban combat given the relative dearth of US doctrine on city fighting. The book itself is 261 pages of text divided into 6 topical chapters plus an introduction and conclusion. There are 63 pages of endnotes, a short glossary, and a 35 page bibliography. There is … More after the Jump…

Book Review: War Dogs by Greg Bear

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I complained earlier this year about the lack of good science fiction. Well, I can quit complaining. War Dogs by Greg Bear is a very good book and just what I have been waiting for. This book is science fiction going back to what it should be, a rollicking good tale with a scientific bent. This is a thinking person’s book as the storyline is not laid out on a straight A-B line you have to pay attention while reading to start to put the pieces together. That is one of the things I like about it. It shows that the author has some respect for his readers when he … More after the Jump…

Book Review: 1916: a Global History by Keith Jeffrey

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[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author and/or publisher. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] There has been a flurry of new books dealing with World War I since the middle of 2013 and the approach of the centennial of the war.  There have been several good books, a few great books, many mediocre books, and even a few very barely readable books.  1916: A Global History by Keith Jeffrey is one of the great books to come out about the war recently. First the numbers, there are 378 pages of text divided into twelve topical … More after the Jump…

Podcast: NGO’s: A Rambling Rant

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A fairly rambling discussion about NGO’s and what they really accomplish. I will admit upfront that I don’t have a very good opinion of NGO’s. It seems to me that after 150 years of digging wells in Africa we should have seen more progress than a continuing need for more wells and clean water. It is also a fact that advocacy NGO’s such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch spend an inordinate amount of effort going after western nations instead of the non-western countries that are the biggest and most egregious rights violators. My theory is that this is because western countries actually listen to them as opposed to … More after the Jump…

Podcast: Strategy: It’s Different aspects

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This podcast is a wider discussion of strategy and the different aspects and types of strategy there are. Strategy is not one overarching concept except at its most basic. There are different nuances to strategy and strategy development that exist depending on the level at which the strategy is being developed and implemented. Download this episode (right click and save)

Book Review: Hidden Warships by Nicholas A. Veronico

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While not strictly military history, Hidden Warships is a very interesting book nonetheless.  It details how and where to visit many shipwrecks and sunken ships from World War II all over the world. The book is 237 pages of text with many images in both color and B/W.  It is organized into five topical parts with an epilogue, appendices, bibliography, and an index.  The bibliography is especially noteworthy as it lists an extensive series of websites where you can go to learn more not just about wreck-diving but the course of the naval war in World War II.  Each chapter includes a brief historical note about the ship or ships that are … More after the Jump…

Podcast: Tactical, Operational, & Strategic; What Do They Mean?

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A discussion of what the different terms Tactical, Operational, & Strategic actually mean and how they are so often misused both in history books but especially within the media. Download this episode (right click and save)

Book Review: McNamara’s Folly: The Use of Low-IQ Troops in the Vietnam War by Hamilton Gregory

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[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author and/or publisher. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] McNamara’s Folly is a book about a topic that needed a separate treatment.  The book itself is not large at 212 pages of text. The book is separated into six topical parts with endnotes called “sources”, an index, and appendices. I wish the book had a bibliography but the endnotes are fairly extensive if you do have to search through them to find the first citation for a full record. The first two parts of the book are the author’s … More after the Jump…