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1. The Art of War
$27.62 $24.22 list($32.50)
2. Jane's Chem-Bio Handbook (Jane's
$26.99 $24.87
3. Military Innovation in the Interwar
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4. Makers of Modern Strategy from
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5. No Place to Hide
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6. The Complete Art of War (History
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7. On Killing : The Psychological
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8. The Art of War
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9. Masters of Chaos: The Secret History
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10. Book of Five Rings : The Classic
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11. The Tiger's Way: A U.S. Private's
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12. Cold War Submarines: The Design
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13. War Is a Racket: The Anti-War
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14. The Air Force
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15. The Making of Strategy : Rulers,
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16. The Making of the Atomic Bomb
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17. Lost Triumph: Lee's Real Plan
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18. On War (Penguin Classics)
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19. The Pentagon's New Map
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20. How to Read a Nautical Chart :

1. The Art of War
by Sun Tzu
list price: $4.95
our price: $4.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0762415983
Catlog: Book (2003-07-01)
Publisher: Running Press Book Publishers
Sales Rank: 1309
Average Customer Review: 1 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The ancient Chinese general Sun Tzu is universally recognized as the greatest military strategist in history, a master of warfare interpretation. This condensed version of his influential classic imparts the knowledge and skills to overcome every adversary in war, at the office, or in everyday life. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

1-0 out of 5 stars are you kidding me
VERY DECEPTIVE. Makes it seem like its a hardcover book, yet it fits in the palm of my hand. its 3inches by 3inches. That is just ridiculous. On top of the deception, the "book" was a TOTAL RIP OFF.

1-0 out of 5 stars Simply shoddy
``Don't judge a book by its cover.'' They could have at least gotten the Chinese characters the right way round -- the text on the cover is flipped left-to-right. I would not express surprise if this were representative of the contents (translation.)

I can't say I'm particularly impressed with this edition of an otherwise great classic. (Allegedly. I've yet to read it. :-/)

1-0 out of 5 stars Way screwed
THIS IS A MINI BOOK IT ONLY 2 IN SQUARE!!!!!!!!

1-0 out of 5 stars Screwed!
I expected a book not a pamphlet! Thank God I didnt pay alot or I really would have been Pis$#% Off!

1-0 out of 5 stars I've been deceived.
This book fits into the palm of my hand. I feel the seller deceived me in not disclosing this detail in the product description. ... Read more


2. Jane's Chem-Bio Handbook (Jane's Chem-Bio Handbook)
by Fraderick R., MD Sidell, William C., III Patrick, Thomas R. Dashiell, Ken, Md. Alibek, Scott, Md. Layne
list price: $32.50
our price: $27.62
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Asin: 0710625685
Catlog: Book (2002-09-01)
Publisher: Jane's Information Group
Sales Rank: 101405
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Newly updated, the Jane's Chem-Bio Handbook: Second Edition is an essential guide for US first responders that consolidates critical planning information and response procedures for a chem-bio incident. Fundamental on-scene procedural information includes initial response procedures, chemical agent indicator matrix, on-scene handling of biological agents, decontamination procedures, site set-up procedures with detailed graphics, and much more.

Key contents include:

Pre-incident planning

On-scene procedures

Comprehensive management checklists for rapid response

Latest triage and casualty management

Chemical-biological agent descriptions and effects

Chemical-biological agent delivery systems and methods

Management of biological casualties

Post-incident recovery including critical incident stress debriefing

Meteorological conditions

Chem-bio case studies

Jane's Chem-Bio Handbook: Second Edition is also available in Latin-American Spanish, Russian and French. Please ask your local Jane's representative for details.

Intended for:First responders: Military, Police, Fire and EMS officials. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL!
This is a wonderful book for any first responder to have.
It is very easy to use because not only does it come with on and off scene procedures, but it also has quick reference tables and charts. On a scale of 1 to 5 I give it a 10!

3-0 out of 5 stars Tries to be all things...
and falls short. Jane's Chem-Bio Handbook is much improved over the freebie notepad version they gave out a few years back, but it suffers from a lack of focus. The small size, spiral binding, and tabs suggest it is intended as a first responder or incident commander handbook, but occasional topical discourses suggest that it is meant as a textbook. As a result, it is hard to find the information that would be needed on the scene (an index helps, but only slightly), while the coverage of the various topics is too uneven for it to be a good text. In some places, it seems to be simply a compilation of information from various (US) field manuals.

There are some good ideas, but they seem to be sabotaged by the execution. The checklist version of the "Agent Indicator Matrix" (based on the Defense Protective Service model) is a good idea, but it is spread over three pages (instead of being arranged to fit on two facing pages in a landscape presentation or provided as a foldout) so that it can neither be copied easily or used easily in the book. A section on the threat of stolen military munitions, after noting that stockpiles in other countries are not as well secured as those in the US, then proceeds to a description of US weapons without describing distinguishing characteristics of chemical munitions relative to conventional munitions or how the munitions described might relate to foreign munitions.

There are also some surprising errors in the hodgepodge of facts. The volume I purchased indicates that it is from the sixth printing, so I have to presume that most typos have been corrected. One particularly egregious error is in the characterization of liquid phosgene as "...not hazardous except as a source of vapor." This statement is highlighted in a little box with a finger pointing at it on page 106, and repeated on page 108. While certainly it is the vapor that kills, liquid phosgene splashed into the eyes is known to produce opacification. Subsequently, it is stated that "Phosgene [vapor] does not damage the eyes or skin..." Yet it is well known that concentrated phosgene vapor will irritate both the skin and eyes, and, while this would not be fatal, and is usually not permanent the downplaying of these risks is certainly inappropriate, to put it mildly.

To try to close on a positive note, this book does have some good information salted in various odd spots. If you are responsible for a training program, it would be a good book for you to look at, provided it is not the only reference you use. The table of emergency decontamination materials found at a K-Mart, for instance, suggests an obvious bit of homework for your trainees.

In summary, this handbook should not be your first or only purchase, but it probably has a place in a comprehensive library. Given the reputation of Jane's, a bit more proofreading would have been in order.

4-0 out of 5 stars Jane's Chem-Bio Handbook: A useful tool
Among those involved with the planning and implementation of specialized, multi-casualty incident response, this book is quite useful. Field personnel, command staff, and planners - all will find it helpful. I found it to be concise, packable, and physically handy. About the only thing I'd change would be to laminate the pages for weather resistance.

R.D. Lopez, Emergency Medical Services and Disaster Specialist, Dept. of Public Health

5-0 out of 5 stars Well written, portable, multi-purpose
This book offers a concise overview of (1) on scene procedures such as triage and decontamination, (2) general characteristics of weapon classes, (3) details of specific agents, and (4) treatments. It also describes precursor chemicals and 4 case histories. It is better written and more detailed than the comparable book "First responder chem-bio handbook". ... Read more


3. Military Innovation in the Interwar Period
list price: $26.99
our price: $26.99
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Asin: 0521637600
Catlog: Book (1998-08-13)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 184952
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great historic analysis on military innovations
It is a very good review on how things developed between world wars. It provides a good insight of the thinking of the different countries and how they coped with their doctrines and how much they took an advantage of the WWI experiences.
I am rating 4 stars because actually I would like much more information rather than 30 pages on each subject.

4-0 out of 5 stars Readable and Good
This is an anthology of various articles. Generally anthologies are the pits as they tend to lack a central them and the quality will vary. These articles are generally by the authors and as such they are of an even standard.

There are a number of chapters that discuss a range of issues from the use of Tanks to the development of the Aircraft Carrier.

The book is interesting although the area covered is naturally enormous and the amount of space that can be devoted to complex subjects is naturally limited. Despite this most of the essays are interesting and not only for what they say. In the first essay about the development of armored warfare by way of an aside the writer attacks Gueridian as a sycophant and also as a person whose reputation was largely the result of self publicity. Later the English theorists Fuller and Liddell Hart are critiqued as presenting overly schematic histories of the First World War which warped the truth to fit in with their own theories. Interestingly the essay then goes on to suggest that the first world war infantry battles were so complex that even now we struggle to understand them and for that reason it was no surprise that Douglas Haig had the problems that he did.

All in all an interesting book although again very much a starting point for the issue it covers.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Serious Systematic Look at Military Innovation
This may be the one book Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld should read. It is a serious systematic look at military innovation between the first and second world wars and its ten chapters run the gamut from aircraft carriers to submarines to mechanized combined armed warfare (the Blitzkrieg) to the development of radar, the emergence of amphibious landing capability, and the evolution of strategic bombing campaigns. There is a wide divergence of patterns both between topics and between countries. The British led in aircraft carrier development but made a series of organizational and technological choices that left them far behind the Japanese and the Americans. The British also led in the development of the tank but then rejected it as a mobile warfare system and were rapidly supplanted by the Germans who used the 1920s British tests as a basis for their development of Blitzkrieg. The submarine was rejected politically by everyone but was then developed effectively by the Americans and the Germans. The American torpedo failures are a maddening study in bureaucratic rejection of reality and a sober warning to the current peacetime Pentagon.

This book captures the complexity and the lessons of peacetime military innovation as well as any that has been written. It should be required reading for everyone who wants to work on the current problems of transforming the Pentagon.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Food for Thought
Williamson Murray (Editor), Alan R. Millet (Editor), combine again to publish a "must have" reference work for any serious military professional. The articles are universally excellent, well researched, and full of analysis. As military policy makers and strategists confront the ambiguities of the 21st Century, this work provides superb lessons learned from history. Buy the book and read it - it will be time and money well spent.

5-0 out of 5 stars HQDA Recommended Reading!
This book is on the HQDA Recommended Reading list! Enjoy! ... Read more


4. Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age
list price: $35.00
our price: $35.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691027641
Catlog: Book (1986-03-01)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 97556
Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars
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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), it is still a strong book and does (generally) what it sets out to do: to provide an accounting of major developments in military thought (i.e. western military thought) from the Renassance to the modern age.

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

I like this book. I bought my copy for $8.00 in NYC and have had it with me through a number of moves since....

1-0 out of 5 stars Newer is Not Necessarily Better
This second version of the book is disappointing. I would have thought that it being edited by an historian as good as Peter Paret would have improved on the original, which was edited by Robert Earle. However, it is weaker both in scholarship and accuracy, especially John Shy's essay on Jomini. Old myths are resurrected about the Swiss renegade whose own works are generally historically inaccurate.

Many of the older, more professional, historians, who are unfortunately no longer with us were much more careful in their research and writing, hunting down sources that newer historians either refuse to look for or refuse to use. they also were more blunt, calling a spade a spade, and weren't worried about offending people or in 'revisionist' (read inaccurate) history. Political correctness was unknown to these stalwarts.

Books of this type are highly useful. If you are looking for this particular volume, get the first version edited by Earle, even if you have to go looking in second hand book stores or on the internet in used book services. I did, and it is well worth the effort.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good book for general military history
This book gives the reader a good general overview of the development of modern military history. There are many good essays on (in my opinion too many) the 17th and 18th century. The modern reader concerned with more recent developments might find the last part of the book more beneficial ... Read more


5. No Place to Hide
by Robert O'Harrow
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743254805
Catlog: Book (2005-01-12)
Publisher: Free Press
Sales Rank: 361286
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Book Description

In No Place to Hide, award-winning Washington Post reporter Robert O'Harrow, Jr., lays out in unnerving detail the post-9/11 marriage of private data and technology companies and government anti-terror initiatives to create something entirely new: a security-industrial complex. Drawing on his years of investigation, O'Harrow shows how the government now depends on burgeoning private reservoirs of information about almost every aspect of our lives to promote homeland security and fight the war on terror.

Consider the following: When you use your cell phone, the phone company knows where you are and when. If you use a discount card, your grocery and prescription purchases are recorded, profiled, and analyzed. Many new cars have built-in devices that enable companies to track from afar details about your movements. Software and information companies can even generate graphical link-analysis charts illustrating exactly how each person in a room is related to every other -- through jobs, roommates, family, and the like. Almost anyone can buy a dossier on you, including almost everything it takes to commit identity theft, for less than fifty dollars.

It may sound like science fiction, but it's the routine activity of the nation's fast-growing information industry and, more and more, its new partner the U.S. government.

With unrivaled access, O'Harrow tells the inside stories of key players in this new world, from software inventors to counterintelligence officials. He reveals how the government is creating a national intelligence infrastructure with the help of private companies. And he examines the impact of this new security system on our traditional notions of civil liberties, autonomy, and privacy, and the ways it threatens to undermine some of our society's most cherished values, even while offering us a sense of security. This eye-opening examination takes readers behind the walls of secrecy and shows how we are rushing toward a surveillance society with few rules to guide and protect us. In this new world of high-tech domestic intelligence, there is literally no place to hide. ... Read more


6. The Complete Art of War (History and Warfare)
by Sun-Tzu, Sun Pin, Ralph D. Sawyer, Mei-Chun Lee Sawyer
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
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Asin: 0813330858
Catlog: Book (1996-05-01)
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Sales Rank: 16773
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Presented here together for the first time are the greatest of the ancient Chinese classics of strategic thought: The Complete Art of War. Probably the most famous work of strategy ever written, Sun Tzu's Art of War has sold millions of copies in many languages around the world. Lost for more than 2000 years and only recently recovered, the Military Methods of Sun Pin (Sun Tzu's great-grandson) is a brilliant elaboration on his ancestor's work. Only The Complete Art of War brings the wisdom of these two ancient sages into a single volume and gives the reader a unique opportunity to master the essentials of Chinese thought on strategy, organization and leadership.

The Sun family writings on strategy have proven their value through the ages, and they continue to reward careful study. By unveiling the complex, often unexpected, interrelationships of armies locked in battle, they reveal the enduring principles of success in the struggle of life itself. With a practical index to the essential principles of strategy, and Ralph Sawyer's thoughtful chapter-by-chapter commentaries, The Complete Art of War  is designed to bring the reader new insights into the nature of human conflict.

Whether it is playing the game of politics or building a successful marriage, closing a deal or managing a large organization, making war or even making peace, The Complete Art of War  stands as one of the ultimate guides to a deeper understanding of human affairs. ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars The teachings of the greatest military geniuses of all time.
Sun Tzu collected his teachings into the ancient Chinese treatise on military strategy known as "The Art of War" about twenty-five hundred years ago. Afterward his teachings were passed down through the Sun family, or a group of disciples, who edited or expounded upon the original writings until they assumed their current form. Sun Pin was the great-grandson of Sun Tzu, and he used the teachings of his brilliant ancestor to develop his Treatise "Military Methods". This wonderful translation by Ralph D. Sawyer includes both of these ancient texts.

"The Art of War" has been studied the world over by military, political and business leaders seeking to understand the nature of human conflict in all it's forms. Although thousands of years old, the teachings of Sun Tzu remain relevant even today. The maxims of Sun Tzu have been applied by students of "The Art of War" to such modern conflicts as the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

Sun Tzu's teachings range from the seemingly simple, such as "Someone unfamiliar with the mountains and forests cannot advance the army", to the more complex and thought provoking, such as "In order await the disordered. In tranquility await the clamorous. This is the way to control the mind." The manual covers such diverse topics as training, supplies, terrain, the seasons and the use of spys, and includes detailed commentary by China's greatest military leaders through the centuries.

"The Art of War" should be read by anyone who studies military history or strategy, and is part of the curriculum of many of the world's military academies. Studying the teachings of Sun Tzu can help you to form strategies for conflict resolution or negotiating in business, political or social endeavors through a greater understanding of human interaction.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sun Tzu and Sun Pin are timeless
The Art of War is the oldest and best military treatise this world has seen. It is amazing how Sun Tzu can talk about strategy and warfare in thirteen short chapters. His book is just the best about competition and strategy. And now we get to Sun Pin, the military strategist. I have awesome respect for him. He was betrayed and mutilated by his best friend, and still, he survived. He defeated his nemesis in a great strategic way that Sun Tzu would have mostly likely done. These two are the best and if they were in this world today, they would won every war that we fight, by their ability to adapt. If you want to get Ancient Strategy and Chinese Culture, get this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
The publishing of both Sun Tzu's and Sun Pin's works together makes for a valuable purchase. I've found that this translation is also quite easy to follow, and the comments assist with interpretation. These works represent awesome insights into the nature of warfare.

1-0 out of 5 stars suffering
The text does not remotely fill the entire page to lengthen the book and suggest a happier price. Sun Pin's addition is severely garbled because the original text was damaged and it's contadictory. The most likely reason that Sun Pin's methods were forgotten and preserved only in a tomb was because (GEE GOLLY) people believed it wasn't worth reading. The commentary uses the word obvious extremely often among various other uneeded lengthening exercises.The author describes himself as an imaginative entrepenuer.(Sun Tzu flirts with perfection)

3-0 out of 5 stars good additional material
A nice attempt to include additional material about
the ancient chinese strategic art. I stress that it is art
since there are no analytical material here.
But the text is abridged and the translation could be improved. ... Read more


7. On Killing : The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society
by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
list price: $15.95
our price: $11.16
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Asin: 0316330116
Catlog: Book (1996-11-01)
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Sales Rank: 5567
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (98)

5-0 out of 5 stars Necessary examination of a difficult subject.
The good news is that there is a natural aversion to killing our own species. The bad news is that we are unintentionally but effectively training our children to overcome that aversion, Starting with S.L.A. Marshall's famous study of the low firing rates of WWII soldiers, Colonel Grossman has combed military writing to discover this reluctance in combatants throughout history, in campaigns ancient and recent, in cultures modern and primitive. Historically, much of military training and tactics has been designed to compensate for this natural inhibition. In less sophisticated times success was marginal, producing such unlikely scenes as regiments of Civil War infantrymen blazing away at each other at point blank range for hours, while producing few casualties. Modern techniques of desensitization, conditioning, and training increased firing rates in Vietnam to some 95%. Today these same techniques, applied by the entertainment media to our most vulnerable youth, are producing an "acquired violence immune deficiency" which has allowed a "virus of violence" to flourish throughout our civilization, with tragically familiar results. Colonel Grossman's analysis illuminates not only this most dangerous problem, but also sheds light on the psychology of the warrior, post traumatic stress disorder, psychiatric casualties, and the uniquely unjust damage done to our Vietnam veterans. This book deserves the widest dissemination, and discussion at the highest levels, for although it imparts some truths we would rather not know, the heretofore prevailing repression and obsession around this subject are allies of the dark forces that threaten us.

4-0 out of 5 stars Similarities of Soldiering and Selling
I read this book and I review it here not because of any particular interest in sanctioned killing, rather because of my interest in institutional means of getting people to do difficult yet important tasks. I train salespeople and other business leaders.

I first heard the author, Dave Grossman, on a radio interview promoting this book. I heard him say that that in the history of combat from Alexander the Great through World War II only about 15% of soldiers in battle were trying to kill the enemy. He's not talking about the long administrative and logistical tail of the army. Only 15-20% of the people with guns or swords in their hands, facing an enemy trying to harm them, were willing to kill that enemy. I know this is hard to believe. I first heard this statistic from a pacifist and I called him a liar. Then I heard it from this author, a former US Army Colonel and military historian, who references the research of the US Army's official W.W.II historian as well as many other scholars.

Once one accepts this fact, two questions immediately present themselves: "Why?" and "What to do about it?" The first question is easy: most humans have a deep and strong taboo against looking a person in the face and destroying them. Many would literally rather die than cross that line. The second question is more complex and hugely interesting.

Clearly, if only 15% of the assets you have expensively brought to face an enemy are performing, your army has a major problem. The US Army raised this traditional firing rate from 15% up to 50% between W.W.II and the Korean conflict and again to better than 95% in Vietnam and Desert Storm. The British similarly increased their firing rate, to devastating effect in the Falklands against Argentines still performing at traditional levels. All modern militaries have since solved the problem. How?

The low firing rates have been cured by the new ways modern militaries train and lead soldiers. This is where my interest as a trainer of business leaders and salespeople is piqued. I have long noted that the biggest problem with most sales people is that they will not do the uncomfortable or unfamiliar things necessary to make more sales faster. It is not a knowledge problem, it is a performance problem. I figured that if the Army could get most ordinary men to pull the trigger, similar methods ought to get most typical salespeople to dial the telephone.

Grossman reports five factors which influence (determine?) the likelihood of a person to kill: Predisposition of Killer, Attractiveness of Target, Distance from Target, Group Absolution, and Demands of Authority

Many of these factors were well understood and widely practiced in the days of 15% firing ratios. This may be how armies got beyond relying on the 2% of the population willing to kill in combat without dramatic prompting or remorse. A huge gap in combat performance remained because, "When people become angry, or frightened, they stop thinking with their forebrain (the mind of a human being) and start thinking with their midbrain (which is indistinguishable from the mind of an animal). They are literally "scared out of their wits." The only thing that has any hope of influencing the midbrain is also the only thing that influences a dog: classical and operant conditioning." [p. xviii]  The big change came when the US Army began, perhaps unintentionally, to incorporate the behaviors demonstrated by Pavlov and B. F. Skinner and made training much more realistic, repetitive, and rewarding.

"World War II-era training was conducted on a grassy firing range..., on which the soldier shot at a bull's-eye target. After he fired a series of shots the target was checked, and he was then given feedback that told him where he hit.

"Modern training ... comes as close to simulating actual combat conditions as possible. The soldier stands in a foxhole with full combat equipment, and man-shaped targets pop up briefly in front of him. These are the eliciting stimuli that prompt the target behavior of shooting. If the target is hit, it immediately drops, thus providing immediate feedback. Positive reinforcement is given when these hits are exchanged for marksmanship badges... Traditional marksmanship training has been transformed into a combat simulator." [p. 177]

And the citizen soldier has been transformed into a reliable killing machine: "When I went to boot camp and did individual combat training they said if you walk into an ambush what you want to do is just do a right face - you just turn right or left, whichever way the fire is corning from, and assault. I said, 'Man, that's crazy. I'd never do anything like that. It's stupid.' The first time we came under fire, ... in Laos, we did it automatically. Just like you look at your watch to see what time it is. We done a right face, assaulted the hill -- a fortified position with concrete bunkers emplaced, machine guns, automatic weapons -- and we took it. And we killed - I'd estimate probably thirty-five North Vietnamese soldiers in the assault, and we only lost three killed." [p. 317]

Contrast that with the report of a commander in W.W. II: "Squad leaders and platoon sergeants had to move up and down the firing line kicking men to get them to fire. We felt like we were doing good to get two or three men out of a squad to fire." [p. xiv] Sounds a lot like what I hear from sales managers. Perhaps because salespeople, like soldiers, find they must transgress strong taboos to be successful, for example, intruding on strangers, talking about money, and persisting past, "No," to name only three. The salesperson's taboos are clearly of a lesser import than the soldier's, yet the parallel is strong. Both the soldier and the salesperson suffer when they fail to transcend taboos, even though ignoring them is crucial to success and permission has been granted.

Redesigning a salesperson's training to take advantage of these well demonstrated methods of behavior modification can have a similarly spectacular effect. Another key to enhanced salesperson performance evident from Grossman's work is the value of on-the-job group dynamics. "Numerous studies have concluded that men in combat are usually motivated to fight not by ideology or hate or fear, but by group pressures and processes involving (1) regard for their comrades, (2) respect for their leaders, (3) concern for their own reputation with both, and (4) an urge to contribute to the success of the group." [p. 89] Many sales organizations, by contrast, pit salespeople against each other and minimize the role of sales managers. It is a world of lone wolves, though teamwork and leadership are demonstrated multipliers of effectiveness. How much of a multiplier? Modern armies  have faced similarly equipped, by traditionally trained enemies and killed 35 to 50 of their adversaries for each soldier lost. [p. 197] Salespeople trained, organized, and lead on this model can also expect order-of-magnitude improvements.

5-0 out of 5 stars If you are or know a service member...
Buy this book, and read it, or give it too them. While I may not agree with some of the Col's conclusions, the overall book has been a very good read for this veteran.

Stop reading review, buy book now. Your uncle/grandfather/self will thank you for it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read it for your own peace of mind and for all veterans.
Lt. Col. Grossman has contributed to the mental health of innumerable peace officers and soldiers by writing this book. As both a decorated veteran and peace officer, I can attest to many of the topics presented inside its pages. I have used much of the material in my training courses and most recently to assist one of my fellow Vietnam Veterans. I cannot recommend it too highly. It is truly a pioneering work in the field.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fascinating study
ON KILLING is the study of what author Lt. Col. Dave Grossman has termed "killology". This odd term describes, not killing between nations, but the exact circumstances involved when one individual ends the life of another individual, with the primary focus being on combat situations. I've sometimes wondered how I (someone who has never been anywhere near armed conflict) would fare on the frontlines, as killing another human being seems like an almost impossible psychological task. As Grossman casts an eye over historical reports of combat, he found that, apparently, I wasn't alone in thinking that. During the First and Second World Wars, officers estimated that only 15-20 percent of their frontline soldiers actually fired their weapons, and there is evidence to suggest that most of those who did fire aimed their rifles harmless above the heads of their enemy.

Grossman's argument is carefully researched and methodically laid out. He begins by filling in some historical details, discussing the statistics for shots fired per soldier killed for the World Wars and the American Civil War. It's a refreshing and enlightening look at war that dispels a lot of misconceptions. An average solder in those wars was extremely reluctant to take arms against fellow humans, even in cases where his own life (or the lives of his companions) was threatened. Not to say that any of these people are cowards; in fact, many would engage in brave acts such as rescuing their comrades from behind enemy lines or standing in harm's way while helping a fellow to reload. But the ability to stare down the length of a gun barrel and make a conscious effort to end a life is a quality that is happily rare.

The book continues on then, detailing what steps the US Army took to increase the percentage that they could get to actually fire upon their enemy. By studying precisely what the soldier's ordinary reactions were, the officers were able to change the scenario of war in order to avoid the most stressful of situations. The soldier found up-close killing to be abhorrent, so the emphasis was countered by inserting machinery (preferably one manned by multiple soldiers) between the killer and the enemy to increase the physical and emotional distance. Every effort is made to dehumanize the act of killing.

Grossman spends a great deal of time discussing the trauma that the solder who kills faces when he returns to civilian life. Nowhere is this more apparent than in those veterans who returned from Vietnam. Those soldiers had been psychologically trained to kill in a way that no previous army had gone through, and there was no counteragent working to heal their psychological wounds. Grossman takes great pains to discuss how horrifying the act of killing is, and points out how detrimental it is to one's mental health. When the Vietnam veterans returned home to no counseling and the spit and bile of anti-war protestors, the emotional effect was astounding. Most of Grossman's thesis is supported by in-depth interviews and psychological profiles, but it is the story of the Vietnam veterans that comes across as the most disturbing.

Much of the chatter about this book seems to revolve around the final section, the discussion about our own civilian society. While this is understandable, I actually preferred reading the earlier portions, simply because they opened my eyes to a lot about the military that I had been previously ignorant of. I think it would be a mistake to concentrate solely on the argument's conclusion as it rests heavily on the case that has been building. In any event, the book eventually develops its final conclusion: the methods that the military uses to desensitize its soldiers to killing are also being used in our media, but without the proper command structure that keeps people from killing indiscriminately. In a military situation, firing a weapon without proper authorization or instruction is a very serious offense, and this is drilled into the mind at the same time as the desensitization. Without this safety, there is nothing to hold back the killing instinct, and this is one of the main reasons why the homicide rate has increased so dramatically.

Now, I'll say right off the bat that I was partial to this line of argument before I read the book; I think that children repeatedly exposed to such images would almost certainly become blasé towards extreme violence. But Grossman's book gave me so much more to think about. It isn't just a Pavlovian force at work here; Grossman points out many reasons (both stemming from society and the changing family structure) for why young people of today seem much more able to kill than their parents and grandparents were.

I was honestly surprised at how strong of a writer Grossman is. He manages to put forth his argument without boring the reader. By its very nature, a lot of what he discusses is repetitive and disturbing, but the subject matter is so compelling that I didn't mind. Grossman is very logical in his approach and his argument is a powerful one. I highly recommend this book, especially for people like myself who have never experienced war at close quarters. The summary I (and others here) have given is simply not nearly adequate to capture all of Grossman's thorough contentions. ON KILLING made me think harder about a subject that I hadn't given a lot of thought too before. The information and research here is invaluable. ... Read more


8. The Art of War
by Sunzi, Lionel Giles, Sun Tzu
list price: $4.95
our price: $4.95
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Asin: 0486425576
Catlog: Book (2002-11-01)
Publisher: Dover Publications
Sales Rank: 848
Average Customer Review: 4.39 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Widely regarded as "The Oldest Military Treatise in the World," this compact little book, written more than 2,500 years ago, today retains much of its original authoritative merit. American officers during World War II read it closely. The Japanese army studied the work for decades, and many twentieth-century Chinese officers are said to have known the book by heart. Maintaining that "all warfare is based on deception" and that "in war . . . let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns," the author adds: "That general is skillful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skillful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack." Principles of strategy, tactics, maneuvering, communication, and supplies; the use of terrain, fire, and the seasons of the year; the classification and utilization of spies; the treatment of soldiers, including captives, all have a modern ring to them. The author even provides rules for the "blitzkrieg," prefacing them with the words that "rapidity is the essence of war." Still a valuable guide to the conduct of war, this volume will be indispensable to military students and of interest to all those fascinated by military history. Unabridged republication of the edition published by The Military Service Publishing Company, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 1944.
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Reviews (230)

5-0 out of 5 stars How to run a war or Business
Sun Tzu "The Art of War" was excellent. This book is a great book on strategy. Whether you command a nations army, war games or a moderen business. If the reader uses some of these war tactics and strategies in the modern world, they may find it easy to relate. Thus it is easy to relate to this book. Even rivals in sports and entertainment can be outwitted by the wisdom in this book. It also adds examples of some actions, which show how these sayings and writings apply to the real world.

So no matter what you were looking for in this book, whether it be business, sports, war games, or actual wars, you can be sure to learn more on how to best deal with the situation through the strategies in this book.

The book is timeless....and should be required reading for all persons.

5-0 out of 5 stars Truths worth understanding
The Art of War is considered a classic of military strategy, and is frequently rapplied in the business arena. Is it about the military, or achieving victory with the mind? Was Sun Tzu really a general? Did he really behead 50 maidens for not taking his military drills seriously? (The next 50 were more serious students - motivation!)

Independent of the truth of the legend, the truths in this book are worth pondering.

Take one piece of advice, roughly paraphrased as,
"Know thy self, win some of the time.
Know thy enemy, win some of the time.
Know both thy self and thy enemy, and win all of the time"

At the surface, this is so obvious as to not be profound.
But look at it's applicability...

How many companies worry so much about their competitors that they don't understand what they're good at? To defeat a corporate competitor, you must know your competitive advantage.

How many people think, "This purchase is in my best interest, so I'll buy it" without considering the price.

How many politicians are willing to say, "It doesn't matter what the Al Quada was thinking, it was wrong, so we must bomb them" How can we truly beat them if we don't understand them?

There are literally hundreds of these truths to ponder - so obvious until you look at how infrequently they're done.

This ancient wisdom is worth more than reading, it's worth understanding.

5-0 out of 5 stars The ultimate point in strategy !
Sun Tzu's 'The Art of War' is the best book ever written on earth. If I had a chance to read only one book in life, it would be The Art of War.

Sun Tzu tels you how to crush your enemy but the book has deep meanings far beyond the violent side of the war. It teaches strategy, preparation, patience, timing, and basically the mind and the spirit of a real strategist.

The best thing in this book is that it is completely transferable to many things in life: You can apply it to stock investments, to management and to interpersonal relationships and so on.

One last thing as an example : Sun Tzu in some part of the book states the things common in winning armies. In this list one of the items is "[the winning army is] whose ranks are all animated by the same spirit". Here is what they tell you in MBA programs, in organizational behaviour courses : the importance of organizational culture. There are many others to discover in this book.

I recommend you read it and see how a book can be so popular after 2500 years passed since it is written!

5-0 out of 5 stars I will mention the president
This book has nothing to do with George Bush or terrorism, but I feel the need to bring up both issues. George W. Bush is the greatest president in the history of the United States. He might like this book. Terrorism is bad. It must be stopped.

Thank you for your support.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best of the Best
This book is absolutely brilliant, and reading it is a tremendous experience. Sun Tzu is the master, and the Art of War, though aimed specifically on military warfare, is a masterpiece on general strategy and tactics that can be used in many sitautions. In fact, I will bet you that many of the most succesful sports coaches, boxers, businessmen, ploiticians, etc use tactics similar to those found in this book.

The Art of War is not a long book, but despite its size, it is totally packed with content. Some themes of the book include

- always ensuring you are prepared

- adapting and responding to circumstances

- knowing yourself, the enemy, and the environment

- being unpredictable, secretive, and deceptive

- making calculations

- exploiting opportunities

- avoiding your enemy's strengths, and attacking his weak spots

- causing disorder among your enemy

- using baits to manipulate others

- ensuring good teamwork through picking the right people to do the right job, good communication, and synergy

- knowing when to fight and when not to fight

The book is an absolute gem. It is invaluable and a must read. Sun Tzu has a beatiful style, and I really love the Lionel Giles translation, which although old, is still hihgly readable and among the best there is. I also recommend Rodney Ohebsion's tranlsation and selection and arrangement of passages, which is an adaptation of the Giles translation, and is in the book A Collection of Wisdom.

In summary, I would just like to say that The Art of War is definitely one of the greatest texts ever written, and is a must for the student of life. ... Read more


9. Masters of Chaos: The Secret History of the Special Forces
by Linda Robinson
list price: $26.95
our price: $16.17
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Asin: 1586482491
Catlog: Book (2004-10-30)
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Sales Rank: 515
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Book Description

A journalist with unique access tells the gripping, never-before-told, inside story of America's elite troops in action -- from the nadir of their reputation after Vietnam to their preeminence today on the frontlines against terrorism around the world.

Special Forces soldiers are daring, seasoned troops from America's heartland, selected in a tough competition and trained in an extraordinary range of skills. They know foreign languages and cultures and unconventional warfare better than any U.S. fighters, and while they prefer to stay out of the limelight, veteran war correspondent Linda Robinson gained access to their closed world. She traveled with them on the frontlines, interviewed them at length on their home bases, and studied their doctrine, methods and history. In Masters of Chaos she tells their story through a select group of senior sergeants and field-grade officers, a band of unforgettable characters like Rawhide, Killer, Michael T, and Alan -- led by the unflappable Lt. Col. Chris Conner and Col. Charlie Cleveland, a brilliant but self-effacing West Pointer who led the largest unconventional war campaign since Vietnam in northern Iraq.

Robinson follows the Special Forces from their first post-Vietnam combat in Panama, El Salvador, Desert Storm, Somalia, and the Balkans to their recent trials and triumphs in Afghanistan and Iraq. She witnessed their secret sleuthing and unsung successes in southern Iraq, and recounts here for the first time the dramatic firefights of the western desert. Her blow-by-blow story of the attack on Ansar al-Islam's international terrorist training camp has never been told before. The most comprehensive account ever of the modern-day Special Forces in action, Masters of Chaos is filled with riveting, intimate detail in the words of a close-knit band of soldiers who have done it all. AUTHOR BIO: Linda Robinson is a senior writer for U.S. News & World Report. She was a Nieman fellow at Harvard University in 2000-2001 and in 1999 she received the Maria Moors Cabot prize form Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. She has covered numerous wars, guerrilla conflicts and special forces operations, and currently lives in Washington, D.C. ... Read more


10. Book of Five Rings : The Classic Guide to Strategy
by MIYAMOTO MUSASHI
list price: $9.99
our price: $8.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0517415283
Catlog: Book (1988-05-28)
Publisher: Gramercy
Sales Rank: 2978
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Translated by V. Harris.Japan's answer to the Harvard MBA...Written over three centuries ago by a Samurai warrior, the book has been hailed as a limitless source of psychological insight for businessmen-or anyone who relies on strategy and tactics for outwitting the competition. ... Read more

Reviews (88)

5-0 out of 5 stars Places Musashi in an Historical Context
What I prefer about Victor Harris's translation of Musashi Miyamoto's book is the fact that Harris has gone through exacting lengths not just to present an accurate translation in the context of a 17th-century samurai, but to present Musashi in his proper historical context. As opposed to every other English translation I have read, this one includes a chapter which gives a biography of Musashi, and shows many of his creations, such as paintings (including a self-portrait), tsuba (swordguards), etc. We can see where Musashi stayed, and what his grave looks like, etc. For clarity in understanding, this volume, along with the translation by Thomas Cleary, are the best. I should justify that by explaining that I practice martial arts--for those of you looking for a business oriented edition, there are several translations and interpretations out there which are geared towards your needs. For those of you involved in the practice of martial arts, sports, or with an interest in historical strategy texts, I heartily recommend this translation!

Whay does this book discuss? Musashi's masterpiece eschews practice, and decries vanity, ego, and "secrets". Musashi was a practitioner of Zen Buddhism, and the influence of Zen philosophy can be seen everywhere in his writing. This is however, definately a book on the strategy of swordsmanship, and not a treatis on religion. Musashi Miyamoto fought in a number of duels--back in the era of true challenge matches--when usually the victor was the man left living! The realities of his times, the fact that life was so cheap and had to be guarded fiercly, and that Musashi succeeded in doing this is what makes his writing even more precious. This was the book Musashi passed on to the students of his school, the unusual two-bladed Ni-to Ryu (two-sword school). For more on the historical Musashi Miyamoto, read Makoto Sugawara's excellent (non-fiction) "Lives of Master Swordsmen".

3-0 out of 5 stars Lacking Commentary
Many of these books are difficult to understand because they are meant to be used as study and reference guides along with a teacher. The Book of Five Rings (of which I've read 3 of the 5, and am just a few pages away from finishing) is a treatise describing Musashi Miyamoto's personal school of fighting - the school of two skies. He eschews other schools as too this or too that. They concentrate, he says, on technique rather than what swordfighting is all about - killing your opponent.

The text is dry, and the sections are short. They are intended (a) for swordfighters, and (b) to be meditated on. The principals in this book would take a swordfighter years to master. In fact, at one point he says one should study for about 3 years (he gives a specific number of weeks) and then practice for 30 or so more years.

How does this translate into my life? I'm not sure. I don't have enough of a background in swordfighting, the culture, etc. to know how these concepts apply to my life. If perhaps I had a guide, in the form of commentary, I could more easily integrate these concepts into my life. As is, however, this book isn't of much use to me, except as reference for the day when I do have commentary.

I reccomend, instead, Cleary's Classics of Strategy and Counsel. This trilogy of books includes the Art of War, Mastering the Art of War, The Lost Art of War, The Silver Sparrow Art of War, Thunder in the Sky, The Japanese Art of War, The Book of Five Rings, Ways of Warriors, Codes of Kings (which includes several works), The Art of Wealth, Living a Good Life, The Human Element, and Back to Beginnings.

In addition to the text, there is often commentary, and supplementary material that can put the text in context and aid the student on his or her journey. Amazon lists several of these as the same book...

5-0 out of 5 stars Like poetry it suggests more than it says
Okay, so I really have no clue as to what compelled me to buy this book. I hate to admit it but it looked "pretty" and it looked "historical," so I got it. I also love the Japanese film classics starring Toshirô Mifune as the ultimate samurai warrior. Many of them illustrate a combination of charm, sophistication, humor, even comedy, with violence, ruthlessness, and arrogance. The comparative lack of graphic bloodiness tends to focus the viewer on the human dynamics and art of the situation, and while some of these classics have been translated by the Hollywood film industry for Western tastes, what transpires still has a "foreign" feel. One sees the action and senses that something going on here is different, uncomfortable. Upon reading a few paragraphs of the Book of Five Rings : The Classic Guide to Strategy, I understood why.

For one thing, I had not understood that the character in the samurai collection that Mifune had been portraying had actually been an historic individual living in a unique period of Japanese history. Why I should have been surprised, I don't know, since the exploits of the likes of Pat Garret, Wyatt Earp, and Doc Holiday became the basis for a good deal of 19th and 20th Century pulp fiction, TV series, and movies in the United States. In fact, the period in Japanese history that the translator describes sounds not unlike the "Wild West." The sod busters and the ranchers have made their peace, leaving hundreds of gunmen unemployed. The lucky ones find work as lawmen while the unlucky wander the country looking to enhance their reputations by lethal confrontations to see who's "fastest on the draw." The winner may ultimately find a job as a peace keeper; the loser finds a spot on boot hill. In the case of the American western, the contestants use guns; in the case of the Japanese samurai, they use swords and other equipment. Still there seems something more to it. The something more, I think, is a philosophy, a school, an etiquette, even an art that leaves the Western mind a little uncomfortable.

With some of the techniques of sword work and battle strategy, I think that as Musashi himself informs the reader, it is very difficult to "write" how to do a mechanical task. One can only convey the "feeling" that performing such a task has for the expert writer on the subject. In modern times this facet of the learning process is overcome by photo illustrations, but even then only to a very limited extent. As the author points out, there is no substitute for experience with the process and practice, practice, practice. Even the very limited experience I acquired years ago when I took fencing lessons helped me picture more clearly some of the moves the author described.

Part of the difficulty in connecting with the author's experience as he performs the various actions of sword fighting may be that this book is a translation from the Japanese, was originally written in an older version of the language, and embodied an ancient version of the culture itself, one that is no longer available even to modern Japanese let alone a Western translator. A warrior of Musashi's time may well have connected far better with the similes he uses than a modern person. The unique benefit of this fact, however, is that a great deal can be read into the work. Part of this is the author's intention, but part of it is due to the very ambiguity of the work. Just as the author himself suggests, the reader who does not concentrate on the words but allows the mind to float over them makes all sorts of interesting discoveries. For instance a book on dealing with problem people suggested a technique much like Musashi's "To Know the Times," essentially to match the rhythm and intensity of the subject until one can gain control of that rhythm to de-escalate it. His "To Become the Enemy" immediately brought to my mind the individual characters of Civil War generals Robert E. Lee and his opponent George McClelland. As Musashi suggested, the enemy always feels he is outnumbered which means that a few may defeat many if they are trained in The Way. Or as Lee is reputed to have said before a battle, "The Army of the Potomac is a very good one, unfortunately General McClelland brought himself along." Lee understood The Way. He knew that McClelland's personality, or lack of The Way, produced vast armies of the enemy in his mind.

In all a very interesting and surprising book, one I expect to read again and again to mine for concepts. For a slender 95 pages, the author, like a good poet, has packed each word with a maximum of information because they encapsulate concepts and principles.

3-0 out of 5 stars Valuable for the Martial Artist
The Shambala Dragon Edition of Musashi's Book of Five Rings was passed on to me several years ago by a close friend and fellow martial artist after the death of our teacher, who had given it to him. I have kept it and read it numerous times as a reference that is applicable to my own martial arts studies. Throughout, Musashi gives insight into his theories and strategies regarding what he describes as "his" martial art, namely the art of Kenjustu (Japanese Swordsmanship), specifically his own "two-sword" or "Two Heavens" school. Although it is an interesting and insightful look into Musashi's strategies for individual and collective combat, the Book of Five Rings is short on technical details, and therefore difficult to apply to one's own martial arts studies in any specific and systematic manner. This being said, Musashi's writings are still very applicable to any martial art in a generalized way. With its lack of specifics, it is easy to see how publishers and readers alike could make the stretch that the Book of Five Rings is an excellent book on personal or business strategy-- rather than trying to sell it as an outstanding treatise on martial arts. After all, there are a lot more business people and self-help readers to sell books to than there are serious students of martial arts. However, these claims are more wishful thinking and skillful marketing than actual truth. If one wants to apply Musashi's strategies to business or the non-martial life, they will have a tough time trying to translate techniques such as those "on footwork" or "stabbing the face" into effective business management or personal growth strategies. One could certainly apply Musashi's techniques metaphorially, but to do so would be to take the author's instructional commentary entirely out of context. It must be understood that Musashi's Book of Five Rings was not written for business people, or those interested in self-help techniques. It was written about martial arts, for martial artists, by an undisputed master of martial arts, and must be read with this fact in mind to be truly appreciated and understood. Every serious martial artist should own it, and study it and apply its general lessons throughout his or her martial arts career. The Shambala Dragon Edition, includes Yagyu Munenori's masterful "Book of Family Traditions and the Art of War" which is an added bonus for serious students of Japanese martial arts.

5-0 out of 5 stars Multi-layered
On the surface this book appears to be about the martial arts, warfare, swordplay. However, a careful reading with an open mind will surprise the reader not particularly focused on those aspects. Readers who've trained themselves to read complexity and symbolism as an overlay for everyday life experiences will find a strategy for the human life experience hidden here barely beneath the surface. It's only one strategy, and not necessarily the one you'll choose to lead your own life, but it's still worth studying and comprehending. In fact, readers completely unfamiliar with martial arts will find many 'lessons in life' worth digesting.

I believe it's worth the time and effort for study in the same sense as classic Chinese and European works of similar ilk. ... Read more


11. The Tiger's Way: A U.S. Private's Best Chance for Survival
by H. John Poole
list price: $16.95
our price: $16.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0963869566
Catlog: Book (2003-10)
Publisher: Posterity Pr
Sales Rank: 91034
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Tiger's Way: A U.S. Private’s Best Chance for Survival is not just fun reading for novice riflemen; it is mission-essential information for all ranks and job descriptions.The U.S. military lost on the ground to Eastern guerrillas 30 years ago, and its tactics haven’t significantly changed.The Tiger’s Way shows how to reverse this trend at a most opportune time.Without better tactical technique at the individual and small-unit level, U.S. forces cannot project minimal force.Without minimal force, they cannot win the hearts and minds of the people.Without winning the hearts and minds of the people, they cannot win a guerrilla war.The Tiger’s Way reveals—for the first time—the state of the art in technique for every category of short-range combat.It does so through 100 illustrations, 1600 endnotes, and 31 battledrills.

But the book will also help U.S. forces to suffer fewer casualties in a total war.As Western weapons systems have become more lethal, Eastern armies have turned to tiny, surprise-oriented maneuver elements.Most now give their lowest ranks both conventional and unconventional abilities. Until the U.S. military follows suit, its nonrates will have less field skill, initiative, and tactical-decision-making experience than their Eastern counterparts.That means they will be at a decided disadvantage in any one-on-one encounter and die unnecessarily every time their firepower fails. It also means that their commanders will have trouble winning a "4th generation" war. The Tiger’s Way will have a profound effect on how foreign war and homeland security are conducted in the future. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for Future Officers
My mentor, MAJ Donald E. Vandergriff, uses John Poole's books for the textbooks in his Military Science class here at Georgetown. I started reading them during my first years in the ROTC program. I was captivated by Mr. Poole's ingenious ideas. I must say that in my opinion, The Tiger's Way is his best book yet. It's one of those books that makes a highlighter useless. If you highlighted the important parts, you'd end up highlighting the whole thing! Mr. Poole wastes no space with information less than vital.
As an officer in training, I find that The Tiger's Way provides solutions to the countless questions that have perplexed me in the study of military art. Before I read The Tiger's Way I would always ask questions like, "What changes do we make when it's dark outside? Is that tactic really practical if you're getting shot at? How would that tactic work if the enemy did X or Y? What if the enemy doesn't do what you expect? What if the enemy hides underground?" Our future enemies will use all the tricks I wondered about and more. We cannot stubbornly hide behind our rigid doctrine and superior firepower. The US military will either evolve or suffer increased casualties at the hands of cunning adversaries. Mr. Poole offers a solution!
Mr. Poole lays out detailed descriptions of countless unconventional, deceptive tactics, drawing from a diverse and staggeringly immense list of sources. Mr. Poole's book will both expand Soldiers' tactical repertoire and warn them about what they might expect to encounter when facing a more deceptive adversary. Any cadet who is serious about actually fighting and winning someday should read The Tiger's Way backwards and forwards. Despite my limited experience in the military to this point, I can tell when I read something that is on target. It doesn't take a genius or a combat veteran to see the profound truth in Mr. Poole's writing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Something Everyone Can Use, Not Just Read
This book is a must read for all ranks. Today's military is falsely secure in its ability to prosecute military operations via the use of high tech weapons and combat support systems, while continuously failing to realize that the human dimension is where warfare truly lies. Such a false sense of security may
result in a preventable number of deaths of our servicemen - especially today in Iraq and Afghanistan.

More money, more fancy contract competing complicated weapon systems and competing battle rhythms do not equal success. Such upper level stresses are impacting the Warfighters ability to fight and survive.

Since it is unfortunate that the United States population is a "quick fix" society and is easily manipulated by today's, often slanted, media reports which endangers the lives of service men and women, Poole's book quickly provides insight into what commanders, troops, media reporters and citizens of this country need to understand about our technologically inferior enemies. And, that as long as the United States remains a Super/Mega Power, technologically inferior forces will attempt to find gaps and exploit them in order to limit/stunt U.S. resolve.

John Poole takes the reader into the Eastern Mindset of warfare. Although the concepts he centers on pertain mostly to Far East Asia (i.e. China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam), those concepts have spread into Central and South West Asia as specified in this book which is well cited. The major take-away in The Tiger's Way, is the enemy's employment of deception and carefully choosing battles that are intended to be already won before execution, with the most important concept being that the enemy will let you see what he wants you to see.

So why is The Tiger's Way a must read for reporters? John Poole cites examples in how an enemy would use deception against U.S. armed forces to use weapon systems against innocent civilians and slow/deter the momentum of the U.S. resolve. This book also provides areas that reporters/investigative reporters might want to research to get as accurate a picture as possible into how a technologically inferior foe will attempt to defeat the United States.

Why is this a must read for Commanders? Commander's can see how staff exercises, command over tasking, limited free play and a reluctance to allow subordinates into developing their own initiative and decision making skills can contribute to their demise. This book also illustrates how U.S. forces are fighting today's threats like the linear fighting Brits tried to fight the Indians who employed guerilla tactics during the Seven Years War. The enemy sees us, while we cannot see him and the ENEMY CHOOSES THE TIME AND PLACE TO FIGHT.

Why is The Tiger's Way important for Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs)? NCOs now have a tool they can use to develop training plans, and to develop initiative in their subordinates who have to be on the front lines for combat and rear area security operations. It's simply not enough that every Marine is a rifleman.

Why is this a read for other military personnel?

C2- John Poole's The Tiger's Way emphasizes, and explains how the enemy desires to eliminate Command and Control without high tech equipment and by disrupting U.S. forces decision making processes.

Intel- Intel types are provided insight into the importance of debriefing personnel, and teaching other small unit personnel how to debrief their own personnel in order to force the data to intelligence sections for accurate threat assessments. Enemy Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) are addressed that can assist an Intel Collections Manager in answering intelligence gaps. Indicators are provided too, or sought, by various collection tools to identify, target and eliminate a threat. The importance of a strong human intelligence collection capability is stressed as being significantly more important than high tech systems which can be deceived or avoided.

Logistics & Force Protection - Logistics types are given some ideas on how to protect their own logistics assets i.e. convoys, rear area security personnel, etc.

Fires- Fires personnel will understand what the enemy may very likely attempt to do in order to avoid being decimated by artillery or close air support.

Maneuver/Grunts- Warfighters will have an idea of what types of patterns to look for leading up to an enemy attack, or hostile intelligence collection effort. Warfighters will also understand that their collected and forwarded observations on site will provide members of the staff and supporting elements the needed data to properly ascertain and eliminate a threat. In other words, all warfighters are intel collectors and it is their job to forward the data to aid in putting an end to the conflict. Last, Poole's well cited book provides direction to other resources which are rare and difficult to find, information that is most important to the people who are actually doing the fighting. Another well written book by John Poole is Phantom Soldier which provides even more resources to facilitate further research.

Finally, The Tiger's Way is an intelligence product that provides insight into today's enemy threat and reducing uncertainty. Most intelligence products focus too much on terrain, weather and other quantitative issues and often ignore the human element to warfare. This book addresses what is ignored, and what ultimately kills our people.

5-0 out of 5 stars Review:
The United States now contends with a non-western foe whose combat success relies on guile and not upon force alone. The U.S. grunt faces a foe entirely different from his former "Cold War" opponent. H.John Poole attempts to show how the U.S. fighting man (and woman) can prevail against this opponent.
"Tiger's Way" examines the eastern Eurasian grunt's tactical edge over the U.S. approach to infantry combat. Part I discusses the U.S. fighting style as it relates to the highly touted "maneuver warfare" which the American military has dabbled with since the 1980s. The author concludes that hi-tech U.S. weapons can come up short against the current opponent's skills and techniques at the 75 yard-line. Part II describes those proficiencies attributed to the "Eastern Way" warrior - and necessary for the U.S. grunt to prevail within this 75 yard-line - where, more and more the outcomes will count in strategic currency. Part III continues with tactical applications of these skills, illustrating these with examples from past conflicts. Part IV indicates directions for reform. Appendices provide tables of perceived casualties from the Korean and Vietnam wars, examples of "Eastern Way" combatants' training and battle drills to build the U.S. grunt's proficiencies.
The book is very readable and well researched. Some common themes interwoven through the work include: the "Eastern Way" warrior has eveolved tactically and practiced maneuver warfare for quite some time; U.S. forces are over-controlled, highly dependant on sophisticated arms and continue to conduct "attrition" combat which, rather than out-thinking the opponent, focuses upon destroying him; this reflecting a lack of field proficiency and short-range combat skills. The "eastern Way" grunt is learning to deal with American hi-tech weapons through flexible combat command and short-range tactical skills.
The discerning reader must bear in mind some of the book's limitations. The "Eastern Way" opponent refers to some very culturally-diverse nations - an awfully broad swath of Eurasia including Japan and Germany. The author also tends to assign a uniformly high effectiveness to their training regimes such that every enemy individual has mastered those skills his American opponent lacks. During prolonged combat, experiential learning is temperd with inertia - the "fog of war" - such that tactical outcomes may be come less and less predictable. While Asian armies may recognize and exploit this "fog" through shared concepts, NOT every Eurasian fighting man is a ninjutsu master.
Through his survey of "Eastern Way" military institutions, tactics and training, the author has ignored the one western contender who successfully applied many of the skills he describes, who scored the highest kill ratio (10 to one) against a foe during World War II, who, even in defeat, insured that his nation remained independant to become the modern, economically-successful society it is today. Who might this contender be? None other than the Finnish army - the unsung soldiers of World War II. Perhaps their tactical accomplishments rate more than mere mention. HOW did the Finnish soldier develop such a high level of tactical skill - given that he possessed few of the armaments of his foes?
Perhaps the most significant limitation in "Tiger's Way" is the lack of a focused discussion on how the U.S. military culture needs to change such that these maneuver-oriented, flexible tactical skills might be developed. The American approach to short range infantry combat doesn't exist in a vaccum. Combat leaders have to contend with "up-or-out" promotion policies and frequent rotation in and out of units. Successful experiments such as "cohort" units are dropped in favor of continuing skill-limiting individual replacement systems. Poole provides some good ideas for battle drills at the small unit level but little on how the entire force may make the "cultural leap" such that tactical skills would evolve in the author's recommended directions.
Given these limitations, is "Tiger's Way" worth a read? ABSOLUTELY. This is a MUST-READ book for any professional tactician, combat historian and military reformer. Poole is one of few authors addressing what most strategic thinkers ignore: the significance of combat at the grunt's level and what must happen if U.S. combatants are to win against the "Eastern Way" opponent. Lastly, this ex-Marine Vietnam war veteran grunt can give no highter recommendation than that he would rather have been trained as H. John Poole prescribes in "The Tiger's Way".

5-0 out of 5 stars Review of The Tiger's Way
The definitive study of small unit tactics employed by the opposition in the Vietnamese and Korean Wars. These tactics should be studied and applied by US forces in future combat situations. As a complement to the earlier "The Last Hundred Yards" which gives the nitty gritty details of attack and defense tactics at the 'Grunt" level, this book provides squad and platoon tactics which will save lives and conserve resources while winning. It is a must for every soldier. No book like this has been published by the US Armed Forces. ... Read more


12. Cold War Submarines: The Design and Construction of U.S. and Soviet Submarines
by Norman Polmar, Kenneth J. Moore
list price: $60.00
our price: $60.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1574885944
Catlog: Book (2003-12-01)
Publisher: Brassey's Inc
Sales Rank: 118692
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Submarines had a vital, if often unheralded, role in the superpower navies during the Cold War. Their crews carried out intelligence-collection operations, sought out and stood ready to destroy opposing submarines, and, from the early 1960s, threatened missile attacks on their adversary’s home-land, providing in many respects the most survivable nuclear deterrent of the Cold War. For both East and West, the modern submarine originated in German U-boat designs obtained at the end of World War II. Although enjoying a similar technology base, by the 1990s the superpowers had created submarine fleets of radically different designs and capabilities. Written in collaboration with the former Soviet submarine design bureaus, Norman Polmar and K. J. Moore authoritatively demonstrate in this landmark study how differing submarine missions, antisubmarine priorities, levels of technical competence, and approaches to submarine design organizations and management caused the divergence. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A lok behind the scene
This is an excellent book! Full of detailed references it is the first book on early to modern submarines that gives us a look behind the scene. It explains very well the important role the submarines played during the cold war. We learn how design decisions were made in the U.S. as well as the Soviet Union, how such decisions were implemented, and we learn that rather few personalities played a very decisive role on both sides of the iron curtain. Near the end of the cold war, both, the U.S. and the Soviet Union were struggling with the problem of having to design a new generation of submarines which however started to be excessively expensive to build. Only the very knowledgeable reader may be missing here and there a more detailed account concerning "the design and construction" issues. It is clear that the authors have collected more information on these questions than what they were able to put in a single volume of reasonable size. But then this was probably also not their main goal, and the title of the book is exactly right: this is information about the cold war, on the people who fought this war, their political views and the way these views influenced the construction of the submarines they built to fight this war. Truly interesting.

5-0 out of 5 stars A look behind the scene
This is an excellent book! Full of detailed references it is the first book on early to modern submarines that gives us a look behind the scene. It explains very well the important role the submarines played during the cold war. We learn how design decisions were made in the U.S. as well as the Soviet Union, how such decisions were implemented, and we learn that rather few personalities played a very decisive role on both sides of the iron curtain. Near the end of the cold war, both, the U.S. and the Soviet Union were struggling with the problem of having to design a new generation of submarines which however started to be excessively expensive to build. Only the very knowledgeable reader may be missing here and there a more detailed account concerning "the design and construction" issues. It is clear that the authors have collected more information on these questions than what they were able to put in a single volume of reasonable size. But then this was probably also not their main goal and the title of the book is exactly right: this is information about the cold war, on the people who fought this war, their political views and the way these views influenced the construction of the submarines they built to fight this war. Truly interesting.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding look at submarine technical history
I just received my copy of the long-awaited book "Cold War Submarines: US & Soviet Design & Construction" by Norman Polmar and Kenneth Moore. I found I could not put it down, and it was well worth the wait. The authors spent years interviewing key figures and reading material from both sides of the Cold War. It starts just after the Second World War, and looks at each side's diesel and exotic propulsion plants and designs. Early submarine cruise missile and ballistic missile programs on both sides are detailed. In the section on submerged speed, the US Albacore and Skipjack class are highlighted, as is the early Soviet Papa class and the Alfa class. The book examines each generation of nuclear submarines, both attack and missile firing, on the two sides (US & Soviet). The design decisions and compromises made with each class are detailed. The text is complemented with some excellent photographs. Several but not all of the very good photos are familiar to those of us who have massive sub book collections, but will probably be new to most with "casual" submarine interests. There are newly drawn, superb line drawings of both US and Soviet submarines throughout the book, complete with some (non-classified) details of internal layouts. These drawings include some "might have been" designs. Such long sought after details as the 1960's CONFORM submarine, a truly remarkable design concept are covered, and there is a picture of a model of the submarine (now I can die in peace). This is the innovative Concept Formulation submarine that Rickover had killed in favor of the 688 class. In the process of killing the program, he ordered almost all details and documents on CONFORM destroyed. The book also delves into other fascinating topics on both sides, such mini-subs, special purpose submarines, and an amazing section on aircraft carrier submarines (with some unique line drawings!).

The two "gold standard" books in submarine design history are Friedman's two volume account of US Submarines ("US Submarines through 1945" and "US Submarines since 1945") and Polmar's one volume "Submarines of the Russian and Soviet Navies 1718-1990". This book easily belongs with these other volumes. The overall production is extremely good, printed on glossy paper. On a scale of 1-10, I gave it a 15! (and I'm a harsh grader!) ... Read more


13. War Is a Racket: The Anti-War Classic by America's Most Decorated General, Two Other Anti=Interventionist Tracts, and Photographs from the Horror of It
by Smedley D. Butler, Adam Parfrey
list price: $9.95
our price: $8.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0922915865
Catlog: Book (2003-04)
Publisher: Feral House
Average Customer Review: 4.86 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Originally printed in 1935, War Is a Racket is General Smedley Butler's frank speech describing his role as a soldier as nothing more than serving as a puppet for big-business interests. In addition to photos from the notorious 1932 anti-war book The Horror of It by Frederick A. Barber, this book includes two never-before-published anti-interventionist essays by General Butler. The introduction discusses why General Butler went against the corporate war machine and how he exposed a fascist coup d'etat plot against President Franklin Roosevelt. Widely appreciated and referenced by left- and right-wingers alike, this is an extraordinary argument against war - more relevant now than ever. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars If you think war is a just event, don't read this book!
If you think the 20th century wars had some redeeming value to them, then this book is not for you. As a veteran of one of the many American wars of the past 100 years I am now completely disgusted with what goes on behind the scenes. I see now I was a fool on a fools mission. This book is truth in it's rawest form, and should be read by every human on the planet. I can see now what type of people are pulling the strings for our current fiasco over-seas. The Marine who wrote this booklet had courage beyond belief. As American's and taxpayers he deserves our attention while he relates what he indeed knows.

4-0 out of 5 stars A patriot's "private Idaho" revealed as the road to Damascus
"War is a racket. It has always been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives...At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other millionaires falisifed their income tax returns no one knows... The average earnings of the du Ponts [chemical/gun powder producers at the time] for the period 1910 to 1914 was six million dollars a year...[from]1914 to 1918...fifty-eight million dollars of profit we find...an increase of 950 percent..."

Brigadier General Smedley R. Butler
WAR IS A RACKET
From Chapters One and Two

"The complex saga behind [a fascist military] coup attempt [in America in the 1930's], and the devious manner in which Butler was solicited to join the attempt to intimidate President Roosevelt into functional inactivity, was strikingly described by Archer in THE PLOT TO STEAL THE WHITE HOUSE (Hawthorn Books, 1973)...The most revealing details of the McCormack/Dickstein [Congressional] Committee report were suppressed in its original release. Though the report confirmed Smedley Butler's revelation of outrageous corporate plots, it failed to detail the names of prominent corporate entities, whose mention would have embarrassed the politicians they supported and the 'patriotic' groups they helped form..."

Adam Parfey

WAR IS A RACKET
From the Introduction

"...Even so, Mr. President Elect, there is an off chance that you might actually make some difference if you start now to rein in the warlords. Reduce military spending, which will make you popular because you can then legitimately reduce our taxes instead of doing what you have been financed to do, freeing corporate America of its small tax burden."

Gore Vidal
PERPETUAL WAR FOR PERPETUAL PEACE

The maverick Brigadier General Smedley Butler is one of the ironic--and iconic--true patriots of our times.

Born in the wake of the slow death of the 18/19th century Plantation system, the advent of 19/20th century Industrial society, the birth of the American colonial system in 1898 and the horrors of World War One, the pre-World War Two period, with its rampant racism and anti-Semitism serving the dictates of a capitalist spirit again gone mad, serves to explain the moral vacuum existing in our politics today. The culture of the 20's and 30's reveals the seedy underbelly of virulent capitalism and its siamese twin relationship with fascism as it has always existed in America, with varying degrees of influence and power. During this period today's adolescent fascist sentiments masquerading as Conservatism were incubated, hatched and allowed to fester like an open wound, until the cancer of empire/police state overtook the body politic of a still embryonic American democracy in 1947.

General Butler revealed an actual multi-level fascist plot within Wall Street and the military to essentially destroy democracy in the thirties. Fascism's influence in politics and the economy is one of the principal reasons, it is revealed, why there was a shift from fighting the remnants of Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo to an arms race with Stalin and communism after WWII. Indeed, the OSS (which later became the CIA) use of Nazi and Japanese mad scientists and their secret experimentation on Jews and American prisoners of war, *via secretly arranging their US citizenship after World War Two,* to fight an already debilitated communism getting in the way of American imperialism, is a dark side of American history that could only be told [let alone believed] in the context of this basic paradigm of American culture. Too many people, General Butler clearly knows, get rich in every war for it not to be the principal motivation for its existence.

The Isolationist idealism of his seventy-odd page pamphlet WAR IS A RACKET, which could come across as childishly naive at times, delusionally socialist at others, must be read with an understanding of this cultural context. The Isolationist argument in American history has never been truly respected in our modern imperialist times. Brigadier General Smedley Butler, however, had the courage to go against much of what was ingrained in him as a career military man in the Marines and courageously share the only logical reasons for the architecture of modern war and the horrors of modern life. The truths he reveals form the actual basis of the early 20th century Isolationist argument-and reawaken us to its profound moral validity for our times.

The lessons this book has for our times, however, only begins there. The forces that General Butler fought against in 1934 are the same ones President Eisenhower referred to regarding the "Industrial Military Complex" in 1961. They are also the same forces who saw to Reagan's election in 1980 (via preventing the smooth transfer of American hostages out of Iran in the Carter years for political clout) and urged on his support of fascist regimes like South Africa, Iraq and Guatemala around the world; all while undermining actual democracies like Nicaragua via arms sales to terrorists through a CIA financed by illegal drug sales in America (hence the advent of the Crack era; see DARK ALLIANCE by Gary Webb). "Conservative" presidents on both sides of the political fence, via secretly financed wars for "democracy" and "freedom" against "terrorism," have co-opted an American language of democracy, peace and prosperity for the forces of a globalized economic fascism rooted in our country; all to continue the halcyon days of slavery and empire in a new form. And war, as Adam Parfey says masterfully in his postscript (making the many typos in this book forgivable), is the heart of the modern economics upon which this is built.

Indeed, General Butler's revelations on his road to Damascus that is WAR IS A RACKET inevitably calls into question the actual humanity of the Western world, and our entire way of life.

This is a short, painful, passionate and important book.

5-0 out of 5 stars War: Who Profits from it and who Pays for it
"War is a Racket" is marine general, Smedley Butler's classic treatise on why wars are conducted, who profits from them, and who pays the price. Few people are as qualified as General Butler to advance the argument encapsulated in his book's sensational title. When "War is a Racket" was first published in 1935, Butler was the most decorated American soldier of his time. He had lead several successful military operations in the Caribbean and in Central America, as well as in Europe during the First World War. Despite his success and his heroic status, however, Butler came away from these experiences with a deeply troubled view of both the purpose and the results of warfare.

Butler's central thesis is that regardless of the popular rhetoric that often accompanies warfare, it is waged almost exclusively for profit. He advances this argument in three decisive examples.

EXAMPLE 1: CORPORATE MILITARY PROFITS RESULTING FORM WAR
In an early version of "follow the money", Butler provides pre- and post-World War I data on some of America's leading corporations to demonstrate the surge in profits that they experienced from the war, often totaling several hundred percent. While some companies, such as Dupont, arguably produced goods that contributed directly to America's military victory in 1918, others such as saddle manufacturers did not. Even when these companies failed to contribute directly to the war effort, they still managed to lobby the government to retrain or expand their contracts. Its as though powerful, well connected oil services company today were to contract with the government to supply oil to the military during a foreign campaign and then deliberately overcharge it.

EXAMPLE 2: INVESTING IN OTHER NATIONS' WARS
Butler argues that the United States practically doomed itself to entering the First World War the moment it began lending money and material to the allies. Once the allies were faced with certain defeat, argues Butler, they approached American government and business officials and flatly told them that unless they were victorious they would not be able to repay their staggering debt. In the event that Germany and the axis powers won the war, they would have no motivation to assume and repay the allied debt to the United States. America entered the First World War, according to Butler, in order to guarantee the repayment of its massive military loans to the allies. No allied victory meant no repayment, which meant no profit. Thousands of American soldiers were killed or maimed, argues Butler, to protect corporate profits.

EXAMPLE 3: THE MILITARY AS A COROPORATE THUG
Based on his own service experience in Central America and the Caribbean Butler argues that most American military interventions in small countries were done in order to "clear the way" for American corporations to set up shop and commence pillaging. It would be as if the United States were to occupy an oil-rich nation and then start doling out "rebuilding" contracts to some of its largest and best-connected corporations.

WHO PAYS FOR WAR
Having focused on who profits from war, Butler then examines who pays the price. The answer, unsurprisingly enough is the average taxpayer and the young people who are either slaughtered in wartime or who return home physically and psychologically damaged. Sadly, Butler points out, once these young people are no longer useful they are ignored by their own government and are left to suffer without assistance. It's as though a president were to employ a lot of rhetoric about supporting our troops while using them to occupy and oil-rich nation, but were to secretly slash their hazardous duty pay and veterans benefits.

THE SOLUTION: END WAR PROFITEERING
Butler's solution to preventing the carnage and social injustices of war is to eliminate business leaders' ability to make a profit from war or to avoid serving in it themselves. He also argues that those who put their lives at risk should have a say in whether or not to wage war. This may sound like a lot of idealistic, socialist nonsense, but thing about it. Would the United States have invaded an oil-rich nation if its unelected president had been forced to serve in the front lines as part of the process? Would business interests have supported the war if they never stood to profit from it? Probably not.

"War is a Racket" also contains other interesting factoids including General Butler's successful prevention of a right-wing coup against President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Unfortunately, no one of General Butler's caliber was able to prevent a similar coup from taking place in 2000.

General Butler also makes a persuasive case for the United States to remain isolationist and to avoid involving itself in the coming European war (This book was published shortly before World War II.). Using his considerable grasp of military logistics, Butler counters many of the prevailing arguments of his day that Hitler posed a direct military threat to the United States. Unfortunately, no one of General Butler's caliber was available to counter a similar argument that right wing policy makers advanced about a tiny oil-rich nation in the Middle East posing a direct military threat to the United States.

To anyone who doubts the veracity or efficacy of this book, I have a humble but useful suggestion. Ask yourself who makes money off of war. Then ask yourself if they ever make the physical, mental, or fiscal sacrifices for war. Finally ask yourself who ultimately makes the sacrifices and pays the prices. Most people who favor war either profit from it, or are seduced by the idea of it. General Butler's book is a concise, and brilliantly argued treatise on the reality of war. Of course most people prefer a beautiful idea to harsh reality, and that is why propagandists and politicians are so successful.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Hell of War.
War is hell. Reprinted by Feral House Press, _War is a Racket_ is an antiwar rant by "America's Most Decorated Soldier", Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler. In fact, this brief book, includes several essays, including an introductory piece by Adam Parfrey, _War is a Racket_, two essays dealing with the First and Second World Wars and arguing for isolationism, and a series of gruesome photos of war time tragedies from the antiwar book _The Horror of It_. _War is a Racket_ offers some interesting insights into the individuals and businesses behind warfare, who make profits off the bodies of dead soldiers. However, at times the book veers off into near communistic insanity in its hatred for corporate capitalism and its insistence that all men should earn the same wage regardless of profession during wartime. In fact, wars have often been provoked with little or no justification, often at the whims of bankers and transnational elites, and wars are often poorly conducted so as not to serve the best interests of America and the American soldier. However, war itself is a necessary fact of life in the world of nations. The idea that war can be totally eliminated through some international means of collaboration is not only absurd, but all the more likely to foster the world's biggest totalitarian system yet devised. In fact, to suggest that war be eliminated is tantamount to suggesting that one tolerate the intolerable. However, this is not really General Butler's position. Instead, Butler argues that war itself cannot be eliminated but that the United States should not become entangled in events which are not of its concern and thus try to maintain neutrality at all costs. For instance, if the United States were to be invaded by foreign occupiers, then of course war would become necessary. Also, if a given nation poses a direct threat to the well being of the citizens of the U.S., then war is inevitable provided that that nation cannot be quelled through diplomacy. However, to fight a war for purely economic interests of profit, thereby risking the lives of countless young men merely to increase the profits of corporate interests, is entirely immoral. The real question then becomes how can one know when the interests of America are really being put first. In recent times, many have started to question the tactics of President George W. Bush's "War on Terror" initiative and invasion of Iraq, post-9/11, on precisely the same grounds that individuals like Smedley had questioned the First and Second World Wars. Whether America's true interests are being put first remains to be seen. The book concludes with some ghastly photos of wartime attrocities, including pictures of young men badly disfigured (one picture shows a man with half his face missing, both upper jaw and nose being completely removed). Such is the price of maintaining American sovereignity and imperial power. Or, as Smedley would cynically observe, such is the price we pay for domination by corporate elites.

Also of interest: _Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace_, a collection of "isolationist" essays edited by Harry Elmer Barnes and revealing the hidden agenda behind United States entry into World War II. Currently available from the Institute for Historical Review.

5-0 out of 5 stars the best president America never had
70 years ago this war hero exposed the war racketeeers in short, simple but hard hitting prose. It's just a shame more people didn't listen to him as today a draft dodger and war profiteer sits in the white house. Bush is the epitomy of everything that Smedley Butler warned about.

This book is an anti war classic. Check it out now, its available online and only takes about twenty minutes to read. ... Read more


14. The Air Force
by James P. McCarthy
list price: $75.00
our price: $47.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0883631040
Catlog: Book (2002-11-01)
Publisher: Hugh Lauter Levin Associates
Sales Rank: 43287
Average Customer Review: 3.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Now, more than 50 years after its founding, the United States Air Force celebrates its spirit and essence in this deluxe-format book. Essays on Air Force history and today’s aviators focus not only on the planes, helicopters, rockets, and technology but also on the special people that make it all work. Hundreds of full-color and vintage photography, portraits, recruiting posters, and historically inspired paintings complement the informative text. Written by a team of qualified historians, specialized authors, and associated experts, The Air Force links pilots past and present to America’s first brave flyers, the Wright brothers. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Nice book - for what it is supposed to be.
This book (which you are much better off purchasing here on Amazon than at a retail bookstore) achieves exactly what it was designed to be - a coffee table book. Granted, it is a large, impressive, authoritative, glossy coffee table book, and it is NOT - as lamented by some reviewers - designed to be an exhaustive tome covering every historical nuance down to the color of Hap Arnold's socks on a Saturday morning in 1942. Even the Air Force Historical Foundation describes the book as a "coffee table" book. It has more than enough beautiful full-color photos and depictions to keep a recipient happy, but hardcore history buffs, especially those looking for more informal, off-the-record accounts of Air Force development and evolution, will want to look elsewhere. For the rest of us, this book will provide hours of entertainment, for its sheer mass alone.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book for Air Force Buffs
This is a great book for Air Force Buffs. It may not be an exhaustive history but is still a great book. The lavish pictures are great to explore. If you have an interest in "the wild blue yonder" that is based on fact and not fiction, this may be a great choice for you. The book is awesome in appearance also.

1-0 out of 5 stars Air Force History? Don't think so
I saw this book & quite frankly I agree with one of the major editorial groups that evaluated this publication. I am disappointed by this book's authors who fail to mention a background on all who affected the Air Force then & now. No background was ever given to the career histories of the chiefs of staff & civilian secretaries especially Hap Arnold. To some, these histories are boring, but to others they provide a thorough background for how the Air Force organizes, fights, & wins any type of war that may surface. Lousy book & definitely too bulky with no pertinent information.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Air Force
This is an outstanding book. The photos are captivating and the text informative. I went to the company website,... , and read the reviews before I bought this for my brother at the Air Force Academy. I have to agree with Chuck Yeager's analysis of the book when he said, "That is one hell of a book! After sixty years in cockpits, flying every plane in the Air Force, I have seen everything. All of it is captured beautifully in the photos, paintings, and stories of this terrific book." ... Read more


15. The Making of Strategy : Rulers, States, and War
list price: $27.99
our price: $27.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521566274
Catlog: Book (1996-05-31)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 234253
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Moving beyond the limited focus of the individual strategic theorist or the great military leader, The Making of Strategy concentrates instead on the processes by which rulers and states have formed strategy.Seventeen case studies--from the fifth century B.C. to the present--analyze through a common framework how strategists have sought to implement a coherent course of action against their adversaries. This fascinating book considers the impact of such complexities as the geographic, political, economic and technical forces that have driven the transformation of strategy since the beginning of civilization and seem likely to alter the making of strategy in the future. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for the seriuos student of strategy.
The purpose of "The Making of Strategy" is to give the reader an insight into how strategy has been made in the past. This is done through various historical case studies which range from Ancient Greece to American Cold War nuclear policy. Each essay tries to show events from the perspectives of those who were involved and attempts to get inside the mindset of the people who had to forumlate and then implement the various strategies.

As has been stated, the essays span a considerable time period, though there is perhaps (definitely in fact) a weighting towards 20th century strategy. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is probably dependant upon the reader's personal taste but I didn't have a problem with it.

The quality of the essays is invariably of a very high quality and the contributors are leaders in the field of Strategic Studies (Colin Gray, Donald Kagan, Eliot Cohen, the late Michael Handel, Williamson Murray, Macgregor Knox etc). Standout chapters include Holger Herwig's withering analysis of Imperial German strategy in the post-Bismarck period and (by virtue both of quality and of the fact that it tackles a relatively obscure and much neglected power's policy) Brian Sullivan's chapter on Italian grand strategy in the build-up to the First World War.

The chapters (excluding the excellent and extensive introduction and conclusion) cover the following periods;

- Athenian Strategy in The Peloponnesian Wars
- Roman Strategy against Carthage
- Chinese Strategy from the 14th to the 17th centuries
- Spanish Strategy under Philip II
- English Strategy, 1558-1713
- French Strategy under Louis XIV
- The United States, 1783-1865
- Prussia-Germany 1871-1918
- British Strategy, 1890-1918
- Italian Strategy, 1882-1922
- Germany, 1918-1945
- British Strategy, 1918-1945
- U.S. Strategy, 1920-1945
- French Strategy in the inter-war period
- Soviet Strategy, 1917-1945
- Israeli Strategy
- U.S. Nuclear Strategy

Aside from the fact that the quality of the chapters is of a very high standard, the great virtue of this book is the way in which it looks into the way nations have made strategy, rather than dealing with specific strategic theories or trying to provide a guide on how strategy should be made (lessons drawn from history aside). It illustrates clearly the frustrations, the balancing of interests, the difficulty in seeing the big picture, the weighing up of ends and means and the FRICTION that plagues policymakers when they put the books away and actually have to make the magic happen.

This book should be read by anybody with a serious interest in Strategic/War Studies. It's a little gem. At over 600 pages, you get your money's worth too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential for strategy in any field of action
The book brings back historically those features that are essential in any strategy for most activities, altgough is focused in war. Basic reading for bussines.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent & Easy reading
"The Making of Strategy" examines the strategy-making processes through the cultural, social, political, organisational and historical ( not just the military ) lenses, starting from the Peloponnesian Wars to the Nuclear Age. The book is also excellent in inrtoducing the concept of Weltanschauung; how a nation's strategic choices are often products of its strategic culture. This helps the reader to understand that despite advances in military technologies; why most wars are fought the way they are fought. Very easy reading and excellent book on the little known process of how strategy is often made. ... Read more


16. The Making of the Atomic Bomb
by Richard Rhodes
list price: $20.00
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Asin: 0684813785
Catlog: Book (1995-08-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 4427
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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If the first 270 pages of this book had been published separately, they would have made up a lively, insightful, beautifully written history of theoretical physics and the men and women who plumbed the mysteries of the atom. Along with the following 600 pages, they become a sweeping epic, filled with terror and pity, of the ultimate scientific quest: the development of the ultimate weapon. Rhodes is a peerless explainer of difficult concepts; he is even better at chronicling the personalities who made the discoveries that led to the Bomb. Niels Bohr dominates the first half of the book as J. Robert Oppenheimer does the second; both men were gifted philosophers of science as well as brilliant physicists. The central irony of this book, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award, is that the greatest minds of the century contributed to the greatest destructive force in history. ... Read more

Reviews (104)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Joy of Discovery
This book made me feel like I really could understand the intricacies of atomic power. Rhodes manages to throw into his well-written narrative the history of the Hungarian scientists who fled Nazi Germany, the personal stories of men like Robert Oppenheimer and Enrico Fermi, and the genesis and eventual success of the Manhattan Project. The atomic bomb was truly a massive, detailed undertaking, and this book brings that story to life clearly and entertainingly. For instance, one fascinating aspect of this story is that the keys to releasing nuclear energy were discovered through chemists, not physicists, despite Einstein's relativity. If you really want to know what the government was and is up to in Rocky Flats, read this book.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this story was the way Rhodes captures the excitement of the scientists--from Ernest Rutherford to Leo Szilard to Niehls Bohr--as they learned, piece by piece, how to release nuclear energy. Then, once the Trinity test occurs, and then the bomb is dropped on Hiroshima, the entire tone of the book changes. It's almost as if the wind goes out of the scientists' (and the writer's) sails. Having built up this excitement, the men of the Manhattan Project take a look at what they have done and are suddenly horrified. I found this reaction simultaneously understandable and ridiculous. They were, after all, making a WEAPON, why were they so surprised when it worked so well?

This might serve as a cautionary tale. After all, as we know, nuclear weapons did not go away after World War II. The tremendous momentum built up at Los Alamos did not cease. Indeed, once fission power had been proven, Edward Teller and his team got approval to go ahead with development of fusion power, more specifically, hydrogen bombs.

The good part of this book is, you can read it without needing a degree in chemistry or physics, just a genuine interest in the subject. "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" rightly won the Pulitzer Prize. It tells a remarkable tale about a neglected chapter of our world's (so far) worst war. Unfortunately, you can also see the seeds for the next war within it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent - everyone should read this book
This is a big book (almost 800 pages), covering the history of atomic physics from late the 19th century discoveries of the atomic nucleus and radiation to the 1945 atomic bomb strikes and the immediate post-war developments. The most amazing part of the story concerns the (almost unbelieveable) rapidity of scientific advance in this field during the early 19th century -- then again, perhaps people 75 years from now will be saying the same about computer or DNA knowledge during our era (I'm certain the same won't be said of my field).

I enjoyed this book, and recommend it highly. Anybody with a rudimentary understanding of nuclear physics (e.g., who can understand the meaning of the terms electron/ neutron/ proton) and early 20th century history will have no problem with this book. I gave it 4 stars out of 5, because I reserve 5 stars for books that, when I'm finished, I wish would continue: this is a very fine book, but I was ready to move on by the end. If I were the author, I would have included a section on the long-term costs of the US atomic program -- i.e., the environmental cleanup costs we are paying today as a consequence of the "victory now at any cost" mindset of 50 years ago (yeah, I know, I just implied that it's already too long -- but it really isn't).

5-0 out of 5 stars Those who ignore history are bound to repeat it
Read "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" and get two excellent books for the price of one. An eminently readable scientific journal and as good a time capsule of the mood of World War II as you'll find anywhere.

4-0 out of 5 stars Mostly Worthwhile
The author covers the science and history of the atomic bomb very well. It is worth your time to read.

The book would have earned five stars if the author had not injected as much of his naive and politically correct view of the world as he does. Specifically, he spends a good deal of the last chapter and parts of earlier chapters indulging a woolly-headed belief that somehow the Stalin would have allowed the Soviet Union to become an open society in order to avoid the perils of a nuclear arms race, if only the U.S. and Britain had just done things differently. Also, while he does not entirely ignore the excellent reasons for dropping the atomic bombs, he devotes a great deal of space to those who, in ignorance of the the military realities of the war with Japan or because they could not bring themselves to make a hard decision which would save millions of Japanese and Allied lives, whined and railed against the use of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

There are a few other subjects on which the author's "Late 20th Century Politically Correct" viewpoint comes through, but for the most part these were merely minor annoyances. Overall, and especially if you skip the last part of the last chapter, the book is excellent.

5-0 out of 5 stars Vade mecum to the modern age
For me, the most dramatic - and scariest - part of the whole book is probably on p. 275: "Enrico Fermi...was standing at his panoramic office window high in the physics tower [of Columbia University] looking down the gray winter length of Manhattan Island, its streets alive as always with vendors and taxis and crowds. He cupped his hands as if he were holding a ball. 'A little bomb like that,' he said simply, for once not lightly mocking, 'and it would all disappear.'"

This was one day in the winter of 1938/1939, probably in Jan or Feb of 1939. Fermi was of course referring to the atomic warhead yet to be invented. Fermi's estimates of the size of the fissile material required to produce such a devastating effect remain as true today in this post-911 age as then.

I entirely agree with Rhodes that the key personality in the whole saga was not Einstein or Oppenheimer or even Fermi but Niels Bohr, who was the godfather to modern nuclear physics, who was the guiding spirit if not a working technician at Los Alamos, and whose complementarity principle, originally devised to explain quantum mechanics, became applicable to the dilemma of the bomb itself. Rhodes's emphasis on Bohr's complementarity both surprises and impresses me.

If I'm allowed one criticism, it would be that a timeline of the major developments is missing. ... Read more


17. Lost Triumph: Lee's Real Plan at Gettysburg--And Why It Failed
by Tom Carhart
list price: $24.95
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Asin: 0399152490
Catlog: Book (2005-04-21)
Publisher: Putnam Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 1217293
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Book Description

A fascinating narrative-and a bold new thesis in the study of the Civil War-that suggests Robert E. Lee had a heretofore undiscovered strategy at Gettysburg that, if successful, could have crushed the Union forces and changed the outcome of the war.

The Battle of Gettysburg is the pivotal moment when the Union forces repelled perhaps America's greatest commander-the brilliant Robert E. Lee, who had already thrashed a long line of Federal opponents-just as he was poised at the back door of Washington, D.C. It is the moment in which the fortunes of Lee, Lincoln, the Confederacy, and the Union hung precariously in the balance.

Conventional wisdom has held to date, almost without exception, that on the third day of the battle, Lee made one profoundly wrong decision. But how do we reconcile Lee the high-risk warrior with Lee the general who launched "Pickett's Charge," employing only a fifth of his total forces, across an open field, up a hill, against the heart of the Union defenses? Most history books have reported that Lee just had one very bad day. But there is much more to the story, which Tom Carhart addresses for the first time.

With meticulous detail and startling clarity, Carhart revisits the historic battles Lee taught at West Point and believed were the essential lessons in the art of war-the victories of Napoleon at Austerlitz, Frederick the Great at Leuthen, and Hannibal at Cannae-and reveals what they can tell us about Lee's real strategy. What Carhart finds will thrill all students of history: Lee's plan for an electrifying rear assault by Jeb Stuart that, combined with the frontal assault, could have broken the Union forces in half. Only in the final hours of the battle was the attack reversed through the daring of an unproven young general-George Armstrong Custer.

Lost Triumph will be one of the most captivating and controversial history books of the season.
... Read more


18. On War (Penguin Classics)
by Karl Von Clausewitz
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
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Asin: 0140444270
Catlog: Book (1982-06-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 6391
Average Customer Review: 4.19 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

On War is the most significant attempt in Western history to understand war, both in its internal dynamics and as an instrument of policy. Since the work's first appearance in 1832, it has been read throughout the world, and has stimulated generations of soldiers, statesmen, and intellectuals. ... Read more

Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars The elements of war
Karl von Clausewitz's (1780-1831) masterpiece On War, has deservedly been translated into most major languages. The Everyman's Library Edition of On War introduced by Peter Paret is the perhaps most widely acclaimed English edition.

Long recognized as the classic the strategic principles of armed conflict, the book continue to influence military thinking. On War is an attempt to reach an understanding of the nature of war itself. The Prussian general defines war as violence intended to compel the opponent to fulfill the will of the proponent. Violence is the means; submission of the enemy is the object.

The ultimate goal of war is political - armed combat is the means to a political end, without which war becomes «pointless and devoid of sense». Another key thought is that the total defeat of the adversary is the essence of war. A critique often heard against this strain of thought is that Clausewitz's focus on decisive battle and over strategic maneuver invites bloodbath.

The book is experiencing a renaissance in the post-Cold War era -reading it may well help to explain the phenomenon of war also in the years to com

5-0 out of 5 stars AVOID the Penguin Edition of "On War"
AVOID THE PENGUIN EDITION AT ALL COSTS! Yes, it is the most widely available version of Clausewitz' famous work, "On War", a great book that should be in everyone's library, but the Penguin edition is to be avoided at all costs. The Penguin Classics edition is poorly edited and uses the Graham/Maude translation from the original 19th century German. It was put together by Anatol Rapoport, a self styled 60's renaissance man with an axe to grind against Henry Kissinger (a Clausewitz devotee) and a viceral hatred of Claucewitz himself. Rapoprt misleadingly abridged Clausewitz's own writings, while retaining many of the errors introdced by Maude and Graham that when combined with Rapoport's hostility toward Neo-Clausewitzean ideas (and Clausewitz himself) create a volume found in the Penguin edition that is so badly misleading as of Clausewitz's ideas as to be worthless. Clausewitz is worth a read but if you have the Penguin Classics or Graham/Maude translations I strongly advise you to burn the book and look instead for either the Jolles or Paret translations.

3-0 out of 5 stars hard to read
I don't know if the translation is bad or Clausewitz could not express himself clearly but the book is hard to read. What do you make of paragraphs like the following one:
"But after his [Frederick the Great's] skilful application of the system of husbanding his resources had shown the powers allied against him, through a seven years' struggle, that the actual expenditure of strength far exceeded what they had at first anticipated, they made peace."
Since Clausewitz is considered a classic, I am much more inclined to blame it on the translator. Everyone who studied German knows that you can't translate word for word. German grammar is different. They put verbs in weird places.
I don't know if other translations are any better but this one is definitely hard to read.

1-0 out of 5 stars On War (Penguin)
The book itself is unquestionably a classic. Anyone interested in strategy should read it. However, this translation is amongst the worst. The original German text is translated almost literally into English, preserving the difficult grammar constructions. A reader must truely be dedicated, or already know German grammar, to get through this translation.
Read the book, but go instead for the Everyman's version. A great translation and interesting introduction by Peter Paret.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book--get the right edition.
Clausewitz's ON WAR is certainly the greatest exploration of the subject, but we are often misled by sloppy or hostile summaries--especially those by British military historians, who have evolved a truly sophisticated culture of misrepresenting it. E.g., Clausewitz supposedly preaches "total war." In fact, that phrase appears only twice in the book, once while discussing the "total war area," i.e., the geographic theater of war, and once noting that "total war, the pure element of enmity unleashed," would be "pointless and devoid of sense." Most such misconceptions would be cleared up if writers would bother to read past the abstract first half of the first chapter to see what Clausewitz, an immensely experienced practical soldier, really thought. And forget the absurd distinctions between Jomini's "chivalrous" wars and Clausewitz's alleged war on civilians--the two men experienced and described exactly the same wars.
Likewise, to say that Asian warfare differs in some fundamental way from Western war, or from war in general, is nonsense, as is the idea that Sun Tzu--whose all-knowing general controls events far more than either Clausewitz or historical experience would suggest is possible--somehow represents a "decentralized" approach. Sun Tzu is extremely valuable, but he and Clausewitz are best understood together. Read Michael Handel on that.
There are several English translations of ON WAR, in many editions, and these vary greatly in value. Amazon's listings often confuse the different versions, so be careful. The version edited by biologist/musician Anatol Rapoport is particularly worthless. His lengthy, lunatic, 1968 introduction is actually about Kissinger, not Clausewitz. He used the hoary old 1873 Graham translation and severely abridged Clausewitz's own text, but weirdly retained the anachronistic Social Darwinist insertions of an earlier editor. The best and standard translation is Howard and Paret's, Princeton U. Press, 1976 (rev.1984). Knopf's elegant "Everyman's Library" hardcover (ISBN 0-679-42043-6) is the same translation with some useful added appendices and sidebars--and a better buy as well. Get more background at "The Clausewitz Homepage." ... Read more


19. The Pentagon's New Map
by Thomas P. M. Barnett
list price: $26.95
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Asin: 0399151753
Catlog: Book (2004-04)
Publisher: Putnam Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 1603
Average Customer Review: 3.68 out of 5 stars
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This bold and important book strives to be a practical "strategy for a Second American Century." In this brilliantly argued work, Thomas Barnett calls globalization "this country’s gift to history" and explains why its wide dissemination is critical to the security of not only America but the entire world. As a senior military analyst for the U.S. Naval War College, Barnett is intimately familiar with the culture of the Pentagon and the State Department (both of which he believes are due for significant overhauls). He explains how the Pentagon, still in shock at the rapid dissolution of the once evil empire, spent the 1990s grasping for a long-term strategy to replace containment. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Barnett argues, revealed the gap between an outdated Cold War-era military and a radically different one needed to deal with emerging threats. He believes that America is the prime mover in developing a "future worth creating" not because of its unrivaled capacity to wage war, but due to its ability to ensure security around the world. Further, he believes that the U.S. has a moral responsibility to create a better world and the way he proposes to do that is by bringing all nations into the fold of globalization, or what he calls connectedness. Eradicating disconnectedness, therefore, is "the defining security task of our age." His stunning predictions of a U.S. annexation of much of Latin America and Canada within 50 years as well as an end to war in the foreseeable future guarantee that the book will be controversial. And that's good. The Pentagon's New Map deserves to be widely discussed. Ultimately, however, the most impressive aspects of the book is not its revolutionary ideas but its overwhelming optimism. Barnett wants the U.S. to pursue the dream of global peace with the same zeal that was applied to preventing global nuclear war with the former Soviet Union. High-level civilian policy makers and top military leaders are already familiar with his vision of the future—this book is a briefing for the rest of us and it cannot be ignored. --Shawn Carkonen ... Read more

Reviews (31)

4-0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, but read with caution.
Thomas Barnett is a remarkable and very admirable fellow who has written a book that should certainly be read by more Americans. The book is well-written and Barnett comes across as someone who sincerely wants to improve the security of the United States and the world. Barnett has a powerful and inspiring (some may say intoxicating) vision of the role of the US in the 21st century. The only problem is that his approach is not workable.

Those who've read the likes of Martin Van Creveld and Thomas Friedman will find some familiar thinking in this book. The author's main contention is that "disconnected" countries, those that aren't connected via information and economic networks to the rest of the world, are a huge source of danger. Such countries are usually run by a nasty elite who essentially tyrannize their populations who are left poor and angry. Having been left poor and angry, these disconnected people are ripe for becoming terrorists and their nations ripe for the location of terrorist networks, crime syndicates, and so forth. Hence, we need to use military force to go in, defeat the nasty people running things, and enforce a new order that will give the oppressed people of these societies hope so they won't need to bomb us. In the process, we'll give them new law enforcement agencies that will crack down on criminal syndicates.

Reactionary types will accuse Mr. Barnett of being some kind of neo-imperialist or perhaps a global fascist. Nevertheless, I personally think that Barnett sincerely believes that what he is proposing would be a "good thing" and that it would improve the lives of the people he seeks to liberate. I'll leave the name-calling to someone else, as there are unquestionably lots of people running around who are willing to do just that. While the moral dimension to Mr. Barnett's proposal is fascinating and worthy of serious discussion (far different from the name-calling and character assassination I've heard up until now) my primary concern is whether or not the proposals in this book are cost-effective or even feasible.

I'm afraid that what Mr. Barnett is proposing is far more complicated, sophisticated, and expensive than what he leads the reader to believe. Barnett frames the issue in either doing something (what he proposes) or doing nothing. He points out that in light of September 11, 2001, we can't do nothing. And then he implies we're only left with his proposal. But he doesn't fully entertain the consequences of failure. Those consequences would be lots of dead young Americans, even higher levels of anti-American sentiment around the globe, and billions of dollars wasted. And due to the complexity of what Mr. Barnett is proposing, failure is more likely than success.

The essential problem here is one of complexity. Mr. Barnett's strategy focuses on the US spending extreme amounts of resources to bring order to troubled lands to harmonize them with current global economic realities. But the universe naturally tends towards disorder. As Mr. Spock pointed out, "Logic suggests that it's easier to destroy than to create." Chaos and disorder come naturally; order takes a significant input of resources. In attempting to create order in disordered places, the United States would be left extremely vulnerable to potential rivals and enemies who would simply try to create or enhance disorder in those places. This process would cost potential rivals very little but could have extremely high costs on the US on a sustained basis. An example would be Iraq, where we are hoping a mere $100 billion will bring about some kind of order. Anyone who wanted to harm us could spend far less money just to destroy that delicate order we've struggled to create. And in looking at Iraq right now, there's no guarantee that we are anywhere close to creating an orderly society.

As Mr. Barnett makes a big point about "disconnectedness defines danger" he doesn't really adequately bring the importance of this back to the home-front of American society. In an increasingly interconnected world, the US benefits not just from additional connectedness to others but to additional connectedness to ourselves. Improvements in infrastructure, a better business climate, improved efficiency, and so forth all serve to make the US a more competitive place on the international level and also serve to make the US a more attractive place for international capital and human resources. Barnett wants to put off making the US more connected in a highly dicey proposition to make dysfunctional societies more safe for international capital and human resources. Considering how intractable so many of our own various social problems have been it's rather presumptuous to assume we can go about fixing other places. And the cost/benefit analysis is lacking and, at least on the surface, not all that appealing.

For all my criticisms of Mr. Barnett's proposals I need to stress that I don't necessarily think his approach will lead to catastrophe on a nationwide scale. I just fear it will be exceptionally costly and put tremendous strain on our society, our military, and our economy. All for results that are highly improbable and quite unlikely to be successfully obtained. In short, it's a prescription for a gigantic waste of resources that even if it were successful would be possibly not worth the price. There are arguably more cost-effective and sure-fire ways of achieving a more secure future for the United States.

Americans who are interested in the future of US strategy need to be familiar with this book. While I strongly disagree with Mr. Barnett's proposals I also very well realize that they are and will continue to be highly influential. If you don't know what Barnett's talking about you can't even begin to understand the future debates about the US's role in the world. If you want to be a part of the discussion, get your hands on this book and become familiar with one of the most highly influential proposals available for the future of the United States and the world.

5-0 out of 5 stars Vision and Responsibility
This is an exceptionally well written book. This author presents a vision for our world as it moves into the early stages of the 21st Century. As the United States of America faces the responsibility of being the strongest military power within our global community of nations, we must address that responsibility with sensibility and with clear articulated vision. We know we can win wars, as the author notes, but we are not a nation of "excellence" when it comes to the next steps - development of stability, peace, and economic strength for those countries that are in disarray. He refers to the "Connected and the Disconnected" areas of our world, which comprise the new map. The "disconnected" are the "disadvantaged", both in terms of economics as well as human rights, safety, health, food, shelter, self-governance, freedom, education, economic development, and other important basics of living that we in the USA cherish and assume as essential, as well as normal. The containment of the groups, whom the author refers to as the "rouges", is an important step - but not enough. If the strategy of our national defense system included the creation of a competent and efficient "systems administrator" capability to its fullest, we could be the key peace insurers for the world. This will assist the developmental processes required for the "disconnected" and "disadvantages" to eventually become a part of the larger global community. In other words, the author is suggesting strongly, which he supports with the presentation of extensive data that we who are the "haves" must protect and provide for the "have-nots." This does not mean our "taking over" those who "have-not!" It does mean that we are responsible to be proactive in the removal of the infectious, as well as contagious "bacteria" that contaminates the well-being of those members of the community. However, removal and containment of these isolationistic "bacteria" or "rouges" is just a minor first step. The larger steps and most responsible ones are to insure the on-going well-being of the people and their nation in order that they can thrive. In the end, this will mean the greater durability and health of the entire globe.

The author is suggesting, and has been for almost two decades, to the US governmental agencies (such as DoD) and the economic leaders of our country some specific strategies on how this can be fully and successfully implemented. There will be differences among us who explore this publication as to some of the author's suggestions. However, whether we agree totally or not with the author's specifics - especially in the containment and removal of the "rouges", the message that we all need to hear is that we in America are one member of a larger membered community. And, we must care for all members of the larger community in the same way that we care for ourselves. The author is suggesting and maps out possibilities of how this can be done. Furthermore, the author is suggesting quite emphatically that it is doable.

For us as readers of Dr. Barnett's work, we are left considering whether we have the "guts" to support this vision and to be proactive responsible citizens as respected members of this global community we desire to keep alive and well.

4-0 out of 5 stars Young Man, Narrowly Read, Has Big Idea with Few Details


This is another of those books that started as an article and should have stayed there. The author, who appears to be either unfamiliar with or unwilling to credit works from earlier decades as well as more recently that present ideas similar to and often superior to his, has essentially three good ideas that can be summed up as follows:

Idea #1: World can be divided into a Functioning Core and a Non-Integrating Gap. The disconnected gap is bad for business (risky) and the US military can protect its budget by getting into the business of exporting security so that Wall Street can do more business safely.

Idea #2: Connectivity or disconnectedness are the essential means of defining and influencing which countries are able to move into the Functioning Core and which remain in the Non-Integrating Gap [too state-centric for my taste, but a good point--my 1990's call for Digital Marshal Plan remains valid.]

Idea #3: Economic relationships have replaced military power as the essential attribute of relations among nations--for example, we cannot deal with China as a military power without first having a comprehensive economic strategy and economic tools with which to influence them.

There are many points where I agree with the author, and I give him credit for thinking of all of this on his own, without much attention to decade's worth of scholarship and informed professional opinion in the military journals. He is absolutely correct to note that we cannot fence the Gap, we must stabilize it. Of course, Joe Nye and Max Manwaring and Mark Palmer and Bob Oakley and Jonathan Schell, to name just 5 of the 470+ national security authors have made important points along these lines, but their work is not integrated here. This is one massive Op-Ed that should have remained an article.

The author has irritated me with his low-key but obvious assumption that he is the first to break out of the box and "get it." On page 63 he goes on at length with the view that America has lacked visionaries, and the implication that he is the first to come forward. Not true. From John Boyd to Chuck Spinney to Bill Lind to GI Wilson to Mike Wylie we have had many visionaries, but the military-industrial complex has always seen them as threats. We tend to dismiss and shoot our visionaries, and I am truly glad that the author's personal relations with Cebrowski and a few others--as well as his fortunate association with a couple of naval think-forward endeavors--has given him some running room.

There is actually little of substance in this book. The article has been expanded, not with substance, but rather with very long descriptions of this young man's engagement in the process of the Pentagon and the process of strategic reflection. His discussions of the many forums that he found boring if not hostile to free thinking are excellent, and that aspect of the book takes it to four stars where it might normally have only received three.

Two weaknesses of the book, perhaps associated with the author's urgent need to "stay inside the wire" in order to keep his job:

1) All his brilliance leads to just two forces being recommended: the "big stick" force and the "baton-stick" (constabulary) force. In fact, were he more familiar with the literature, he would have understood that from diverse points we are all converging on four forces after next: Big War, Small War including White Hat/Police Ops, Peace War, and Cyber-Economic War. Inter-agency strategy, inter-agency budgeting, and inter-agency operations, with a joint inter-agency C4I corps under military direction, are the urgently needed next step.

2) The author is delusional when describing and praising our operational excellence in defeating well-armed enemies. Were he more familiar with the after action reports from Iraq, particularly those done by the Army War College (clearly on a different planet from the Navel War College), he would understand that Iraqi incompetence was the foremost factor in our success, especially when Rumsfeld insisted on throwing out the sequence of force plans and sending us in light and out of balance. He also ignores the vulnerability of complex systems and relies much too heavily on University of Maryland and CIA unclassified publications that are completely out of step with European conflict studies and other arduously collected ground truths about the extent of state and sub-state war and violence.

I disagree with his concluding recommendations that place Africa last on the list of those areas to be saved. His overall recommendations are simplistic, focusing on the standard litany for Pentagon go-alongs: Iraq, Korea, Iran, Colombia, Middle East, China, Asian NATO, Latin American NATO, Africa.

I note with interest his use of the term, "the military-market link." I believe this refers to an assumption, matured by the author in the course of his Wall Street wargames, and certainly acceptable to the neo-conservatives, to wit, that the U.S. military exists to export security so America can do business. I would draw the reader's attention to Marine Corps General Butler's book, "War as a Racket", and his strong objection to having spent his career as an "enforcer" for US corporations.

I do want to end with a note of deep sympathy for the author. On the one hand, he overcame a period of time when his sanity was questioned by ignorant Admirals and other "lesser included" Captains of limited intellect. On other he is trapped in a system that does not like iconoclasts but rewards those who innovate on the margins. His book is most useful in describing this environment, where people who rely on secrets are completely out of touch with reality, and service chiefs focus on protecting their budgets rather than accomplishing (or even defining) their mission. He appears to have discovered the Catholic mafia within the naval services, and his several references throughout the book lend weight to my belief that we need to do religious counter-intelligence within the government.

5-0 out of 5 stars the current model explained
This book sets out the current model of the world that our government is operating under. It is laid out clearly and argued persuasively. Whether or not you buy this model, you cannot get a clearer explanation of why we went into Iraq, why the Taliban think that MSF is part of an American conspiracy, and just where this entire thing is likely to go. You really should read this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Pentagon's New Map
If you frequently watch cable news and read the daily newspapers looking for insight concerning world events, you're missing something important - a comprehensive perspective. Thomas Barnett has given us just such an overview. At last I feel like I truly understand what is going on in this world and how it will affect our future. This is a must read, a very important work. ... Read more


20. How to Read a Nautical Chart : A Complete Guide to the Symbols, Abbreviations, and Data Displayed on Nautical Charts
by NigelCalder
list price: $14.95
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Asin: 0071376151
Catlog: Book (2002-08-05)
Publisher: International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press
Sales Rank: 5733
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Book Description

A PAPERBACK ORIGINAL

The best handbook on chart usage, from one of the most trusted names in boating

In 2000, the U.S. government ceased publication of Chart No. 1, the invaluable little book that generations of mariners have consulted to make sense of the complex system of signs, symbols, and graphic elements used in nautical charts. Now Chart No. 1 is not just reborn but expanded and improved in How to Read a Nautical Chart. The demand for a book like this has never been greater.

Arranged and edited by Nigel Calder, one of today's most respected boating authors, ­­and containing four-color illustrations throughout,­­ How to Read a Nautical Chart presents a number of original features that help readers make optimum use of the data found in Chart No. 1, including a more intuitive format, crucial background information, international chart symbol equivalents, electronic chart symbology, and thorough explanations of the practical aspects of nautical chart reading.

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