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Endless War: Middle-Eastern Islam vs. Western Civilization Hardcover – February 25, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his latest, author and columnist Peters (Fighting for the Future) puts the contemporary conflict between Islam and the West into the context of 14 centuries of warfare, making a clear and compelling case for rethinking the U.S. approach. When Muslim armies exploded out of Arabia in the 7th century, the armies of Dark Age Europe didn't know how to stop them. While the Muslims fought as a unified, cohesive army, the Europeans were loyal only to their feudal lords, fighting in small units, or simply man-to-man; fast-forward to the present of Iraq and Afghanistan, where the U.S.-led coalition is the unified force, while Islamist fanatics work as disorganized bands, attacking each other as often as coalition targets. Contrary to what Western leaders may think, Peters insists, the war on terrorism is a war of religion-at least for militant Islamists. From this vantage, Peters takes Western leaders to task for a 60 year policy of rational negotiation; in Peters's thorough analysis, the War on Terror is an emotionally-driven endeavor, and an effective strategy for victory will only arise once political and military leaders recognize the motives, internal and historical, that drive our foes.
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From Booklist

This collection of essays, articles, and columns by a former military intelligence officer is subtitled Middle-Eastern Islam vs. Western Civilization because Peters believes present conflicts in the Middle East are but the latest battles in a 1,400-year-old war. The unifying theme of the pieces is that failure to understand that fact, historical illiteracy in American society at all levels, and insistence on dealing with Islamic and other non-Western cultures using Western values has led to a great waste of lives, time, and money for much of the past 60 years, in particular, the past 9. Peters supports the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, however, and these pieces were written to convince. They should not be dismissed as propaganda, for they offer insights into the Middle East mess that should be considered, from a writer who is an experienced hand with both fiction (e.g., The War after Armageddon, 2009) and nonfiction. --Frieda Murray

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Stackpole Books; 1 edition (February 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811705501
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811705509
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ralph Peters is a prize-winning, bestselling author whose work ranges from critically acclaimed novels set during the Civil War to works on strategy and security. The author of 31 published books, published under his own name and as "Owen Parry," Peters is also Fox News Strategic Analyst and a journalist/commentator who has covered multiple conflicts. A retired U.S. Army officer and former enlisted man, he served as a strategic scout in troubled regions from Pakistan and Burma to Bolivia and the dying Soviet Union. Research projects have taken him to Sub-Saharan Africa, India and Indonesia, and he continues to travel widely. Despite his adventures and misadventures, his favorite pursuit is his attempt to write the most-authentic and accurate Civil War novels possible, with the goal of bringing forgotten heroes and battles to the attention of modern readers (he warns readers that these are brutally realistic novels and that those who prefer sanitized and romanticized versions of the past should look elsewhere). He has been fascinated by our Civil War since childhood and applies his own military and literary experience in critically acclaimed works such as "Cain at Gettysburg," "Hell or Richmond" and, most recently, "Valley of the Shadow," the first three books in a five-book cycle on the fighting in the eastern theater of our Civil War.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 106 people found the following review helpful By Jerry D. Morelock on March 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Ralph Peters shows once again why he is today's most insightful strategist on global affairs in his latest "must read" collection representing his best columns and articles on today's most vitally important issue - the assault of militant Islam on Western civilization, values and culture. A retired U. S. Army intelligence officer whose globe-trotting has gained him valuable first-hand experience in over 70 countries (including Iraq and Afghanistan), Peters is the author of 25 acclaimed books, a regular columnist in newspapers and magazines, and a popular on-air media strategist. While most contemporary pundits seem to be "lost in the weeds," content to carp about battlefield tactics and troop levels, Peters demonstrates his firm grasp of the Big Picture, the fundamental underlying nature of the struggle between militant Islam and the West that began fourteen centuries ago and still rages. Endless War's superb collection of essays, articles and columns - each one carefully selected by the author - represents a priceless primer on the 21st century's defining conflict. Peters' superbly argued introductory essay, "History and Hysteria" -- a plea for the importance of reading and understanding history - is alone worth the price of the book. The author's well-known provocative, hard-hitting, "tell-it-like-it-is" prose style has never been more compelling and revelatory. Endless War should be read by America's political and military decision-makers and by the public at large - before it's too late.
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Format: Hardcover
I do not always agree with Ralph Peters, but along with Steve Metz and Max Manwaring, both at the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) of the U.S. Army, I consider him one of America's most gifted strategists whose integrity is absolute. He simplifies sometimes (e.g. Iraqis turned against Al Qaeda because of the demand for marriage that was refused followed by the bloodbath execution of the family by Al Qaeda, not because of anything the US did) but that aside, Ralph is the ONLY person that reminds me of both Winston Churchill--poetry and gifted turns of phrase on every page--and Will Durant, historian extraordinaire. Ralph has a better grasp of history, terrain, and the military than Robert Kaplan, and deeper insights into our failed military leadership (no longer leaders, just politically-correct administrators out of touch with reality) than my favorite journalist-adventurer, Robert Young Pelton.

I have read and reviewed most of Ralph's books, and am proud to consider him a colleague and a fellow Virginian. Ralph is the only author whose books jump to the top of my "to read" pile, and I absorbed this masterpiece over the course of moving my own flag from Virginia to Latin America. US national and military intelligence have completely given up their integrity, and it resonated with me that the key word that Ralph uses throughout this book--a word I myself adopt in my latest book in carrying on the tradition of Buckminster Fuller on the one hand, and most respected mentor-critic Chuck Spinney on the other--is that very word: INTEGRITY.

My extended review at Phi Beta Iota, the Public Intelligence Blog (PBI-PIB), has the totality of my notes, my selection of quotes from across the book, and links too numerous for Amazon's paltry ten-book limit.
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34 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Edmund Jimenez on April 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First, may I say that I hold Ralph Peters in the highest regard. His erudition is stimulating; his writing and turn of phrase are delightful. Over the last five years or so, I've read virtually everything that he has written.

However, I was very disappointed in *Endless War* because its potential was never realized. I mean that his essays' various arguments and other assertions were insufficiently supported. I should point out that I am in accord with most of those arguments and assertions. Still, more background and supporting material should have been offered to the critical reader, in order to make his arguments more compelling.

To accomplish the above, I think that it would have been necessary to double the size of the book. The requisite time and work might have been rejected for who knows what reason(s). The essay format found in this book, by its nature, leaves the sympathetic reader wanting more, and the skeptical reader unconvinced.

This book is worth reading because the history under discussion should excite the reader and encourage him to pursue the various subjects on his own. Unfortunately, the author gives the interested reader no help since an index and notes section are absent.

Ultimately, although passionate, this collection lacks enough depth to be satisfying.
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43 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Arnold A. Putnam on March 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This series of essays form an excellent analysis of 21st century conflict and American's reaction to it.
Peters' Introduction sets the tone for his book by pointing out that serious study of history has, essentially, ceased in our schools. This has resulted in a divorce from the harsh realities of the world. We have little or no sense of historical reality to the point where bumper-sticker slogans, "War never Solved Anything," substitute for knowledge and clear vision.
He goes on to cover the history of Islamic success and failure. He points out that the failure of the societies in the Middle East is, according to academics, the media and the Muslims themselves, the fault of the West, especially Israel and America. There is no self-examination by those in the Middle East. And, our Politically Correct academics and media have lived in a self-satisfied shell for so long they are unable to do so.
Peters' incisively points out our political and military leader's constant refusal to recognize that the enemy is Islamicism. The religious aspect, in too many instances, is completely ignored.
This flawed view, again, stems from our academic and political elites cloaking themselves in Political Correctness which applauds denigration of Judaism and Christianity while demanding a "non-judgmental view" of other religions.
Both Peters and I agree that war is a brutal and barbaric enterprise; an enterprise to be avoided, but recognized as a significant aspect of human beings' makeup. We cannot substitute "talking" with people who believe that their God is telling them to kill anyone who does not believe exactly as they do.
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