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From A to B: How Logistics Fuels American Power and Prosperity Hardcover – November 1, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"From A to B is an engaging look at the diverse influences future technologies will have on our ability to move and supply our troops and our economy. Axe continues to entertain and inform—and his closing comment is a clarion call: 'World-beating logistics requires investment on a national scale. That kind of investment requires political will'".—Cpt. Nathan Finney, Military Review
(Cpt. Nathan Finney Military Review)

"Axe has produced a though-provoking, never dull but always vivid profile of a side to military and naval operations that is by and large ignored by those profiling today's turbulent world."—Warships International Fleet Review
(Warships International Fleet Review)

"From big rigs running supply lines in Iraq, to the next generation of robotic cars, From A to B has it all. David Axe, one of our most savvy young war journalists, captures the hidden story of American power: our massive network of logistics."—P. W. Singer, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century
(P. W. Singer)

"There's an old military saying: amateurs talk strategy; professionals talk logistics. When it comes to war reporting, David Axe is more than a pro. He's one of the bravest, most incisive conflict journalists we've got. And he writes so well, he makes convoy runs and pallet loads as gripping as firefights."—Noah Shachtman, contributing editor, Wired
(Noah Shachtman)

About the Author

DAVID AXE is a freelance war correspondent based in Columbia, South Carolina. Since 2005 he has reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, East Timor, Somalia, Congo, and Chad, among other conflict zones. His work has appeared in hundreds of magazines and newspapers, including the Washington Times, the Village Voice, Popular Mechanics, Wired, Popular Science, Salon, and the Columbia Journalism Review. Axe has appeared on BBC Radio, C-SPAN, and PBS, and is the author of several books, including the graphic novel War Is Boring: Bored Stiff, Scared to Death in the World’s Worst War Zones with Matt Bors (NAL, 2010) and From A to B: How Logistics Fuels American Power and Prosperity (Potomac Books, 2012).
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597975257
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597975254
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,104,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Axe is a military correspondent living in Columbia, South Carolina. Since 2005 he has reported from the U.K., Iraq, Lebanon, Japan, East Timor, Afghanistan, Somalia, Chad, Nicaragua, Kenya, Gabon, Congo and other countries. He is a regular contributor to Voice of America, AOL, Wired and many others. David is the author of the graphic novels WAR FIX and WAR IS BORING. He blogs at www.warisboring.com. David can be reached at david_axe-at-hotmail.com.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. Bert on December 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a fan of Mr. Axe and his War is Boring blog. Have been following his reporting as a combat arms officer for sometime as I feel he gives an honest view of modern war -- from the shear terror of combat, to the boring hours in between. When I first read the description of this book I was excited because logistics truly is the lynch pin in the projection of global military power.

Wow -- was I disappointed in the seemingly disjointed and haphazard manner in which this book was presented. Instead of a tight and focused look on the underpinnings and means in which modern logistics operate, the reader is left with a series of seemingly disjointed and disconnected vignettes on the development of robotic cars, to a tangent on how mass transportation will never be effective in the United States. Although I have always enjoyed stories intertwined with real world examples of real people overcoming challenges -- even these sidebars in this book felt forced.

My final impression was these were a series of short articles written in the past and sandwiched into a book.

Here's to hoping the next effort is a little more flushed out, focused and relevant.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Raymond Kimball on December 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
For those of you who are fans of David Axe's war reporting (like me), get ready for something different. I came into this book expecting to read about military logistics, which is something I've lived and breathed for nigh on a decade now. And while this book has a fair amount of that, it's actually a much broader tour d'horizon of American logistics writ large, how the civilian and military logistics aspects of American society fuel one another, and how both shape and define modern America.

Using many of his past writings as a baseline, Axe takes us on a tour of the land, sea and air elements of what's happening now and what's coming next in American logistics. These are, at times, sobering (convoy operations in Iraq in 2004-2005 using makeshift armor and prayer), spellbinding (an at-sea refueling operation that , in and of itself, is worth the price of the book), and infuriating(the carefully canned narrow-view statements of various industry hacks). The glimpses of the future are equally stunning: autonomous cars, vast sea bases, airships, and space marines (I dare you to say that last one aloud without giggling).

Flaws? Axe makes clear up front that this is not meant to be an in-depth treatment of the subject, and he's right. Because this is pieced together from lots of his previous work, the transitions between some subjects are pretty tenuous. But I should also make clear that although there are clear outlines of his previous postings from War is Boring and Danger Room, there is a wealth of new material here worth your time.

If nothing else, I guarantee that you will never use the term "hybrid car" the same way again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Josh Davis on December 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I came into this book expecting a look at the nuts and bolts of how the US military gets their ammo and fuel from the homefront to battlefront. To be sure, there is some of that, but I kind of felt like I wanted more. There is an interesting glimpse of technologies on the horizon such as robot trucks and space delivery systems, but what I found fascinating was Axe's descriptions of how the United States is using this massive logistical machine for things other than waging war. His chapter on the US Navy and Air Force response to the Haiti earthquake helps illustrate how a strong logistical backbone can be easily adapted from a hostile mission to a humanitarian one very quickly. Along with it, he talked about US Navy "soft power" cruises through Latin America and their effect on those countries. This was a pleasant surprise. If you'd have asked me to read a book about humanitarian efforts, I would give you a quick "Hell no" but I actually enjoyed that part of the book the most. It's a not an exhaustive, detailed look into military logistics, but it does offer some interesting insight what keeps the US military on the go.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Finney on December 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
After following reporter David Axe's prolific reports on war and technology for years, I had no doubt "From A to B" would accurately depict military logistics from the "on the ground" perspective and incorporate the latest in technological advances. He does not disappoint.

"From A to B" is a great survey course in the importance of logistics to our military, and to our globalized economy as a whole. He deftly moves between all the possible modes to transport men and materiel around the globe - from cars and trucks to ships and airplanes to zeppelins and space planes. His use of tangible examples from his years of reporting on these issues makes the book engaging and easily digested.

Axe begins the book by establishing the importance of logistics to our military operations, but also as "dirty, dangerous work" that is "probably the most complex aspect of military planning." He provides as an example the "logistical surge" of MRAPS into Iraq and Afghanistan to protect American troops. From there Axe discusses an alternate solution to the expensive MRAPs - robotically-controlled logistical transport - think the merging of today's commercial semi-trucks with the technological power of Unmanned Arial Vehicles. These vehicles could decrease the need for manned vehicles on dangerous roads and provide more time and attention to manned security vehicles.

As I am primarily focused on American land power, Axe's section on our "most capacious and underappreciated logistical system: her naval ships" was amazing. The depiction of how difficult, yet crucial, at-sea refueling is to power projection throughout the world provided me a much greater appreciation of how the US is unlike any other Navy in the history of the world.
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