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Tactics Of Mistake Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 1985

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Mass Market Paperback, October 1, 1985
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Ace (October 1, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441799736
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441799732
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,751,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Highly recommended, especially for fans of "classic science fiction."
It is an essential part of Gordon R. Dickson's Dorsai series, and I recommend it to every science fiction fan that I meet.
Charlie Aukerman
I read this book the first time in High School, now 40 years later it is still a very good read.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "waymakerjim" on May 22, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first read this book years ago. Recently, I bought an used copy for a trip. It is still a classic!
THe plot is unusual-Grahme is a scholar/tactician assigned to a force fighting a guerilla war on one of the dozen colony worlds. Earth is divided into the Alliance/Coalition camps who fight their wars through these colonies. Grahme has some very unique ideas about fighting wars and, through deception and ruse, puts into into action and wins the war. Grahme's foil is Dow Castries, an Earth politician bent on world(s) domination. Grahme believes the new worlds should be free of Earth and chooses the Dorsai as his weapon. Grahme designs a novel training/strategy/tactics regime for the Dorsai to transform themselves into the best mercenaries in the universe. Using his Dorsai, Grahme wins several important successes that prompt Dow to unite the Earth into an all-out war. Grahme defeats Dow and paves the way for the new world's freedom.
The most interesting part of the story is not the military action-like most military amateurs Dickson is fighting the last war (Vietnam)- but Grahme's grasp and control of historical forces and his ability to manipulate people into his scheme, without their knowing it. It's a masterful attempt at persuasion and manipulation which sets in motion the novel's sequels.
Dickson, like his couterpart Grahme, has created an universe in which he controls everything according to a set scheme.
I'm just glad it's only fiction and that there's not really some super-powerful all-controlling force at work manipulating me and everyone else for its own designs. Now, where's the TV remote?
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Robert G. Britton on April 19, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first read this book back in the early '70's, and then enlisted in the US Army. Yes, the lessons learned were in in themselves useful, but that was only the beginning. The concepts presented in the book were so relevant to the military situation at hand that I was able to excel myself. Consider also the timeless nature of the concepts of the complete soldier that is presented such that by reading this book I was able to not only grasp what my limited role as an enlisted soldier was, but more importantly I was able to grasp the ever more important role that the competent officer's role was. It wasn't only enough for me to be competent, but even more for so for the officer in tactical control to be competent as well. Ah, but to really grasp it you have to read the book. As well as the rest of the Childe Cycle novels.

The poignant part of this is that one day, back in the mid '70's, I was in the battalion commander's office on routine duty and noticed that right there in his bookcase on the lower case, within easy easy reach of his desk, was a copy of -- you guessed it -- Gordon Dickson's "Tactics of Mistake". Oh, and at the time he already had a CMH (Congressional Medal of Honor) earned in Vietnam, and would eventually earn triple General's Stars. Yes, this was on the bookshelf of a Lieutenant Colonel who would eventually become a 3 Star General. This is serious material, even though it is only a novel.

IMHO, for anyone who is interested in military strategy, this is a "must book". This is a classic that simply MUST be read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Arthur W. Jordin on December 3, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Tactics of Mistake (1971) is the second SF novel in the Childe Cycle, following Necromancer. In the previous volume, Walter Blunt started a revolution by his Chantry Guild to destroy the cultural basis of his society. Yet Paul Formain stopped him and sent his chief followers out to find their own destinies. When Kantele offered to stay, Paul sent her after Blunt.

In this novel, Alliance Lieutenant Colonel Cletus Grahame introduces himself to Dow DeCastries, Secretary of Outworlds Affairs for the Coalition. He also meets Colonel Eachan Khan of the Dorsai Mercenaries and his daughter Melissa, the Exotic Outbond Mondar, and Pater Ten of DeCastries's staff. Then Cletus leads Dow into a conversation and demonstration that causes the Coalition official to lose face to Grahame.

When the ship reaches Kultis, Pater Ten uses the ship-to-planet lines heavily, so much so that none are available to Cletus. When they debark the shuttle, Mondar offers Cletus a ride to the town of Bakhalla in the command car with Colonel Khan and Melissa. On the way, guerrillas ambush the command car and ignore the following bus. Grahame uses a gambit to counter-ambush the guerrillas.

Reporting to the commanding general, Bat Traynor, Cletus offers his services as tactical advisor. When Traynor disparages his usefulness, Cletus mentions the upcoming infiltration of a guerrilla attack group through Etter Pass. While Bat is still doubtful of Grahame's contributions to the Alliance effort, he does send a company of troops under a marginally competent commander to intercept the infiltrators. Captain Athyer is ordered to listen to Grahame's tactical advice.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on May 27, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The apparent second book in the Childe Cycle (I've never seen a really definitive version of the order) is a notable improvement over Necromancer, which while interesting overall wasn't exactly engaging at times. We shift ahead some years here and encounter humanity that has begun to splinter into several groups, most notably the Exotics, the Friendlys, and the warrior Dorsai. Into this walks Cletus a slightly crippled military scholar who is writing a series of books on tactics and strategy and decides to prove just how right he can be. What follows a series of battles where Cletus wins easily due to his better powers of manipulation and strategy, although in every instance nobody seems ready to believe things are the way he says they are. Eventually he takes on the task of remolding the Dorsai into a more efficient fighting force, setting the stage for more fun stuff to come. Like Paul Formain from the last book Cletus can be a bit insufferably in that he's always right which kind of sucks any dramatic tension from the novel since basically Cletus explains what is going to happen and then you get to watch as it turns out just as he said (though there's a nifty sequence that shows this from the other guy's perspective) but thanks to Dickson's talent he manages to make every sequence memorable and entertaining. Also, it helps that unlike Formain, Cletus has a sense of humor and you find yourself rooting for him even as there's really no doubt. What makes this book so exciting are the constant manipulations and manuverings, which can be hard to follow at times. The charactization still suffers somewhat, Cletus is a little more developed than most but the only other major female character is a total cipher, existing only in the beginning to say "You're wrong!Read more ›
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