From Publishers Weekly
The Friedmans are geostrategic optimists. The next century, they argue, will be the American century?not from any economic, diplomatic or moral achievements, but because of a revolution in warmaking. According to the Friedmans, who operate a business intelligence firm, technology?specifically that of precise-guided munitions (PGMs)?is creating a revolution as fundamental as that inaugurated by gunpowder. The authors establish their case by concentrating on the "senility" of major "traditional" weapons systems (tanks, aircraft carriers, manned aircraft) when confronted with weapons "that can, in some sense, think." The U.S. possesses the knowledge and the resource base to take advantage of a form of warfare that will eventually, they say, reduce costs not only in money, but also in the lives Americans are increasingly reluctant to sacrifice. The Friedmans advocate in particular the extension of weapons and control systems into outer space. Their book is more convincing as history than as prognostication, however. The authors make strong complementary cases for the technical vulnerability of high-cost, high-profile weapons and for the tendency of those weapons to exceed the physical and psychological capacities of their human operators. Their emphasis on technology takes too little account of the complex spectrum of nonmaterial factors that are increasingly recognized as critical to shaping "revolutions in human affairs." The concept of a paradigm shift in conducting wars based on PGMs is a useful tool, but one requiring careful examination and critical review that seems beyond the scope of the advocacy to be found here. Author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
The Friedmans, noted for The Coming War with Japan (LJ 5/1/91), work at the GPA Strategic Forecasting Group, "a corporate intelligence service involved in military modeling." Although their book's title suggests futurology, the contents are more historic. In fact, the book is, as the Friedmans admit, "not really about war today" either. It offers some decent analysis of the evolution of battleships, carriers, tanks, and aircraft, but it comes nowhere near matching the astonishing vision of the late Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov, former Chief of the Soviet General Staff. In fact, their work doesn't even cite him or some other key foreign strategists who have written at length about this subject. Perhaps the Friedmans should rerun their model. An optional purchase.?John J. Yurechko, Georgetown Univ., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.