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Victory in War: Foundations of Modern Military Policy [Hardcover]

William C. Martel
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 25, 2006 0521859565 978-0521859561
For millennia, policymakers, statesmen, and scholars have grappled with questions about the concept of victory in war. How long does it take to achieve victory and how do we know when victory is achieved? And, as highlighted by the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, is it possible to win a war and yet lose the peace? The premise of this book is that we do not have a modern theory about victory and that, in order to answer these questions, we need one. This book explores historical definitions of victory, how victory has evolved, and how it has been implemented in war. It also subsequently develops the intellectual foundations of a modern pre-theory of victory, and discusses the military instruments necessary for victory in the twenty-first century using case studies that include U.S. military intervention in Panama, Libya, Persian Gulf War, Bosnia/Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"The single most important nonfiction book of this season."
-Carlin Romano, The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Bill Martel's expert analysis of recent American military interventions dares to ask and works to answer a question that's dogged historians, generals, politicians and citizen soldiers for generations: what defines a victory? Martel's case studies engage an important discussion with real-world implications for our times that can't possibly be overstated."
-Senator John Kerry

"William Martel's Victory in War is a scholarly and well researched exploration of a subject that is increasingly drawing our attention; what is the meaning of victory in today's context. Drawing on history, Martel explores thoroughly different victories and defeats and what led to them. His study will be a major contribution to the evolution of military strategy. I commend it to all who are serious students of international affairs."
-Frank C. Carlucci, Former Secretary of Defense and National Security Adviser

"This book addresses an important and pertinent topic. It contributes substantially to the ongoing debate in the United States and, indeed, in most countries, about the meaning of victory in war."
-James F. Miskel, Professor, National Security Affairs, Naval War College

"We are living today in a New Era in which the instruments of war, the restraints on their use and the nature of both warfare and its combatants have all evolved. These changes make it increasingly important to develop a relevant concept of victory as a guide to those who make the decisions regarding committing the nation to any type of modern warfare. Victory in War is a positive contribution to that essential development."
-Admiral William T Pendley (USN ret.)

"Martel gives us an important book on a pressing subject of overriding importance to policy makers and military planners. Namely, how do we define victory in the post-modern, post-heroic age of gritty little wars waged to stop regional bullies, terrorists and other desperadoes?"
-Geoff Wawro, Professor of Military History, University of North Texas

"What does it mean to win a war? This question has never been more important than it is today, as ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan raise existential questions about the meaning of victory. Yet among the hundreds of works of serious military theory from ancient times to the present, few writers have addressed this question directly, and none has done so systematically. In Victory in War, William Martel takes on the complicated question of what victory in war really means. He has produced an important work on a vitally important subject that should serve as the starting point for productive research for decades to come."
-Fred Kagan, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

"Because of the lessons, historical perspective, and inherent knowledge to be gained from Victory in War, I highly recommend that every military officer in the Department of Defense read it. Martel's study is the timeliest and one of the most important books written on strategy for the profession of arms in the recent past."
-Lt Col Chris Wrenn, USAF, Air Force, Air & Space Power Journal

"[...]An important and ambitious book. It should be read by students in all of the U.S. senior-level war colleges and advanced operational planning programs. It is also recommended to the audience of political scientists and military historians who are interested in developing the theory of victory broached in this study. Finally it is a must read for any politician who has aspirations to national leadership."
-Proceedings

"The principal value of this book is in the very coherent discussion of the theories and concepts of victory. Students of political science and military professionals at war colleges will benefit greatly from these well-documented sections. Nearly one hundred pages of notes and an index of over fifteen pages make this an excellent gateway resource to further study."
-Kenneth P. Hansen, Centre for Foreign Policy Studies

"Martell's thesis is clear and virtually uncontestable"
-Michael Pearlman, Ph.D., Military Review

"His research is impressive, and the definitions he created will, it is so to be hoped, help policy makers of the future in their planning for the use of military force."
-Edward M. Coffman, MHQ

"William C. Martel is to be congratulated for taking on such a controversial yet vital topic, and admired for the sheer ambition of his endeavour[...]this book is to be recommended for provoking thought on this matter."
-Theo Farrell, King's College London, The International History Review

Book Description

This book explores the historical origins of victory, discusses why a clear theory of victory is important, and develops the intellectual foundations of a modern pre-theory of victory. The military instruments necessary for victory are discussed using military interventions in Panama, Libya, Persian Gulf War, Bosnia/Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (December 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521859565
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521859561
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,049,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A REMARKABLE ACHIEVEMENT April 3, 2007
Format:Hardcover
A fresh, original, pioneering book that adds a new roadmap to thinking about military endeavers. Like any good philosophical work, there is an emphasis on precision in language. The Book begins with 9/11. President Bush declared victory in Iraq after several weeks of combat operations. Since we're still stuck there, what did he mean? In the introduction, the author addresses two major questions. "...there is no theory or precise language that permits policymakers, military officials and the public to agree on what 'victory' means or when 'victory' has been attained." Second: "...humans have been waging war for the past six thousand years without a framework for victory, and yet have successively waged wars. How can this be so? Is a theory of victory something distinct from a military strategy in war or a theory of war. What do we gain by developing one? How would such a theory fit into modern defense planning?" The author modestly describes this book as only the first step.

The next two chapters, beginning with Sun Tzu, provide a useful summary of the major military thinkers. They conclude with the problems arising from nuclear warfare. Remember the "nuclear winter" discussions of the late eighties. Victory would be meaningless. However, the War on Terror has restored the concept of victory to the language.

He spends the next two chapters exploring what could be meant by "victory" and the definition problems. They cover in detail the American concept of "victory" arising from our history. The next six chapters provide thoughts on selected American military actions post vietnam, beginning with the raid on Lobya. The next chapter discusses military power and the concept of victory. In the final analysis, successful occupation by ground forces is the ultimate seal.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Couple Ideas Puffed-Up into a Book October 27, 2012
By Bobkat
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is actually about three stars, but I had to give it just one to offset the 5 star review apparently written by the author's dad. This book makes a couple good points that could have been covered in a short article, without the need for the extensive droning. If I had purchased a new copy (and not a used one for $3) I'd probably be less generous in assessing the merit of his ideas: That policy makers should figure out exactly what they are trying to accomplish, then set actual metric to see if they're achieving their goals. And, having read this, you can save your $3.
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