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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Primer, August 30, 2000
By 
Richard A. Aubrey (Flushing, MI United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: War: Ends and Means (Hardcover)
The authors refer to their book as a primer on war. It is the clearest, most useful book for those who nothing of war (or who only know things which are wrong)I have ever read. I recommended it, to no avail, to a committee of faith-based Social Justice and Peacemaking types. They, no doubt clinging to their useful errors, avoided the subject. The authors specifically refer to those who know little or nothing of war (most students these days)and they say the book is written for these folks.
One myth or old chestnut after another is analyzed and demolished. Their use of simple (and I emphasize "simple"--nothing complex) logic and historical examples known to almost all of us--nothing abstruse here--are brutal in the rapid and total destruction of some of the most commonly-accepted misunderstandings of war. For example, they discuss the Phoenix program of Viet Nam days. While acknowledging that it turned sour, they make plain what those involved knew. The Phoenix program worked, killing the cadres, the troublemakers, without killing scores or hundreds of unwilling conscripts and unlucky civilians. While being successful, it deprived the anti-war side of their masses of civilian casualties they needed to make their case. It was a two-fer. Thus, it had to be, as it was, demonized. They make frequent use of Aquinas and Augustine and the Just War Doctrine. It is not that we like war, Augustine said, but that our enemy's peace may be deadly to us. People may be murdered en masse, as we see in this century, without being in war, and fighting to avoid that is certainly moral. This book suffers from one disadvantage: Those who need it most may feel themselves superior to its message.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Title says it all, December 26, 2003
By A Customer
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This review is from: War: Ends and Means (Hardcover)
Read this book and the thought may occur to you: "This is so bloody obvious, who needs to read it in a book?" But then put the book down, read the newspapers, listen to the talking heads on TV, or attend a university lecture on the same subjects, and you quickly realize: none of it is obvious to anyone that matters. On second or third reading, you realize that what it's saying is not "obvious" at all; the book's genius consists in making a radical and controversial thesis sound self-evident.
I have one quibble, but the quibble doesn't detract sufficiently from the book to subtract a star: because the authors discuss warfare out of relation to morality, an incautious reader could easily get the impression that they are "Machiavellian" amoralists whose advice can be dismissed as "amoral realism." It isn't true, but they might have been more explicit about why not.
It really is a sad commentary on our culture that this book is as obscure as it is.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uniquely insightful analysis of human and political aspects, May 3, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: War: Ends and Means (Hardcover)
I suspect that this book may suffered from the fact that it was published in '89, as so many things changed quickly after publication. The author's do a good job of discussing technical aspects of weapons and military operations, but this book's real strength is its discussion of reasons states go to war, how and why populations fight, political aspects of war, etc. I have read dozens of books on war, each good in its own way, but this book fills a badly needed niche in understanding the overall human and political dimesion to war. Having worked as a defense analyst for many years, I know that Americans suffer badly from the notion that war is a simple contest between competing technologies, and that too little thought has been given to the simple question, "why people fight?" This book is the best I have seen in addressing this question. The author's approach is not overly psychological or philosophical, much of it is "uncommon" common sense richly supported by a wealth of obscure but important historical information. This book must be read by people who want to understand what war is about. Period.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best war primer known to modern man, October 26, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: War: Ends and Means (Paperback)
Angelo Codevilla introduced me to the worlds of war in the late 1980's and later to intelligence in the ealry 1990's, leading partly to my career.
This book is what a modern Clauswhitz would write. Speaking in plain english on diverse subjects, he collects the type of thinking necessary to war in one book. I give this book (which is hard to find, but I managed) to every student of modern affairs.
It is hard to find the correct praise to lavish on this book without gushing. It is simply the best book of a primer on war that exists anywhere. More than introducing the student to war, it introduces him to thinking in war's pragmatic thought patterns- to the necessity that war demands.
Better, Codevilla uses his talent in context of historical necessity, drawing carefully from a bevy of beautifully chosen historical people and sitations.
You can do no better on the subject. Start thinking about war with War.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To Understand Our Current Situation...And What Needs To Be Done, October 1, 2006
By 
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This review is from: War: Ends and Means, Second Edition (Paperback)
A great far ranging analysis of military and political strategy; his serious analysis of terrorism and what needs to be done is worth the price of this book. After reading this book, one will know why our efforts are at least partially not working, what needs to be done, and when we know things are going the right way. It also indirectly tells us what we should do about Iran. Another great effort, similar to his columns in the Claremont Review and his previous book, "No Victory, No Peace."
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book on the Subject in a Very Long Time, December 13, 2006
This review is from: War: Ends and Means, Second Edition (Paperback)
One of the abosolutely best books I've read on the subject of war in years. There are so many good points that I can't possibly mention them here, but two really stand out.

Civilians have become the target. Perhaps 70% of the people killed in World War II were civilians. This includes jews, homosexuals, slavs, gypsys, et al in the death camps, and the people under the bombs in London or Berlin. Since then, perhaps 100,000,000 have been killed in ethnic clensing, deliberate starvation, revolutions and so on.

If you really want to take out the terrorists, go after their directors, not the terrorists themselves.

If a cleric is preaching 'Death to America' in his mosque, when the service ends and the people walk outside they find an orbiting Preadator has dropped leaflets saying that it isn't wise to go to places to hear such talking. The second time they get a stronger message by leaflet. The third time a Hellfire missile ends the sermon.

Oh but can you imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth among our own liberals, to say nothing of al-Jazeera and the United Nations.

Instead we look for terrorists like we look for other criminals, one at a time, and restricted to the actual perp, not the ones who sent them out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very insightful. A MUST READ!, February 3, 2007
By 
Eric (Located directly above the center of the earth) - See all my reviews
This review is from: War: Ends and Means, Second Edition (Paperback)
It is extremely rare that I would consider a book a "must read", however, this book is simply outstanding. Anyone with an interest in conflict or international relations will find the authors incredibly insightful. This should be required reading for anyone in the military or anywhere else in the government who is involved in our relations with other peoples and nations.

This book gets six stars out of a possible five. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

An additional plug for Codevilla: having read some of his articles as well, I will say that any of his work is worth searching out and reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the Best, November 6, 2006
This review is from: War: Ends and Means, Second Edition (Paperback)
An instant classic when it was first published, this new edition is even better. A must read for anyone who wishes to understand the causes of war and how to deal with them.

JDW
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War: Ends and Means, Second Edition
War: Ends and Means, Second Edition by Angelo Codevilla (Paperback - July 1, 2006)
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