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War Nerd Paperback – July 1, 2008
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Certainly, this is just a collection of essays already available on the internet but besides the benefit of being printed in book form, this also gives the author and editor the opportunity to concentrate on what they judge the most important and worthwhile of Brecher's writings.
I found this book valuable for the following reasons:
Brecher's several page summaries of the bigger and more interesting Third World wars of the past few decades which generally receive so little attention in the West, despite containing some surprising omissions (for example writing dozens of pages on ethnic conflict in South East Asia without mentioning the overwhelming Chinese economic dominance in many of these countries), provide a superficial sketch of these conflicts for minimal reader effort (but don't expect rigorous references or justification).
Brecher's analysis of the nature of warfare itself and how it's changed since the end of the Cold War is very interesting: how Western military doctrines have not always yet caught up, particularly in regard to Iraq, Afghanistan and how the USA is potentially wasting much of its vast defence budget.
Brecher's understanding of the nature of typical ethnic relations (conflict rather than harmony) is essentially common sense to anyone with the capability of independent thought who pays attention to current affairs but apparently not yet recognised by the political class who runs Western societies or the media class who back them.
If you're interested in the rest of the world outside of the West, if you're interested in military conflict, this book is a worthwhile read.
The first thing that struck me about Brecher's writing is that he doesn't sugarcoat it with nonsense. His brand of objective analysis is a breath of fresh air in a world of dogma and propaganda raining down on us from the airwaves 24/7. Any time I start getting suspicious when the official AP article seems incomplete or filled with logical gaps, I can rely on Brecher to eventually get around to explaining the story under the surface. And best of all, he does it in a way that's both understandable and entertaining - the most effective way to get your point across. In nice little article-sized cuts I've even gotten non-readers to get some information through their thick skulls with this book.
His level of cynicism is entirely appropriate for assessing our most crappy and stupid of human habits, war. Straight to the point and not prone to half-baked theories and wishful thinking, I consistently walk away having learned something new from an angle I hadn't considered before. His articles inform and make you think, and I wager some gung-ho types could really stand to read his descriptions of what war is mostly really about.
I will be vastly saddened the day he finally keels over of a massive heart attack at the ripe age of 46.
His unapologetic cold bloodedness and complete lack of candy coating the harsh realities of warfare are incredibly refreshing.
In the current era of ceaseless war, this is a book every informed citizen should read.
And when the revolution comes, this is the man we'll need planning our battles.
It is entertaining, fairly well written and novel...But take it with more than an pinch of salt, and realize that the author has his own biases.
If you're not familiar with his schtick, you don't know what it is, and you should know. If you're already a war nerd fanatic, some of the essays are distinct enough to stand as alternate versions, but relatively similar. Essays also should have been dated, Brecher is one of the few literary geniuses unaware people are going to be reading his stuff in 100 years, and he tends to speak "in the moment," on in-the-news matters, making the arrangement of essays chronologically problematic. Still essential reading though, for debunking the Victorian nonsense of our times, liberal and conservative.
"The iconoclast proves enough when he proves by his blasphemy that this or that idol is defectively convincing - that at least one visitor to the shrine is left full of doubts. The liberation of the human mind has been best furthered by gay fellows who heaved dead cats into sanctuaries and then went roistering down the highways of the world, proving to all men that doubt, after all, was safe - that the god in the sanctuary was a fraud. One horse-laugh is worth ten thousand syllogisms."
-- H.L. Mencken
Most Recent Customer Reviews
See my review for The War Nerd Dispatches. Can't tell the difference in books on a quick glance, but they are still the best writings on the debacle known as the (most recent) Iraq... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Ella McCrystle
There is no more bombastic commentator than Brecher. If you are offended easily, I'd skip it. But if you want to hear a war nerd give very cogent and sarcastic takes on all of... Read morePublished 8 months ago by J. Ash
The war nerd does a great job of making war entertaining. The book made me laugh a lot but I also always felt like I was getting the inside scoop. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Kindle Customer
Superb. Well-written. Original thinking.
Did I agree with everything that John Dolan (Aka Gary Brecher) wrote? Absolutely not. Read more
You may not agree with his assessments, but Brecher has an entertaining style that is unequaled.
Much of his work is posted online. Check him out before you buy. Read more
Words you won't read. Words you won't read. Words you won't read. Why doesn't Amazon let me just rate things without providing reviews?Published on July 21, 2013 by Scott Piper
As other reviewers have already remarked, this is not a scholarly work. The language used is frequently, shall we say, "colourful". Nevertheless Mr. Read morePublished on June 4, 2012 by Argus
This is apparently written by an author who "called it" as regards the second gulf war. What it turns out to be is in fact a collection of columns that could be best described as... Read morePublished on April 6, 2012 by Amazon Customer