17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Good Darwinian Perspective on War,
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This review is from: The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century (Zenith Military Classics) (Hardcover)
War evolves, rather than transforms, is the central thesis of this book. The author should not be taken to task for over-emphasizing Fourth Generation warfare so much. The way I took it is that the author was rightly proud of his championing certain concepts, so the overemphasis was not excessive. It's a good primer on insurgency and counterinsurgency as well, and even starts to get into the neofunctionalist approach to nation building. Better works can indeed be found, such as Chaplin's in-depth Mao's Legacy and surely on Vietnam, but the book really starts picking up with the chapters on al-Qaeda, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Overall, all the case studies in the middle chapters are enlightening. The last five chapters also contain some relatively good ideas for military reform, but the focus is too much on personnel issues, such as 360-degree job evaluations and the ideas in Vandergriff's Revolution in Human Affairs. Although the personnel focus is understandable given the author's brief coverage of CONUS and Homeland Security issues, the strength of this book lies not in the critique of bureaucracy it tries to provide, but in the way the author uses history and a consistent perspective to generate social scientific insights, and in that sense, it is traditional, but also innovative and suggestive in some places.