- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st Edition edition (February 15, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312181000
- ISBN-13: 978-0312181000
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 22 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #732,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Future of War: Power, Technology and American World Dominance in the Twenty-first Century 1st Edition Edition
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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.
“Revolution in modern warfare is upon us. George and Meredith Friedman have provided us an important insight into many of the critical elements of that revolution and their possible implications. There are no answers, but there is one certainty: It is in America's national interest to have the debate about where technology is taking us and to then resolutely put policies, doctrines, and budgets in place to protect our country. This book is an important element in that debate. I strongly recommend it.” ―Adm. Bill Owens, Ret. Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
“We will be hearing a great deal more about this book as time goes on. It is one of those rare watershed documents in a class with the works of Giulio Douhet, B.H. Liddell Hart, and Herman Kahn. It is a benchmark . . . Competitors and critics alike will find themselves obliged to deal with it, one way or another.” ―Maj. Gen. Edward B. Atkenson, Army magazine
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There are details that may be not exactly correct, but overall the strategy, tactics and weapons over the course of history are brilliantly presented to the informed general reader.
This book had the same impact that Alfred Thayer Mahan's book "The Influence of Sea Power upon History 1660-085" had on me in 1963 when I was taking a Naval Science course in Naval History. It was a mind shattering exposition, a door upon a world I never dreamed existed!
Even though the book is dated it is worth reading today. It is very good. The Friedman's are not prophets of old. They did not accurately foresee what is happening today, 10 years after writing the book. This is to be expected.
The model of analysis used by the Friedman's can profitably be applied to analyse and make prognostications about the new Russian Hybrid War, Drone Warfare and Cyber War.
I do have a complaint for Amazon though as I only had the book for a day or two and some of the pages have detached from the binding. While overall the book looked in good shape and almost new the binding is not as strong as it should be. I expect this to an extent with paperbacks that are many years old but I did not expect this to occur so quickly.
The book begins with the long history of war, providing insight into things I never considered. For example, the author explains how David was able to kill Goliath, who was burdened with very heavy defensive armor at the expense of mobility.
The book draws a comparison to present day Goliaths - the huge armored tanks and the aircraft carrier battle groups - and how both strategy and technology is changing the usefulness of those weapons systems. I was surprised when I realized that the immense power of a carrier battle group is primarily focused on protecting the carrier, which in turn only has a few dozen attack aircraft from which it launches offensive weapons. I knew some of the data previously, but the book assembled that data in a way I hadn't considered.
The importance of sea lane control, and the analogy to control of certain orbits in space, was fascinating. There's so much more, but you'll have to read the book. It's a keeper, even though it was written several years ago.